Blog . 10/8-11: Agnes Varda, Woody Allen & More!
Agnes Varda traces her brilliant career in delightful THE BEACHES OF AGNES Octogenarian Agnes Varda is the only female filmmaker associated with the male-dominated French New Wave of the 1950s and 1960s. But did you know that she also knew Harrison Ford in his pre-"Star Wars" days, and Jim Morrison of The Doors? That's because Varda and her director husband Jacques Demy ("The Umbrellas of Cherbourg") spent some time living and working in L.A. You can get the whole story of her brilliant career on both sides of the Atlantic -- from the groundbreaking "Cleo from 5 to 7" to the inspiring "The Gleaners and I" -- in Varda's most recent film, a cinema scrapbook entitled THE BEACHES OF AGNES. This wry, poetic, and affectionate movie is flat-out one of the best-reviewed films of 2009, with an overall metacritic.com rating of 86 out of 100 and an astounding 96% "fresh" rating on RottenTomatoes.com. Needless to say, it should not be missed. Watch the trailer here and catch it Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. HANNAH AND HER SISTERS opens four-film series of Woody Allen's great 1980s movies Mia Farrow, Barabara Hershey, and Oscar winner Dianne Wiest play siblings with personal, family, and marital troubles in Woody Allen's HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, showing Friday and Saturday in a new 35mm color print. Woody Allen's most acclaimed and honored movie of the 1980s (it was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and won three) co-stars Oscar-winner Michael Caine, Max von Sydow, Carrie Fisher, John Turturro, J.T. Walsh, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor"), and Allen himself. When first released, Roger Ebert called this comedy-drama "the best movie (Woody Allen) has ever made." HELL DRIVERS wreak highway havoc -- even in the days before texting! Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins ("Gun Crazy"), Patrick McGoohan ("The Prisoner"), William Hartnell ("Doctor Who"), Jill Ireland, Gordon Jackson ("Upstairs, Downstairs"), David McCallum ("The Man from U.N.C.L.E."), Sean Connery. What do all these movie and TV stars have in common? They all star in HELL DRIVERS, a little-known-in-America, unavailable-on-DVD 1957 British thriller that we show on Saturday and Sunday. This drama about corrupt and murderous truck drivers -- directed by blacklisted U.S. filmmaker Cy Endfield, who also made "Mysterious Island" and "Zulu" after he moved to England -- was one of the highlights of the recent "Brit Noir" series at New York's Film Forum. Watch the trailer and then come see the film in its original, uncut version (108 minutes, as opposed to the U.S. cut's 91) in a 35mm print imported from England. It's a Cinematheque Elite presentation so special admission prices apply: $10, Cinematheque members and CIA students & staff $7. Hou's taboo-breaking CITY OF SADNESS returns in new 35mm color print Winner of the top prize at the 1989 Venice Film Festival, CITY OF SADNESSis one of the early masterpieces by the great Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien ("The Flight of the Red Balloon," "Flowers of Shanghai"), whom J. Hoberman in The Village Voice once called the world's greatest living filmmaker. This historical family saga was the first movie to address the long-suppressed 228 Incident of 1947, when Chiang Kai-shek's government troops massacred thousands of Taiwanese people. Watch an unsubtitled trailer here and then catch the whole film (with English subtitles) in a new 35mm color print on Thursday or Sunday. It's a Cinematheque Elite presentation so admission to this two-hour-and-37-minute movie is higher than normal: $12, Cinematheque members and CIA students & staff $8. But print this post and present it at the box office and pay only $7 (if you're a member or have a CIA I.D.) or $10 (if you're not)! It's our Deal of the Week. (Limit of two discount admissions per print out; not valid with any other discount offer.) Dobama comedy has Cinematheque gag Eric Coble's new play, "Ten More Minutes from Cleveland," on stage through October 18 at the Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights, features a gag about the Cinematheque. It's a dig at the kind of long, esoteric movies we sometimes show, and perhaps we should be upset about being stereotyped. But we're not. On the contrary, we're flattered to be mentioned in such a funny, clever show, and proud to be included among noteworthy Cleveland institutions. (At least the actor pronounced our name right!) "Ten More Minutes from Cleveland," a world premiere, is the opener for Dobama's 50th anniversary season -- and its first in its new home at 2340 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. For more info, go to the Dobama website.