Reunion Week 2020

VIRTUAL REPERTORY SERIES

Presented by Strictly Brohibited

Wednesday, May 20 – Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Each year – around the same time as the graduations and reunions at the innumerable area universities – the Brattle celebrates our own kind of reunion as we bring together films from the cinematic ‘classes’ celebrating their 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries. This year we are obviously forced to take this program to the virtual space but we still found a great line-up of films available on common streaming sources or for rent online. From legends of Italian cinema to a landmark computer animated film, this program has a little something for everyone!


Wed, May 20

TOY STORY

Streaming on Disney+; for rent elsewhere

1995 • dir John Lasseter w/Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Jim Varney • 81 min

The film that forever changed the landscape of animation, TOY STORY was the first feature-length animated movie created entirely with CGI and put Pixar Studios on the map. Tom Hanks voices Woody, a cowboy doll, whose status as top toy is threatened by the arrival of spaceman action figure Buzz Lightyear (Allen). When the two find themselves lost in the outside world, they must overcome their differences to make it back home. – AD

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Virtual Late Show

DEAD OF NIGHT

Streaming on Kanopy only

1945 • dir Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Deardon, Robert Hamer w/Mervyn Johns, Roland Culver, Mary Merrall, Googie Withers, Frederick Valk, Michael Redgrave • 103 min

This British anthology horror film from Ealing Studios opens with architect Walter Craig (Johns) arriving at a country house to meet a potential client, only to find himself face to face with guests who seem strangely familiar. Craig believes he has seen them all before in a recurring nightmare he’s had. His revelations lead the guests to launch into tales of uncanny or inexplicable events in their own lives involving magic mirrors, haunted mansions, and, most famously, a demonic ventriloquist’s dummy. Though not the first horror anthology film, DEAD OF NIGHT is widely considered one of the launch points of this subgenre of scary movies, and is still plenty chilling, even by today’s standards. – AD

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Thu, May 21 • Double Feature

ROME, OPEN CITY

Streaming on Criterion; for rent elsewhere

1945 • dir Roberto Rossellini w/Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero • 103 min

A landmark of Italian neo-realism – and cinema in general – ROME, OPEN CITY is one of the most remarkable and immediate films ever made about World War II. Written just two months after the Nazis retreated in 1944 and shot guerilla-style on the streets of the still devastated city, the film paints a tragic portrait of Rome under the German occupation by focusing on a priest who is aiding the resistance. – NH

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THE CONFORMIST

Streaming on Kanopy; for rent elsewhere

1970 • dir Bernardo Bertolucci w/Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin • 113 min

25 years after ROME, OPEN CITY and the great Italian directors are, not surprisingly, still grappling with the ghosts of fascism. In this stunningly gorgeous film, Jean-Louis Trintgnant plays Marcello, a well-off bureaucrat who has been seduced by the order and control offered by the Fascist party. When he is commanded to assassinate his former teacher, a staunch anti-Fascist intellectual, Marcello is forced to reassess his choices. Yet he still struggles to suppress his desperate need to conform. – NH

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Fri, May 22 • Double Feature

BLITHE SPIRIT

Streaming on Criterion; for rent elsewhere

1945 • dir David Lean w/Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond, Margaret Rutherford • 96 min

David Lean’s first comedy, scripted by Noël Coward from his Broadway hit, stars Rex Harrison as a successful and cheerfully cynical novelist whose marital bliss is interrupted by the mischievous ghost of his first wife. BLITHE SPIRIT is one of the gentlest dark comedies ever produced and acts as a frothily interesting counterpoint to the other collaboration between Coward and Lean to be released in 1945 – the poignant romance BRIEF ENCOUNTER. – NH

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THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS

Streaming on Criterion; for rent elsewhere

1970 • dir Arthur Hiller w/Jack Lemmon, Sandy Dennis • 98 min

An absolute nightmare awaits a small-town Ohio couple (the transcendentally neurotic Lemmon and Dennis) as they try to navigate the apparent hellscape of New York City in the late 1960s. After a delayed plane, they arrive in the Big Apple to find the transit workers, taxicab drivers, and sanitation crews all on strike simultaneously – and matters just get exponentially worse from then on. Hilariously playing up the fears and anxieties of out-of-towners, writer Neil Simon convincingly paints an exaggerated portrait of a New York that is actively hostile towards outsiders. For Boston-on-Film completists, there is some vintage footage shot in South Station and even a cameo from Logan Airport.

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Sat, May 23 • Double Feature

BRIEF ENCOUNTER

Streaming on Criterion; for rent elsewhere

1945 • dir David Lean w/Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard • 86 min

A chance encounter at a railway station between a housewife (Johnson) and married doctor (Howard) leads to an extramarital love affair that takes place over the course of seven meetings and departures. This fourth and final collaboration between director David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge On The River Kwai) and playwright Noël Coward, remains one of the great cinematic tales of forbidden love. – AD

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CLAIRE’S KNEE

Streaming on Criterion and Kanopy only

1970 • dir Éric Rohmer w/Jean-Claude Brialy, Aurora Cornu, Béatrice Romand • 105 min

Filmmaker Eric Rohmer is an expert at making the slightest glance seem like a grand gesture in his films, and the now 50-year-old CLAIRE’S KNEE is no exception. Jerome, a soon-to-be married man, is spending his summer holiday relaxing at a lake house in France where he runs into an old lover and two young women who catch his eye, Laura and Claire. The fifth in Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales series, this sunlit and slow-paced tale is filled with playful, literary dialogue. – RL

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Also Sat, May 23 • Virtual Late Show

DEAD MAN

Streaming on Criterion and Kanopy; for rent elsewhere

1995 • dir Jim Jarmusch w/Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Robert Mitchum • 121 min

Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch takes us on an existential journey with stunning monochrome cinematography from Robby Müller and a stark score from Neil Young in this American Western. A meek accountant (Depp) is on the run after a fatal shooting when he meets outcast Nobody (Farmer) who guides him on a spiritual quest through the wild frontier. Still as poetic and stunning as it was when first released 25 years ago, this film is widely considered one of the premier postmodern westerns. – RL

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Sun, May 24

ANTONIA’S LINE

Streaming on Kanopy; free on Tubi; for rent elsewhere

1995 • dir Marleen Gorris w/Willeke van Ammelrooy, Jan Decleir, Veerle van Overloop • 102 min

“Marleen Gorris calls her Oscar-nominated new film, ANTONIA’S LINE, a fairy tale because it’s about a world managed – wisely, solidly, strongly, lovingly – by women. Few films match the inexhaustible flow of warm, life-sustaining energies in this celebration of a Dutch earth mother (van Ammelrooy) who at the end of World War II returns to her village with her daughter to take control of the family farm she inherits. Over the years, she turns it into a haven, filling it with her own actual and surrogate progeny, nurturing them, sheltering them – even, in the film’s only intrusion of ugliness, protecting them from a rapist. On Antonia’s farm, the crop is family. This may seem a notion particularly susceptible to syrupy excess, but it plays out irresistibly.” – Jay Carr, The Boston Globe, 1996

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Also Sun, May 24 • Virtual Late Show

EQUINOX

Streaming on Criterion and Kanopy

1970 • dir Jack Woods, Dennis Muren, Mark Thomas McGee w/Edward Connell, Barbara Hewitt, Frank Bonner, Robin Christopher, Jack Woods • 80 min

A landmark of homemade movie making, EQUINOX was originally shot as a short project among friends but was later acquired by legendary schlock producer Jack H. Harris (The Blob) who added a framing story to pad it out for theatrical release. Though clearly an amateur production at times, EQUINOX makes good use of limited resources and has some great effects. The story is simple, a pair of couples set out for a picnic near the cabin of a professor they know. When they arrive, the cabin is in ruins and the professor is gone. Soon they find themselves in possession of a mystical tome and are threatened by all manner of beasts and demons trying to retrieve it. A clear and acknowledged inspiration on Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, this brisk and fun sci-fi/horror film is a wild ride. – NH

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Mon, May 25 • Double Feature

SCARLET STREET

Streaming on AmazonPrime, Kanopy, and Criterion; for free on Tubi and free w/ ads on Vudu; for rent elsewhere

1945 • dir Fritz Lang w/Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea • 103 min

This psychologically complex film stars the great Edward G. Robinson as a meek, unsuccessful artist who gets mixed up with a beautiful femme fatale (Bennett) and her unscrupulous boyfriend (Duryea). We are excited to include this dark noir gem in the program since it isn’t readily available to screen at the Brattle (we’ve only been able to show it once in over 30 years).

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DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS

Streaming on Starz; for rent elsewhere

1995 dir Carl Franklin w/Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals • 102 min

In a better world, this thrilling adaptation would’ve sparked a new franchise based on Walter Mosley’s fantastic Easy Rawlins novels. As it stands, we have to be grateful for what we have – which is pretty great all things considered. Denzel Washington stars as Easy, a WWII veteran turned private eye in 1940s Hollywood who is hired to find a missing woman… and then things get really messy. Writer/director Carl Franklin (One False Move) infuses a faithfully recreated film noir era with a fresh vision by viewing it from an African American perspective. Washington is at the top of his charismatic game here but the show is very nearly stolen by Don Cheadle as Easy’s violent but loyal friend, Mouse.

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Tue, May 26

DONKEY SKIN

Streaming on Criterion only

1970 • dir Jacques Demy w/Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, Jacques Perrin • 91 min

In this lovingly crafted, wildly eccentric adaptation of a classic French fairy tale, Jacques Demy casts Catherine Deneuve as a princess who must go into hiding as a scullery maid in order to fend off an unwanted marriage proposal – from her own father, the king (Marais). A topsy-turvy riches-to-rags fable with songs by Michel Legrand, DONKEY SKIN creates a tactile fantasy world that’s perched on the border between the earnest and the satiric, and features Delphine Seyrig in a delicious supporting role as a fashionable fairy godmother. – Criterion Collection

Watch Trailer (French, no subtitles)

THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH

Streaming on AmazonPrime; for rent elsewhere

1995 dir John Sayles w/Jeni Courtney, Eileen Colgan, Mick Lally, John Lynch, Susan Lynch • 97 min

One of the most enchanting films of the 90s, John Sayles’ gorgeous fairy tale follows the adventures of a young girl (Courtney) who is sent to live with her grandparents in an Irish fishing village. While there she hears her grandmother’s stories and learns of her family connection to the Selkies, a race of mermaid-like seal-people. Shot by the great cinematographer Haskell Wexler (Days of Heaven) with a screenplay by Sayles based on the work of Rosalie K. Fry, this charming film will cast a spell on grown-ups and children alike. – NH

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Writing Credits:

NH – Ned Hinkle
AD – Alissa Darsa
KB – Kim Baillargeon
RL – Rachel Lanza