Extremely controlled and somewhat austere, Akerman’s contribution to the landmark television series Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge holds true to its title as it hews closely to its moody protagonist, Michèle, a headstrong high schooler and aspiring writer who confesses that her exterior “joie de vivre” masks her inner suffering. Deciding to abandon her studies and her family, she naturally heads to the cinema, where she meets a handsome French deserter from a hoity family. For the rest of the day they meander through the streets of Brussels, oscillating between desire and despair.
The true story of May Lemke and her son Leslie. May is a middle-aged nurse and mother of grown children, who, along with her husband, agrees to take in an abandoned baby boy with mental and physical handicaps. Leslie is blind and brain-damaged, but May patiently teaches him how to eat, walk, and talk. Leslie shows an interest in music, but it isn’t until he is a teenager that his special ability reveals itself. He sits down at a piano and begins to play a classical piece he heard on TV, amazing everyone.
A family of gnomes preparing for the wedding of their oldest son must engage in a battle of wits with an enemy family of vicious trolls.
Vladimir Nabokov, widely considered one of the world’s great writers, was also a remarkable professor at Cornell University. Here, we have Christopher Plummer as witty Nabokov, providing entertaining insight into “The Metamorphosis,” Kafka’s perplexing story of a man who woke up one morning to discover that he has turned into an insect. One of the most widely read and studied short stories of all time, Kafka’s surreal gem is humorously and intensely brought to life in this adaptation.
On Aug. 19, 1991 in Crown Heights (Brooklyn, N.Y.) a Hasidic man accidentally runs over a Black boy (Gavin Cato). Three hours later a young Jewish scholar (Yankel Rosenbaum) was murdered by Black youths. Four days of fire-bombing and riots ensued. Anna Deavere-Smith acts out the roles of these 18 persons involved in the racial conflict, trying to present the differing views of this serious problem. Includes actual film footage of the riots and violence.
As part of a television series devoted to Europe’s major cities, Angelopoulos was commissioned to make this film about Athens. Although much of Angelopoulos’ cinema is set among the villages of the northern countryside, he was born and raised in the city, so this film finds the director musing on an Athenian past that is variously ancient, national and personal, as well as clips from the “history” films The Travelling Players, The Hunters and Alexander the Great.
Krzysztof Kieslowski is the foremost director to have emerged in Poland since Andrzej Wadja. His two most recent features, A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love, shocked Western audiences and critics with their pessimism and brutality. Shot during the final months of communist rule, they are actually two in an extraordinary cycle of films made for Polish television. Each uses one of the Ten Commandments to explore the morality of Polish society; their subjects range from suicide to stamp-collecting, from incest to home computers. Arena talks to Kieslowski about these parables of contemporary life, and his role as a modern-day Moses.
An animated story derived from a Chinese folk tale. Follows the magical journey of a sister and brother as they travel with their grandmother to a mystical world. In this world, they confront a talking frog, a fierce dragon, a wicked witch, etc. Protecting them during their travels is a bright, white pearl that possesses extraordinary powers.