Everyone likes to talk about movies, so let’s keep the conversation going! The Gene Siskel Film Center will get everyone talking with monthly film conversations. Audiences are invited to informal conversations led by—but not monopolized by—carefully selected facilitators.
2015, Aleksandr Sokurov, France, 88 min. With Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Benjamin Utzerath.
"Fascinating and supple ... it works very differently than the stately, methodical one-take wonder RUSSIAN ARK. I found the new one to be a livelier, more stimulating investigation of history, the spoils of war and the way great art serves as a life raft on the rocky seas of our times." – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"A truly bracing, provocative movie, and of course, as is always true with Sokurov, it’s a visual feast.”–Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com
In this companion-piece to his Hermitage-ramble RUSSIAN ARK, director Sokurov once again uses an iconic museum as the jumping-off point for a dense and digressive meditation on art and history. The site this time is the Louvre, with a special focus on its fortunes during the Nazi Occupation, and the complex relationship between two key players: the cultivated German overseer Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich and his wary collaborator, museum director Jacques Jaujard. In contrast to the all-in-one-take aesthetic of RUSSIAN ARK, the method here is more of a patchwork bricolage, unified by Sokurov’s sardonic commentary as he ranges far and wide to take in a container-ship equivalent of Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa,” the role of museums in the construction of nationhood, the relationship of Europe to Russia, ghostly visitations by Napoleon and national symbol Marianne, and much more. In Russian, French, German, and English with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
MAY 17: The 6:00 pm screening on Tue., May 17, is a Movie Club event facilitated by P.D. Young, an Adjunct Lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Masters in Art History in 2011 where his thesis explored a scene of the animals at the circus in Robert Bresson's au Hasard, Balthazar. Though he has lectured widely on modern and contemporary art, he is particularly interested in the intersection of museums and cinema.
Beauty and the Beast
La Belle et la Bête
1946, Jean Cocteau, France, 95 min. With Jean Marais, Josette Day.
★★★★ "One of the most magical of all films." – Roger Ebert
"Ravishing ... a recent restoration offering an opportunity to rediscover its undimmed pictorial splendor." – Kristin M. Jones, Wall Street Journal
Jean Marais, a young, obscure, strikingly handsome actor, became Jean Cocteau’s protégé and lover in 1937, and it was Marais who persuaded the opium-addicted poet to detox and take up the cinema again after a 15-year hiatus. In this imaginative and eternally popular version of the fairy tale, Marais is an uncommonly appealing Beast (Greta Garbo reportedly said after seeing the film, "Give me back my Beast!"), and Josette Day a suitably enchanting Beauty. Henri Alekan’s lustrous cinematography fulfills Cocteau’s directive to give the film "the soft gleam of hand-polished old silver." In French with English subtitles. Newly restored 35mm print. (MR)
APRIL 11: The 6:00 pm is a Movie Club event facilitated by critic Patrick McDonald. Patrick McDonald has been a film critic and entertainment writer for for eight years, and currently appears on HollywoodChicago.com and Film Autonomy.com. He has been chief tour guide for the Chicago Film Tour for seven seasons, and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics association.