(John Landis, 1988) · On the morning of his 21st birthday, Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), crown prince of the wealthy nation of Zamunda, is expected to select his bride-to-be. However, he finds himself overwhelmingly unsatisfied with his pampered life and lack of independence. With his best friend and personal aide, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), he arranges a plan to travel to Queens, New York to find an intelligent bride who will love him for who he is rather than his wealth.
runtime: 116 min format: 35mm
(Federico Fellini, 1955) · This series eschews La Strada and Nights of Cabiria in favor of the middle entry of Fellini's loneliness trilogy: Il Bidone. Often neglected amongst those three films, this is a throwback to Fellini's Neorealist tendencies and his typical themes. A heartbreaking portrait of redemption and deception, Il Bidone follows a trio of swindlers: the aging leader Augusto and his two accomplices who wish they were artists instead: Picasso and Roberto.
runtime: 109 min format: 35mm
(Jacques Becker, 1960) · Stuck in prison for the forseeable future, four inmates are prepared to enact their escape when a fifth prisoner is added to their cell. Can they trust him with their plan, or will he betray them? Becker, who died just two weeks after the film's completion, was so faithful to authenticity that he cast all non-actors, meticulously reproduced the actual prison for the set, and limited the soundtrack to contain only sounds that occurred on screen.
runtime: 132 min
Print courtesy of the Institut Français.
(Robert Bresson, 1956) · André Devigny, a member of the French Resistance, is imprisoned by the Nazis and must escape before they execute him. With that simple premise, Bresson creates an unbelievably tense and suspenseful film. Bresson's masterpiece is a perfect example of minimalism, featuring spare imagery and technique, and of realism: the film is based on a true story and borrows from Bresson's own experiences as a member of the French Resistance captured by the Nazis.
runtime: 99 min format: 35mm
(Jesús Franco, 1973) · A rip-off of Russell's masterpiece The Devils, this nunsploitative take on the Inquisition is deliciously bad. An accused witch burns at the stake, but before she is engulfed in flames, she places a hex on her accusers. Two nuns are charged with being witches as a result of the curse, but they must first exact revenge and exploit in sins of their own. Franco's delicate approach to the sex and torture scenes is simultaenously unsettling and appealing.
runtime: 110 min format: 35mm
(Alfred Hitchcock, 1951) · The strangers are Guy, a tennis star who wants to divorce his wife, and Bruno, an unbalanced playboy with a scheme for the perfect murder: he'll eliminate the recalcitrant spouse if Guy will kill his hated father. Guy laughs him off, but finds himself under pressure from the police when Bruno goes through with his side of the plan. Featuring a brilliant villainous performance from the doomed Robert Walker, who would die before completing another film.
runtime: 101 min format: 35mm
(Isao Takahata, 2013) · Working with lush watercolors and sketchy charcoal, Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday) brings to life a 10th-century Japanese folktale in this film from anime powerhouse Studio Ghibli. Born from a bamboo stalk, Kaguya's peasant father believes she's destined to be a princess, but Kaguya would rather play in the forest than greet suitors. Visually stunning and as intimate as it is fantastical, Kaguya sits among the studio's best.
runtime: 137 min format: DCP
(Jean Vigo, 1933 / Luis Buñuel, 1929 / Nobuhiko Ôbayashi and Kazutomo Fujino, 1963) · For Amos Vogel, aesthetics could be just as powerfully subversive as politics. Perhaps the two were in fact one and the same? In any case, for Vogel, "The three most subversive aesthetic tendencies of our century—surrealism, expressionism, and dada—are anchored in the reality of a civilization in decline... [Surrealism's aim was] to destroy all censors and to liberate man's libidinal, anarchist, and 'marvelous' impulses from all restraint."
runtime: 88 min format: 35mm / 16mm / 16mm