Winter at the BAMPFA

The Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) recently announced its winter schedule, running from December through February, with eleven different film series. These are the ones that caught my eye:

The Puppet Master: The Films of Jirí Trnka
Dec 1–19

This Czech animator turned a kiddie genre into political satire. I saw his version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream ages ago and loved it. The version I saw was narrated by Richard Burton; I would guess that the print to be screened next month will have Czech dialog and English subtitles.

Bergman 100: Full Circle
Dec 1–30

The final Ingmar Bergman series of the year. This one contains such big titles as Persona, Scenes from a Marriage, Shame, and Fanny and Alexander. The later will screen in both the three-hour and five-hour versions (read my Blu-ray review).

Fritz Lang & German Expressionism
Dec 7–Feb 23

A selection, and a pretty comprehensive one, of Lang’s German work, along with other films by his contemporaries. Along with the obvious titles – Metropolis, The Nibelungen, and M – the series contains less-seen Lang films, such as Woman in the Moon and The Spiders. Works by other Germans include The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Last Laugh, and Faust. Judith Rosenberg will accompany the silents on piano.

Japanese Film Classics from the BAMPFA Collection
Dec 12–Jan 27

Everything from Kurosawa’s first film, Sanshiro Sugata, to Miyazaki’s epic anime, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. In between there’s Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu and Sansho the Bailiff, Ichikawa’s Harp of Burma, Ozu’s Early Summer, and one on my A+ list, Kurosawa’s Ikiru.

In Focus: Writing for Cinema
Jan 23–Feb 27

Screenwriters are the unsung artists of the movies. Over the last few years, the BAMPFA, Stanford, and Castro have run series celebrating particular directors, actors, novelists, cinematographers, art directors, and composers, but never screenwriters. But at least the BAMPFA will celebrate screenwriting as an art form in this five-film series. Films include Graham Greene’s The Fallen Idol, William Fairchild’s Outcast of the Islands, and Robert Riskin’s It Happened One Night.

James Ivory in Person
Feb 20–23

The name Merchant Ivory conjures up images of early twentieth-century Brits exercising their stiff upper lips, but most of their films don’t fit that stereotype. Berkeley-born director Ivory, the sole surviving member of the team, will be on hand for the screenings of three early works – all about the intersection of British and Indian cultures. The films are Autobiography of a Princess, Shakespeare Wallah, and The Guru. You can read my report on the last time Ivory spoke in the Bay Area.