Film fans, prepare for a busy, gratifying fall.
In addition to the spate of remakes, sequels and prequels at the cineplex, the
art-house calendar might as well be wrapped in a celluloid ribbon.
Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum brings to town the late Polish director Krzysztof
Kieslowski's "The Decalogue." Cinestudio, the premiere movie palace
for reissues of classic films, presents the newly restored print of F.W.
Murnau's "Faust." Meanwhile at Real Art Ways in the Parkville section
of Hartford, edgier offerings find a home with titles ranging from Jean-Luc
Godard's new movie "In Praise of Love" ("Éloge de l"Amour")
to a new print of 1972's "Siddhartha."
The festival calendar is not as busy as it is in spring, but there are several
The ever-expanding New Haven Festival runs Sept. 20 through 22 (a full schedule
will appear in next week's edition of Cal). A mini-fest of films put together by
the Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and EROS, the Trinity College
gay student organization, is scheduled for sometime in November at Hartford's
Exact screening dates for most events are not yet available but the film
listings will appear on these pages as the bookings are confirmed.
Here are some of the details:
The story, based on Goethe's classic, goes like this: God and Satan struggle for
control of the Earth and their battleground is the soul of one man, Faust, who
bargains his soul away to the devil (Emil Jannings' Mephistopheles).
This 1926 silent German film is not ranked among Murnau's best; that honor
belonging more readily to "Nosferatu," "Sunrise" and
"The Last Laugh," but it is a must-see for film fans. One of early
cinema's most lyrical and visually atuned storytellers, Murnau tells the
oft-told Faustian legend with expressionistic photography, special effects of
the period, and all the advantages of a lavish studio budget - from the mob
scenes accompanying an outbreak of the plague to shots of Faust and
Mephistopheles flying over the city.
Breathlessly Awaiting Godard
Writing in the Los Angeles Times, critic Manohla Dargis says "In Praise of
Love" is, "A film about history, memory and the distance between the
two, `In Praise of Love' is an almost-love story about a French artist and a
Jewish woman that also takes measure of the distances between identity and
nationalism, Hollywood and the Holocaust; an almost-love story that - because
nothing is ever simple with Godard - is framed against the struggle to make art
in a world that largely ignores it."
Got all that?
Godard, onetime leader of the French New Wave, is still thrilling and confusing
his audiences after all these years.
This incomparable 1987 series of 10 hourlong films was created by Kieslowski
(best known in America for his feature-film trilogy, "Blue,"
"White" and "Red") and his frequent collaborator, co-writer
Each episode was inspired by one of the Ten Commandments, but the late
Kieslowski avoids obvious interpretations and tidy moral messages. Instead, his
stories, all set in and around a stark Warsaw apartment complex, gradually
sketch confounding moral conundrums. Could a father's faith in mathematics and
science unwittingly destroy his child? Shall a woman gamble that her ailing
husband will die so she can give birth to a baby that is not his? Can an
impotent man cope with his wife's affairs? Compressed, intense and involving,
the "Decalogue" films dramatize the complexities of human existence
and the profound puzzles that rend or mend the fabric of the most ordinary
To filch a line from The New Yorker's Anthony Lane, "Thou shalt not
The Meaning of Art
A young Indian embarks on a quest to discover the meaning of life in "Siddhartha,"
Conrad Rooks' 1972 adaptation of Hermann Hesse's novel.
Criticized for being overly arty, the film is required viewing if only for the
cinematography by Ingmar Bergman's longtime shooter Sven Nykvist.
Information about films at Real Art Ways can be had by calling 860-232-1006 or
check out www.realartways.org.
The New Haven Film Festival
Almost 50 films are on the slate including features, documentaries, shorts and
children's films. Among the festival highlights this year are
"Made-Up," a feature-length comedy directed by Tony Shalhoub and
starring his wife, Brooke Adams; "Zero Day," a potentially
controversial drama about students who declare war on their high school; and
"Arkadius - Wild Orchid Dreams," a documentary about the Polish
fashion designer. New this year is a Saturday program for children featuring
four hours of films selected from the Weston Woods Studio, a division of
Scholastic that creates award-winning adaptations of best-loved children's
books. For a full festival schedule, wait till next week's Cal or call
203-776-6789 and check out www.filmfest.org.
Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Mini-Fest
The Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival collaborates with EROS, the
Trinity College gay student organization, on a mini-fest tentatively scheduled
for November at Cinestudio, pending booking dates. A selection of films dealing
with issues related to homosexuality will be presented. For more information,
Fall Films: The Devil And Mr. Godard
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