1997, dir, Mike Newell, inspired by a true story. During a three-year infiltration of the Mob, FBI agent Joe Pistone (Johnny Depp), alias Donnie Brasco, becomes torn between his commitment to his job and family, and the increasingly violent and seductive demands of his new identity. Al Pacino stars as Lefty, the luckless mob veteran who becomes Donnie's mentor.
1959 Film Noir, dir. Charles Haas. Promoted at the time of its release as a quasi-satire of the contemporary youth cult, BEAT GENERATION is actually a parallel character study of an alienated criminal pitted against an alienated policeman. The most noir aspect of the film is the suggestion that a policeman under mental stress may become fully as sociopathic as those he is paid to subdue. The criminal is the Aspirin Kid (Ray Danton), a rapist-robber who distracts his victim by feigning a headache and asking for aspirin. The policeman (Steve Cochran) becomes monomaniacal in his pursuit of the Kid when his own wife becomes a victim.
1987 documentary about the Beats. Includes footage of interviews with Jack Kerouac, plus contemporary interviews with Allan Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Neal Cassidy.
1932, dir. Josef Von Sternberg. One of the most popular Dietrich/Sternberg collaborations, BLONDE VENUS is the story of a woman accepting money from a playboy (Carey Grant) to finance a treatment for her husband's terminal illness. When the husband misunderstands her motives, she sets out on a journey across America. Highlights include Dietrich singing "Hot Voodoo" in an ape suit and a New Orleans bordello sequence filmed with a luminosity matching anything Sternberg has ever shot.
1934. This is director Josef Von Sternberg's version of the life of Catherine the Great, a ruler who converted political power into sexual capital and vise versa. At the outset, the viewer is presented with a disorienting montage of gruesome scenes. Czars are depicted relishing in the delights of torture chambers, axing heads down a row of chopping blocks, and ringing a bell with a human clapper. Stunning lighting and camera work combine with fiery Russian music. A visual orgy.
1997, produced and directed by Brian Harty, starring Aaron Michael Lacey. EDGE is the story of Ed Jones (EDGE), a man with no memory of the event in the Persian Gulf War that left him mentally and physically scarred. From the past comes Lennox, a fellow soldier from the war, who invites him to go on a road trip with the promise of regaining the adventure and camaraderie they knew in the military. As the events of the past become more horribly clear, Edge finds himself in a nightmarish world of betrayal. On a parallel road trip, a young girl, Berry, leads her mother on a quest to photograph UFO's. As the two women come closer to understanding each other, the two journeys converge.
One winter evening the neighbour's six-year-old boy falls to his death from the apartment roof in Copenhagen. Accidental death, say the police. But Smilla Jaspersen, a resourceful, tenacious and bloody-minded Greenlander, knows the boy well; moreover she has a feeling for snow and those last footprints tell her a tale... Her investigation starts in Denmark and leads to the Arctic ice cap as Smilla doggedly homes in on her quarry.
1997, dir. Jan Sverak. Set in the eve of the 1989 Velvet Revolution in Prague. Once a renowned cellist in the August Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, middle-aged bachelor Frantisek Louka now plays funerals at the city crematorium and frequently indulges in the company of other men's wives. His life is interrupted when a friendly grave-digger proposes that Louka marry his distant Russian niece who needs Czech papers. When Louka sees the niece, he agrees to the plot. In the chaos that ensues, his bride quickly emigrates to Germany to join her lover, leaving behind her six-year-old Russian son, Kolya. The young boy is left in Louka's care, inviting the turmoil of the country into his own small apartment.
Canada, 1996. David Cronenberg's CRASH, based on the novel by J.G. Ballard, explores the oft-suggested connection in a jaded world between automobiles and sex. The characters get a hyper-erotic rush from car crashes: the crunching and twisting of metal; the diamond shards of glass; the spurts of hot oil and gushes of radiator fluid; even the pain of their own contusions, and the organic after-burn flavor of their own blood, tasted from the inside. Under Cronenberg's cool and clinical eye, the characters' rather unusual compulsions are presented and illuminated matter-of-factly; what at first seems like a ridiculously deranged notion soon attains a kind of otherworldly yet familiar human logic.
Pay one admission and stay for both films
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Schedule subject to change
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A Color Performance each Saturday at 7:00