By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus)
This 1959 Cannes Palme d’Or winner, 1960 Oscar Best Foreign Language Film winner and arguable masterpiece is a modern reinterpretation of the myth of Orpheus, which director/co-writer Marcel Camus set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. Orfeu (Breno Mello) is a streetcar conductor and star Carnival dancer who is betrothed to Mira (Lourdes de Oliveira). Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) comes to Rio to visit her cousin and escape a man she rejected who now wants to kill her. She and Orfeu fall in love, and Mira and the scorned man (dressed in Carnival costume as Death) pursue the doomed couple through Rio’s confusing, color-splashed streets. Besides being a head trip and stunningly beautiful, Orfeu Negro introduced the west to bossa nova thanks to a soundtrack co-written by Luiz Bonfá and Antonio Carlos Jobim of “The Girl From Ipanema” fame. Chapman University’s Dodge School of Film and Television presents a free, open-to-the-public “Industry Insiders” series in which a Hollywood player leads screenings of select films over several weeks of a semester. This spring’s insider is director Martha Coolidge (Valley Girl, Real Genius, Lost In Yonkers). Once the lights come up, you can ask her about Orfeu Negro or anything else. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Thurs., March 19, 7 p.m. Free.
The women in the village of Absurdistan (which is really Azerbaijan) withhold sex from their men until the community’s water pipe is fixed. But the guys are reluctant to do this because many of their elders died laying the pipe. This particularly complicates matters for childhood sweethearts Temelko (Maximilian Mauff) and Aya (Kristyna Malerova), who have been predestined to couple on an appointed day that is drawing near. Will the village feud end in time for Temelko to, uh, lay the pipe? Director Veit Helmer’s allegorically absurdist comedy has been deemed huggable, not to be missed and a missed opportunity, depending on which reviewer you believe. It’s presented in Russian with English subtitles by the Laguna Beach Film Society, whose members watch free. Laguna South Coast Cinema, 162 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971, ext. 201. Thurs., March 19, 7 p.m. $15; $20 if you attend the 6 p.m. wine-and-hors d’oeuvres pre-eception around the corner in the Wells Fargo community room.
Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)
Alan relates the story of traveling magician Dr. Caligari and Cesare, whose arrival in a town coincides with savage killings. It is revealed that Caligari hypnotized Cesare to re-enact murders, and the blood trail leads to an asylum, where Caligari seems to have been the director and Cesare . . . a dummy? Dude, you just blew my mind! Leave it to Mondo Celluloid to unearth this 1920 silent Expressionist horror classic, with a live score performed by an undead band. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 428-5435; www.mondocelluloid.com. Fri., 11:59 p.m. $9.75.
Cry, the Beloved Country
James Earl Jones, Richard Harris and Charles S. Dutton lead the cast in Darrell Roodt’s 1995 drama about a South African preacher searching for his wayward son, who has committed a crime in the big city. This is the final screening in the three-part “The Colonial Experience In Africa” series. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Thurs., March 12, 7 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).
For the Bible Tells Me So
Love documentaries but loathe Proposition 8? The Laguna Beach Film Society has the film for you. For the Bible Tells Me So explores the differences between biblical interpretation and contextual reading, with help from Bishop Desmond Tutu, former congressman Richard Gephardt and members of families coming to terms with their gay children or family members. Festival of Arts, Forum Theater, 650 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971, ext. 201. Fri., 7 p.m. $15.
The Godfather: Part II
It’s a toss-up whether II is better than The Godfather, but there is no question that both comprise one of the best tandems in American cinematic history. The parallel stories of young Vito Corleone (Robert DeNiro) and, decades later, his son and rising mob boss, Michael (Al Pacino), are told in mesmerizing fashion by Frances Ford Coppola, before he became a wine baron. Bay Theater, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; www.baytheatre.com. Thurs., March 12, 7 p.m. $5-$8.
Harold and Maude
Watching Bud Cort play “bond-company stooge” Bill Ubell in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou for the 18th time recently, I thought to myself, “He’s actually doing quite a bit with a very small part.” It’s been some time since Cort got to carry a picture, as he did in Robert Altman’s Brewster McCloud or this 1971 Hal Ashby rom-com about a young, death-obsessed man falling hard for a septuagenarian (Ruth Gordon) he meets at a funeral. Harold proposes to Maude on her 80th birthday, but she’s got even bigger news for him. South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701; www.regencymovies.com. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $6.50.
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