Love is a many splendored thing. The 1955 film that bears that name is, alas, not in “Labor of Love: 100 Years of Movie Dates,” BAM’s series on filmic courtship. But the diversity — and the wit — of its choices bears that saying out.
It’s not just white hetero love, as seen in the endearingly un-cool first pick, “You’ve Got Mail.” The lovers are gay (“My Beautiful Laundrette,” “Word is Out”) and black (“She’s Gotta Have It,” “Love Jones”). The films are slick and Hollywood (“Gigi,” “Clueless,” “Pretty Woman”) or French (Max Ophuls’ “La Ronde,” Jean-Luc Godard’s “Masculin Feminin”). They’re sleazy genre fare (“The Student Nurses”) or just plain sleazy (the notorious “Cruising,” in which Al Pacino’s straight detective goes deep inside New York’s gay S&M scene).
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Frequently straying far outside the box, the series offers the kid Ron Howard trying to set up his dad (1962’s “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”), Diane Keaton as a teacher cruising bars (“Looking for Mr. Goodbar”) or a former Batman axing people to Phil Collins (“American Psycho”). You might learn a thing or two about love. Failing that, you’ll see Marilyn Monroe astride a hot Technicolor red staircase in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
"Labor of Love: 100 Years of Movie Dates" runs from May 4 through May 17 at BAMcinematek. Visit the site for the full schedule and tickets.
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge