Close Up

7 April - 28 July 2008: Essential Cinema VI


Un Chien Andalou
Luis Buñuel
1929 | 16 min  | B/W | Digital  

Luis Buñuel's legendary first film, Un Chien Andalou written with Salvador Dalí, created a scandal at its premiere and its startling eye-slicing opening sequence has continued to shock viewers ever since. Despite Buñuel and Dalí 's energetic rejections of any rational meaning in the film, Un Chien Andalou is an exploration of desire and the obstacles in the path of instinctual passion, equally indebted to Surrealism and Freud.  

L'Âge D'Or
Luis Buñuel
1930 | 60 min | B/W | Digital  

L'Âge D'Or is a uniquely savage blend of visual poetry and social criticism. A sinister and strangely poignant chronicle of a couple's struggles to consummate their frenzied desire in the face of a stream of obstacles from bourgeois society and the Church, the film was banned and vilified for many years, becoming justly legendary for its subversive eroticism and its furious dissection of "civilised" values.  

Last Year in Marienbad
Alain Resnais
1961 | 94 min | B/W | Digital  

Last Year in Marienbad is an astounding collaboration between director Alain Resnais and leading French novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet. In a vast and opulent hotel, an unnamed man (Giorgio Albertazzi) attempts to persuade a similarly unnamed married woman (Delphine Seyrig) that they have not only met before, but that they were also romantically involved and had planned to elope together. The woman recalls no such encounter. Strikingly composed and beautifully shot, Last Year in Marienbad represents a key moment in the development of cinematic modernism.  

Wild Strawberries
Ingmar Bergman
1957 | 91 min | B/W | Digital  

The film that catapulted Bergman to the forefront of world cinema is the director's richest, most humane movie. Traveling to receive an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg (played by the veteran Swedish director Victor Sjöström), is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and accept the inevitability of his approaching death. Through flashbacks and fantasies, dreams and nightmares, Wild Strawberries captures a startling voyage of self-discovery and renewed belief in mankind.  

The Third Man
Carol Reed
1949 | 104 min | B/W | Digital  

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime – and thus begins this legendary tale of love, deception, and murder. Thanks to brilliant performances by Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles; Anton Karas's evocative zither score; Graham Greene's razor-sharp dialogue; and Robert Krasker's dramatic use of light and shadow, The Third Man, directed by the inimitable Carol Reed, only grows in stature as the years pass.