LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER
2013, The Weinstein Company, 132 min, USA, Dir: Lee Daniels

Forest Whitaker gives one of his finest performances as Cecil Gaines, a White House butler who serves eight consecutive U.S. presidents during a tumultuous period in American history. Director Lee Daniels neatly balances Gaines’ personal story with the broader social implications of the times. With Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Robin Williams and Jane Fonda.


THE LEGEND OF NO. 17
LEGENDA NO. 17
2013, 134 min, Russia, Dir: Nikolay Lebedev

This rousing biopic stars Danila Kozlovsky as Russian ice hockey player Valeri Kharlamov, widely considered one of the greatest in the game’s history. In true ROCKY fashion, Kharlamov rises under the mentorship of a hard-bitten coach (Oleg Menshikov) to lead his team in an epic 1972 Soviet-Canadian showdown. In Russian with English subtitles.


THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW
IL VANGELO SECONDO MATTEO
1964, Compass, 137 min, Italy, Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Working from the perspective of “an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief,” director Pier Paolo Pasolini shot this story of the life of Christ in a documentary style that lends his spare imagery a power that few Biblical spectaculars ever attain. Employing non-professional actors (Spanish economics student Enrique Irazoqui portrayed Jesus, a role for which Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were reportedly considered) and dialogue drawn directly from Matthew’s text, the film effectively allies Jesus with the meek and poor in spirit, and his rejection of materialism was a theme Pasolini often championed. In Italian with English subtitles.


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