As the weather turns cold and the film festivals disappear, you can find warmth and cinema (along with other arts) at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, better known as BAMPFA.
UC Berkeley’s revival movie theater doesn’t just do films. They do film series. Here are the series coming up in December through February:
Agnès Varda: An Irresistible Force
December 20 – February 28
If it wasn’t for sexism, Agnès Varda would be as famous as Jean-Luc Godard or Search François Truffaut – probably more so. She’s my favorite among the French New Wave. This series offers a large helping of her narrative features, documentary features, and shorts (I personally prefer her narratives). It includes The Young Girls of Rochefort, which was directed by her husband, Jacques Demy. Why? So it can by followed by Varda’s documentary, The Young Girls Turn 25.
One Sings, the Other Doesn’t
These are the films in the series that I most heartily recommend:
Federico Fellini at 100
January 16 – May 17
Yes, the great Italian auteur would be celebrating his 100th year if he hadn’t died in 1993. And to celebrate his centenary, BAMPFA will screen 19 features directed by Fellini, along with a selection of shorts, and three features directed by Roberto Rossellini but co-written by Fellini.
To my mind, 8½ is his masterpiece (read my A+ appreciation). Other Fellini works that are highly revered include La dolce vita, Amarcord, La strada (I loved this one as a teenager, but not as an adult), and Fellini’s Roma. And if you want a little-known treat, see his directorial debut, a screwball comedy called The White Sheik.
If you want to know more about Fellini and his films, you can catch some of them Wednesday afternoons in the series In Focus: Federico Fellini. Here you get a lecture as well as a movie.
Next Door to Darkness: The Films of David Lynch
January 10 – February 29
Something without subtitles!
I’m not a big David Lynch fan. I’ve seen several of his films, and while their strange sexuality is kind of fun, I find the films overall shallow. Still, it might be fun to revisit Blue Velvet
and Wild at Heart.
Maybe I should see some of the others.
Perspectives on History: Romanian Cinema Since 1989
December 6, 2019–February 27, 2020
What happens to a country’s cinema when authoritarianism suddenly turns to freedom? Judging from BAMPFA’s website, a lot of good movies.
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu
I’ve only seen one of the films screened here, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu, and I hated it. You can read my review. In the film’s defense, a lot of people loved it. Other films that sound interesting are The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, The Oak, Videograms of a Revolution, and Soldiers: A Story from Ferentari.
Limited Engagements & Special Screenings
Since every film shown at BAMPFA must be part of a series, there has to be a series for films that don’t fit into any other series. Here are some of those films and events for this winter:
- Film Composing in Real Time: A Workshop with Donald Sosin
- Notorious (new 4K restoration)
- Amazing Grace
- Fanny and Alexander (Full-Length Television Cut)
- Elevator to the Gallows
- Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
- Christ Stopped at Eboli
- Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
- Tokyo Twilight
I just hope I have time to see as many of these as I want to.