Repertory Round-Up: Weekend of 12 April
The Middle Ages on Film @ Anthology Film Archives
Medieval times tend to inspire kitsch in blockbusters, but the period’s whole filmic record is more diverse than swordplay and buxom lasses. Anthology’s latest ambitious series casts its net wide — wide enough that it gets two dramatically different films about Joan of Arc. Adding to a pile started by Carl Theodor Dreyer, Roberto Rossellini and Otto Preminger, Robert Bresson’s “The Trial of Joan of Arc” (1962) sticks to the court transcripts, from which Florence Delay — a non-actor, now an academic — and company read. As with most Bressons, she’s like a mannequin granted the bare minimum of life. The trial is brazenly missing in Jacques Rivette’s Sandrine Bonnaire-starring “Joan the Maid” (1994), which still manages to drape her life over two separate films, totaling about 5 ½ hours. (This is far from Rivette’s longest opus: “Out 1″ runs some 13 1/2 thrilling hours.)
Also in the series is Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Andrei Rublev,” his first super-long-player, and two relative obscurities: John Huston’s 1969 “A Walk With Love and Death” is a romance co-starring his teenage daughter Anjelica; and late Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine gets “Saladin” (1963), once the most expensive Arabic film ever made and which shows the other, less covered side of the Crusades. There will be more from the series (including the Czech “Marketa Lazarova”) in May.
“Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”/”House of Bamboo” @ Film Forum
Frank Tashlin was an animator for Warner Bros. who transitioned into gag writing and then filmmaking, and the films he made — including several with Jerry Lewis —are, as said plenty of other places, essentially live-action cartoons. His advertising satire, with Tony Randall trying to milk Jayne Mansfield for a route to the top, is
loud enough to demand a big screen. Ditto another cartoonish cinemascope Technicolor extravaganza from 1957, Samuel Fuller’s Tokyo noir “House of Bamboo.” Make it a double.
The Weimar Touch @ MoMA
Germany’s Weimar period lasted from 1919 till the rise of Hitler, after which many of its innovative artists escaped through Europe, America and elsewhere. MoMA’s series traces not the films of this period, including the German Expressionists, but the films that came after. The ongoing series, which lasts into early May, will this weekend thread up two rarities: Julien Duvivier’s 1936 “Le Golem,” the “Pepe Le Moko” filmmaker’s version of the Jewish folk tale, and one of Max Ophuls’ early, German films, “Trouble With Money,” where he no doubt develops both his gift for acrobatic, elegant long takes but also his elegant studies of humanity.