THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC
LA PASSION DE JEANNE D’ARC
1928, 82 min, France, Dir: Carl Theodor Dreyer

No mere biopic or conventional period piece, director Carl Theodor Dreyer's masterpiece is one of the landmarks of silent cinema. Renee Falconetti is heartbreaking as the legendary young woman who died for God and France in 1429. Dreyer's closeup-driven style brutally forces the audience to share her pain - no director, not even Bergman, has ever been as conscious of the camera's ability to explore the mysteries of the human face.


DERSU UZALA
1975, Kino International, 141 min, Russia/Japan, Dir: Akira Kurosawa

Director Akira Kurosawa was pulling himself out of a suicidal depression when he agreed to helm this Soviet-Japanese co-production, which went on to win the Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film. When Captain Vladimir (Yuri Solomin) and his Siberian forest expedition meet a diminutive mountain man, Dersu Uzala (Maksim Munzuk), at their rural campsite, a friendship begins that will span decades. Kurosawa perceptively and subtly explores the inevitable clash of civilization and nature, focusing on a relationship between two men who are very different yet share a kindred spirit. From Siberia’s beautiful wooded landscapes to its pitiless, snow-ravaged wastes comes this timeless evocation of man’s fateful, often fractured place in the world. In Russian and Chinese with English subtitles.


AFTERNOON OF A FAUN: TANAQUIL LE CLERCQ
2013, Kino Lorber, 91 min, USA, Dir: Nancy Buirski

Dance student Tanaquil Le Clercq was in her teens when her lithe physique and expressive movement caught the eye of School of American Ballet founder George Balanchine. Le Clercq became a muse to Balanchine (who eventually married her) as well as to fellow choreographer Jerome Robbins, but in 1956, at the peak of her career, she was stricken with polio and never danced again. Through archival footage and interviews, this beautiful documentary captures the artistry and vibrant personality of one of the seminal figures of 20th century ballet. "A spooky, heartbreaking documentary...It’s a hymn to her rapture and infinite resilience. A" -Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly


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