1991, Sony Repertory, 136 min, USA, Dir: Barry Levinson

Warren Beatty leads an all-star cast as the titular tough guy who turned the desert town of Las Vegas into an oasis for gamblers. Sent to California in the late 1930s, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel falls hard for actress Virginia Hill (Annette Bening) as he works to expand the criminal empire of East Coast mobster Meyer Lansky (Ben Kingsley). Harvey Keitel and Elliott Gould costar in this stylish drama, which earned 10 Academy Award nominations and two wins, for Best Art Direction and Costume Design.

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.

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.

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