Selling That Stuff ‘Toon Style: Forty Years of Animated Advertisements and The Naughty to Nasty Sex Cartoon Extravaganza, , Oddball Film, Friday, 8:00 (advertisements) and 10:00 (sex). I think the names make adequate descriptions. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 415.558.8117.
A Amadeus, Pacific Film Archive, Saturday, 7:00. This is a rare treat: A chance to see the Peter Shaffer/ Milos Forman Mozart drama in the original cut; in other words, the actual film that won the Best Picture Oscar, rather than the longer but not necessarily better director’s cut. A story of talent, jealousy, success, and the creative spark done in opulent style and accompanied by some of the best music ever written. Sound designer Mark Berger, who won an Oscar for his work on Amadeus, will be in attendance. My only regret is that it isn’t a 70mm print. Amadeus starts off the series Quality Control: Selected Works from Zaentz Films.
Ryan’s Daughter, Rafael, Wednesday, 6:30. I’ve never seen David Lean’s Irish epic, and the reviews when it came out weren’t that good. But some people are calling for a reappraisal, and apparently WALL-E director Andrew Stanton is one of them. This is Stanton’s choice for the Rafael’s The Films of My Life, and he’ll be there to present it. Besides, this was Lean’s follow-up to Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, so how bad could it be. It was only one of the last 70mm roadshows of that era. My Rafael contact promises “a beautiful 35mm print,” although I suspect it will be a mono one.
A To Kill a Mockingbird, UA Berkeley, Thursday, 8:00. The film version of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel manages to be both a nostalgic reverie of depression-era small town Southern life and a condemnation of that life’s dark and ugly underbelly. Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch is the ultimate decent and moral father, a character so virtuous he’d be unbelievable if the story wasn’t told through the eyes of his young daughter. (Had there been a sequel with a teenage Scout, Atticus would have been an idiotic tyrant.)
A Lemon Tree, Elmwood, opens Friday. When the new Israeli Defense Minister moves next door to a Palestinian lemon grove, and his security people decide the grove must be destroyed, the widow who owns the grove (Hiam Abbass) takes the case to court. Filmmakers Eran Riklis and Suha Araf wisely avoid clichés in their Israel vs. Palestine drama, concentrating instead on how the struggle effects the lives of everyone involved. Read my full review.
D Vertigo, Red Vic, Tuesday and Wednesday. What? I’m not recommending Vertigo? Everyone else thinks it’s a masterpiece, but it tops my short list of the Most Overrated Films of All Time. Vertigo isn’t like any other Hitchcock movie; it’s slow, uninvolving, and self-consciously arty.