SUMMER AT THE CINEMATHEQUE
- Wed., Jun. 29 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Bogdanovich’s last narrative feature is an ensemble romantic farce that centers around a Brooklyn sex worker and aspiring actress, Isabella (Poots), and how she unwittingly affects the interconnected relationships between a Broadway Director (Wilson), his leading lady wife (Kathryn Hahn), her suave co-star (Rhys Ifans), an obsessive judge (Austin Pendleton), and a thoroughly unprofessional therapist (Aniston), among many others. Heavily recut and reshot, then finally released in 2015 as the disemboweled She’s Funny That Way, Bogdanovich’s elegant, Lubitschean, and vastly different personal cut was discovered in 2020 by James Kenney, a City University of New York English Instructor and Bogdanovich superfan. Kenney, who has described Squirrels as “an autumnal work of art, a rich and delightful summation of Bogdanovich’s style and obsessions, featuring surprising depth of characterization and expertly executed comic set pieces,” will appear in person to discuss his journey in bringing the original version back to life.
- Thu., Jun. 30 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Jean-Paul (Delon) and Marianne (Schneider) indulge in their passion for each other while borrowing a friend's luxurious villa in the south of France. When the friend (Maurice Ronet) and his daughter (Birkin) arrive unexpectedly, rivalries and insecurities surface and events take a sinister turn. In this tightly constructed and gripping thriller from the director of Symphony for a Massacre, “Seething passion and emotional chaos lie beneath the symbolically placid surface of the villa’s swimming pool, which becomes the site for both seduction and violent revenge” (Dave Kehr, The New York Times).
- Fri., Jul. 1 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Firmly ensconced in the American psyche 80 years after its first release, Casablanca is the type of film that only comes around once in a lifetime - but once it’s here: it stays. The inimitable Bogart plays Rick, the sharp and cynical owner of a nightclub in WWII era Morocco – haunted by memories of deserted lover Ilsa (Bergman). When their paths cross in Casablanca by some twist of fate, Rick must confront his past. The unparalleled supporting cast includes Sydney Greenstreet, Dooley Wilson, Peter Lorre, Claude Rains, and Conrad Veidt. If you’ve never experienced Casablanca on the big screen, you mustn’t miss this opportunity, and if you have – well…play it again, Sam. 35mm print courtesy of Library of Congress.
- Wed., Jul. 6 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
In what might be his most charismatic and memorable role, Gazzara is Jack Flowers, an amiable American pimp living by an increasingly outmoded code of honor in Singapore during the Vietnam-era. In the episodic story adapted from Paul Theroux’s novel, Jack has his run-ins with U.S. soldiers, British businessmen, and CIA spooks, all while attempting to build the brothel of his dreams. After his fall from grace with Hollywood in the mid 1970s, Bogdanovich reunited with producer Roger Corman for this medium budget, character-driven gem that delivered the director some of the best reviews of his career.
- Thu., Jul. 7 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Beachside in Nice, writer François (Brasseur, star of Godard’s Band of Outsiders) meets the beautiful, wealthy, and mysterious widow Peggy (Darc). Warned of Peggy’s dark and violent past by her protective attorney (Delon), François nonetheless falls hard while bodies begin piling up. A classic femme fatale thriller, Les seins de glace is an adaptation of Someone is Bleeding, an American novel by the celebrated genre author and screenwriter Richard Matheson (I Am Legend). The film has been released in the U.S. under the book’s title, as well as a more literal translation of its French title, Icy Breasts.
- Fri., Jul. 8 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
What We Left Unfinished looks closely at the era of state-funded filmmaking from Afghanistan’s Communist era, bringing together dozens of writers, actors, and filmmakers to discuss five unfinished, unedited projects produced between 1978 and 1991. After each regime change, leaders always saw propagandistic potential in Kabul’s rich filmgoing culture and the high quality of Afghan filmmaking. Scenes from the five never-before-seen films, beautifully restored, testify to the immense resources provided to filmmakers willing to play by certain rules. The studio politics and mishaps that accompany any film’s production here rise to the level of life-and-death conflict, as filmmakers recall coming up against the censorship of an authoritarian government, as well as unceasing threats of violence. This feature debut from artist Mariam Ghani raises potent, eternally relevant questions about art and politics, freedom of speech, and what happens when the truth becomes a bargaining chip. Presented with the support of UW Madison’s Center for South Asia. Special thanks to Sarah Beckham and Darshana Sreedhar Mini.
- Wed., Jul. 13 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Rocky Dennis (Stoltz) is trying to make the most of his teenage years while living with a bone disorder that causes deformities to his skull. Rocky’s strength comes from the love and encouragement that he gets from his high-energy mother, Rusty (Cher), though she could use some confidence building of her own. This touching drama based on the lives of real people was the first modest box office success after five flops in a row for Bogdanovich. The director’s career stalled again, however, when he complained about studio meddling to what became the original release version of Mask. This Director’s Cut restores about seven minutes worth of scenes and several songs by Bruce Springsteen, the real Rocky Dennis’ favorite musician.
- Thu., Jul. 14 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
In what may be his coolest screen portrayal, Alain Delon is the detail-oriented, fedora-wearing hitman named Jef Costello. Betrayed by his underworld employer and hounded by a persistent cop (Périer), Jef tries to survive his predicament without violating his personal, Bushido-like code of honor. Perhaps the most iconic and stylish movie of director Melville’s career, the hypnotic and meticulously planned Le samouraï delivers a lot of movie thrills from its minimalist story of crooks and cops. 35mm print courtesy of Cultural Services of the U.S. French Embassy.
- Fri., Jul. 15 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Based on a true story and filmed in the Midwest where it really happened, Lynch’s eighth feature depicts the true story and journey of 73-year-old Alvin Straight (Oscar-nominated Farnsworth) who travels from Iowa on a John Deere lawn mower to visit his estranged brother in Wisconsin. Although not entirely without its idiosyncrasies, this G-rated departure from Lynch’s sometimes shocking subject matter, reveals his genuine versatility as a director. The Straight Story is also a triumph for producer, editor, and co-writer Mary Sweeney, who will join us in person for a post-screening discussion.
- Wed., Jul. 20 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
A small circle of singer-songwriters fall in and out of love with each other while trying to navigate the modern Nashville country scene in this unjustly ignored late period Bogdanovich gem. Buoyed by a charming cast, as well as extended cameos from real-life country stars such as K.T Oslin, Trisha Yearwood, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the film also boasts Phoenix’s final completed performance and a scene-stealing early-career highlight from Bullock. (BR)
- Thu., Jul. 21 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
A wandering, samurai-for-hire (Mifune, in his quintessential role) arrives in a village eager to earn money through his thug-skewering skills. Disturbed by the grotesque corruption of the town’s two powerful rival gangs, he endeavors to exterminate them both. Kurosawa’s action-packed swordplay epic owes a debt to Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest and American westerns, and Yojimbo in turn inspired Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars. “The samurai could be a gunslinger, and the local characters could have been lifted from John Ford’s gallery of supporting actors” (Roger Ebert).
- Fri., Jul. 22 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
“Cross over, children. All are welcome. All welcome. Go into the light.” Haunted by a host of ghosts, an ordinary suburban family’s home suddenly becomes a house of horrors. The vivid and extraordinary special effects, terrific performances, and eerie Jerry Goldsmith score make this marvelously creepy film a must for fans of the genre. Although he’s not credited as director, the enduring qualities of this spectacular and satirical ghost story owe much to the talents of its co-writer and producer, Steven Spielberg, who was directing E.T. simultaneous to Poltergeist’s filming. Both films were released one week apart 40 years ago this summer.
- Wed., Jul. 27 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Drawing on interviews he conducted with legendary, pioneering directors like Allan Dwan, Raoul Walsh, and John Ford, Bogdanovich was inspired to make this episodic comedy set in the turbulent early days of the movie industry, 1910-1915. O’Neal plays a nerdy lawyer turned top director and Reynolds is a con man who becomes a movie star. The supporting cast includes Brian Keith, Stella Stevens, and John Ritter. Originally released in color, this Director’s Cut of Nickelodeon is presented in Bogdanovich’s preferred black and white, and restores five minutes deleted from the theatrical release.
- Thu., Jul. 28 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
A successful young novelist throws his comfortable life away after falling under the spell of a mysterious woman who claims to be his half-sister. Deemed untouchable after the ruinous production of his masterpiece The Lovers on the Bridge, enfant terrible turned filmmaker maudit Carax reemerged eight years later with this audacious, sexually explicit Melville adaptation—and it would be another decade before his next feature, Holy Motors. Carax’s characteristically astonishing images and pure cinematic style are matched by cult icon Scott Walker’s soundtrack, produced at the dawn of his late-career foray into full-on experimental music, and featuring songs by Sonic Youth and Smog. 35mm collection print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. (MK)
- Fri., Jul. 29 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Four friends (played by a quartet of Euro-cinema heavyweights using their own names) repair to a bucolic country estate with a company of prostitutes and a singular mission: to indulge in a feast so lavish that it kills them. Stuffing themselves with haute cuisine to the point of bursting, the men’s orgiastic death spiral takes them to the far horizon of hedonism. A triumph of bad taste, this debauched, darkly comic satire by Ferreri (Dillinger is Dead) mocks bourgeois bloat in all its ribald, grotesque glory. “Hilarious, stomach-turning, morbid, breezy, funny, and sad” (Chicago Reader). “Absolute masterpiece” (Sean Baker). Preceded by Chuck Jones’ Looney Tunes classic Chow Hound (1951, DCP, 7 min.) (MK)
- Wed., Aug. 3 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Reynolds, Shepherd, Kahn and a game cast of fine character actors sing and dance to the songs of Cole Porter in this entertaining tribute to 30s musicals. The story revolves around a quartet of socialites who couple and then re-couple. Using direct sound recording (as opposed to having actors lip-synch to a pre-recorded track), Bogdanovich’s daring experiment is a forgotten 70s gem worth re-discovering. This definitive version, compiled in 2013 represents the director’s third and final attempt at re-editing At Long Last Love.
- Thu., Aug. 4 | 6:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Teaming again with Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow director (and brilliant martial arts choreographer) Yuen Woo Ping, Jackie Chan stars as an eager Kung Fu student in turn-of-the-century China who finds his true calling under the tutelage of a master of “drunken boxing”. Along with Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, which was released the same year, Drunken Master was key in establishing Chan’s big screen persona as an ingenious comic acrobat and fighter.
- Thu., Aug. 4 | 8:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
After the adventures of the original Police Story, the romance of danger-loving cop Ka-kui (Chan) and his ever patient girlfriend May (Cheung) is put into serious jeopardy when May is kidnapped by a band of serial bombers. Attempting to outdo the outrageous stunts and action sequences of the first installment, Chan delivers, especially with a climactic brawl in an abandoned factory.
- Fri., Aug. 5 | 6:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
A newspaper reporter (MacMurray) finds his budding romance with a stenographer (Colbert) in jeopardy when she falls under the spell of a wealthy English playboy and nobleman (Milland) visiting NYC. Our working class heroes’ love story is further threatened when their story becomes an international tabloid scandal! In the first of their seven big-screen teamings, Colbert and MacMurray are a charming comedic duo with charisma to spare in this urban, depression-era fantasy.
- Fri., Aug. 5 | 7:30 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Just released from two years in prison for harboring her fugitive husband, young widow Janet Haley (Stanwyck) searches NYC for the daughter whom her husband hid away in an orphanage. While Janet is drawn to the generous and kind Dr. Kildare (McCrea), she prepares to give herself over to the creepy gangster (Ridges) who says he knows where the child is being held. The marvelously moving and continually surprising Internes Can’t Take Money was the first big-screen realization of writer Max Brand’s enduringly popular Dr. Kildare character and the movie shares the title (and the antiquated spelling) of one of Brand’s many Kildare stories. “Unexpectedly delicate…the dialogue direction, slow and unemphatic at a time when fast and loud was the default setting, establishes an attentive tenderness between the main characters, further developed by the emphasis on the silent looks they exchange” (Dave Kehr, The New York Times).