February 16, 2019
Shiraz: A Romance Of IndiaFebruary 16, 2019
Romance / 1928 / 97 min
Universally regarded as the greatest silent film to come out of India, Shiraz: A Romance of India is being rediscovered by cinema lovers thanks to a miraculous 2K restoration courtesy of the British Film Institute. Directed by Franz Osten (a German, oddly enough), the narrative is a fictionalized account of the building of the Taj Mahal, performed by a stunning cast of thousands that includes countless horses, camels and elephants, an experience that transports the viewer back in time not only to the silent era, but to the 17th century period in which the film is set. Adding richness to the atmosphere is the musical accompaniment of Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the famed sitar-master Ravi Shankar, lending a transcendent authenticity to Otsen’s breathtakingly exotic piece of cinema spectacle. A film that demands to be seen on the big screen.
Of Fathers and SonsFebruary 16, 2019
Documentary / 2018 / 99 min
Following the critical success of his previous film Return to Homs, documentarian Talal Derki embarks on a life-risking journey back to his homeland of Syria for the topical and audacious Of Fathers and Sons, earning him more well-deserved accolades. Narrated by Derki himself, the documentary follows a radical Islamist family over the course of two years during which a father prepares his two sons – who are on very different life paths – to become jihadists. Derki’s doc is meticulously crafted and structured with its verite approach, one that keeps the focus primarily on the boys’ respect and admiration for their father as well as the cultural factors that contribute to such deeply ingrained beliefs; this is a film that side-steps moralizing by allowing its subjects to shoulder the weighty burden of their ideals, giving our most feared boogiemen relatable human faces.
At Eternity’s GateFebruary 16, 2019
Biography / 2018 / 110 min
The life of Vincent Van Gogh has been a subject of fascination for many dramatists, but few biopics have probed the artist's complicated inner life as thoroughly as Julian Schnabel's At Eternity's Gate. Schnabel – himself a painter – is uninterested in presenting Van Gogh's well-documented life in standard biopic format; employing a highly visual, dreamlike approach, Schnabel drifts through the doomed artist's final days through philosophical self-reflection, artistic epiphany and harrowing descents into madness. It helps that Schnabel has as chief collaborators the great Willem Dafoe – an actor uniquely qualified to portray history's quintessentially tormented genius – screenwriters Louise Kugelberg and Jean-Claude Carriere, and cinematographer Benoit Delhomme whose stunning photography evokes the qualities and textures of Van Gogh’s work. With a strong supporting cast featuring Oscar Isaac, Mads Mikkelson and Mathieu Amalric.
Bohemian RhapsodyFebruary 16, 2019
Biography / 2018 / 135 min
If ever a rock star deserved the full Hollywood biopic treatment it's Freddie Mercury; easily one of the greatest vocalists in rock, the songs Mercury crafted with Queen include some of the most enduring anthems in the history of popular music. Named after one their most iconic opuses, Bohemian Rhapsody – directed in part by Bryan Singer, who was fired following a growing slew of sexual harassment allegations – details Mercury's meeting of fellow band members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon in the early 1970s, through the band’s formation and ascension to rock royalty, Mercury's struggles with his sexuality and hetero marriage, his contracting of the AIDS virus in the 1980s and Queen's crowning, unforgettable performance at Live Aid. It's sturdy ground for a compelling biopic, but what really elevates Bohemian Rhapsody is the lavish production and the revelatory Rami Malek as Freddie, a performance so rich and convincing that the members of Queen themselves – who serve as hands-on producers – felt as if he was channeling their former lead singer. With Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Joe Mazzello and Mike "Wayne's World" Myers.