13 Films to See This Week: Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard + More

***MONDAY, JANUARY 19***

LES CARABINIERS, Jean-Luc Godard
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Directed by cinematic pioneer Jean-Luc Godard, this is perhaps one of the most surreal, grotesque, and disturbing antiwar movies ever made. Set in a fictional country during an unspecified historical period, two simpleminded peasants, Ulysses and Michelangelo, receive a letter from their king promising them riches and granting them complete freedom to commit any crime if they join the army and fight in an anonymous war. The two leave for the front lines and write postcards to their wives in which they report their murdering civilians, raping the enemies’ women, stealing cars, and burning down schools. As the war progresses their actions become less and less human, yet they wind up, to their surprise, being executed for their crimes. Special thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.

READ MORE

JANE EYRE, Robert Stevenson
Film Forum

Joan Fontaine’s Jane graduates from the Orphanage from Hell to be governess to the ward of Welles’ brooding Rochester. “He strode on the set and proclaimed, ‘All right, everyone turn to page eight’ and we did it, though he wasn’t the director.” – Joan Fontaine.

READ MORE

TOMORROW IS FOREVER, Irving Pichel
Film Forum

Listed among the dead of WWII, Welles, sporting a new face, returns anyway, only to find wife Claudette Colbert now remarried to George Brent. Easy choice? With 7-year-old Natalie Wood as Welles’ adopted daughter. 

READ MORE

FIRES ON THE PLAIN, Kon Ichikawa
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

The script of this compelling antiwar film is based on Shohei Ooka’s 1951 novel Nobi, and was adapted for the screen by director Kon Ichikawa. It tells the story of Tamura, a Japanese soldier suffering from tuberculosis at the end of World War II who deserts his unit and wanders around a Philippine island as the American troops arrive to liberate the Philippines. On his journey, Tamura encounters a couple, an American platoon, and other lost Japanese soldiers who reflect his own inner turmoil. The film depicts war’s life or death struggles as a highly irrational and dehumanizing experience.

READ MORE

I WAS NINETEEN, Konrad Wolf
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

One of the best-known DEFA (East Germany’s state-owned film studio) productions in history, Konrad Wolf’s film is based on his own experiences during World War II, arriving with Soviet troops to fight in the Battle of Berlin at age 19. As the Red Army moves closer and closer to Berlin we see young Gregor Hecker (standing in for Wolf, the son of a Communist leader during the Weimar Republic) becoming commander of a small town and later playing a key part in the final run on Berlin. The film’s narrative structure, editing style, camera movement, and dialogue are highly progressive for the time and seem closely related to techniques later employed by the directors of the French New Wave.

READ MORE

***TUESDAY, JAUARY 20***

FEAR AND DESIRE, Stanley Kubrick
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Stanley Kubrick’s feature debut and his least-seen work marks the beginning of his interest in manifesting antiwar politics in films (anticipating the later Paths of Glory andFull Metal Jacket). Fear and Desire follows a group of soldiers who have survived a plane crash behind enemy lines, lost in a forest while fighting in an unidentified war—a journey that grows increasingly surreal as they try to rejoin their own troops. Preserved by the Library of Congress.

READ MORE

COMPULSION, Richard Fleischer
Film Forum

Fictionalized version of the Leopold-Loeb case, with Welles arriving late as the Clarence Darrow figure, his summing up for the defense of thrill-killers Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman an electrifying tour-de-force. Collective Cannes Best Actor Award to Stockwell, Dillman, and Welles.

READ MORE

THE LONG, HOT SUMMER, Martin Ritt
Film Forum

“You’re gonna like me,” smirks itinerant handyman and alleged barn-burner Paul Newman to Mississippi baron Welles, in this adaptation of Faulkner stories, with Angela Lansbury as Welles’ mistress and Joanne Woodward as his daughter. 

READ MORE

***WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21***

THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, Gillo Pontecorvo
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

The Battle of Algiers is unquestionably one of the most disturbing and impactful antiwar films of the 1960s. Based on events during the Algerian War (1954-62), the film focuses on the brutal titular battle, a long urban fight between French occupiers and Algerian guerrillas. Shot on location and bearing the influences of Italian neorealism (Roberto Rossellini in particular), Gillo Pontecorvo’s film was seen as an example of how to organize a guerrilla movement and of the methods used by the colonial powers to contain it during the years of anti-colonial struggles and national liberation movements. Once banned in France, it is today considered one of the great political films.

READ MORE

THE IMMORTAL STORY, Orson Welles
Film Forum

To make the perennial tall tale of the title come true, aging Macao merchant Welles hires a too-pretty sailor to sleep with his (also hired) wife Jeanne Moreau; but then the elaborate set-up starts to take on a life of its own. Welles’ first color film, adapted from an Isak Dinesen story, with music by Erik Satie.

READ MORE

F FOR FAKE, Orson Welles
Film Forum

Welles the filmmaker/magician keeps the rabbits coming, starting with already-shot footage (by François Reichenbach) on art forger Elmyr de Hory and Howard Hughes “memoirs” hoaxer Clifford Irving, then adding his own visual and verbal sleight-of-hand. 

READ MORE

***THURSDAY, JANUARY 22***

INVOLUNTARY, Ruben Östlund
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Described by Östlund as “a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy,” the director’s second feature examines group dynamics and the dark side of human nature in five tales of social discord. In one, a teacher sees a colleague carry discipline too far and mentions the act in the staff room, with startling consequences. In another, a party host, afraid of losing face, unwisely neglects an injury. Two parallel stories detail groupthink among young men and women respectively. Co-written with Östlund’s long-time producer Erik Hemmendorff, and inspired by personal experiences, Involuntary situates the viewer inside each social powder keg, where recognition and uneasy laughter coalesce.

READ MORE

GARBANZO GAS, Giuseppe Andrews
Anthology Film Archives

“When a lucky cow wins an all-expense-paid weekend at a local hotel, it can’t believe its good fortune. It gets to relax, unwind, and avoid a trip to the slaughterhouse – at least for a few days. Of course, it couldn’t imagine the menagerie of madmen it would run into. Down the hall is a pair of drug-addled dimwits who are desperate for something to eat. The cow becomes their main focus. Meanwhile, two different spree killers are wreaking havoc. One murders at the command of some erroneous bath linen. The other listens to a voice inside his shoe, the instructions resulting in even more dead bodies. All the while, our contented animal tries to accommodate everyone’s needs, which typically revolve around a room service meal of meat and potatoes.” –Bill Gibron

READ MORE

Share Button

Facebook Comments