Agnès Varda’s tender evocation of the childhood of her husband, Jacques Demy—a dream project of his that she realized when he became too ill to direct the film himself—is a wonder-filled portrait of the artist as a young man and an enchanting ode to the magic of cinema. Shot in Demy’s hometown of Nantes (including the house he grew up in), this imaginative blend of narrative and documentary traces his coming of age amid the tumult of World War II as he finds escape in a universe of puppet shows, fairy tales, opera, and, above all, movies—the formative aesthetic experiences that would fuel his vivid Technicolor imagination and find unforgettable expression in his exuberant New Wave masterworks. Interspersed with intimate footage of the older Demy reflecting on his life’s journey, Jacquot de Nantes is a poignant love letter from one visionary artist to another.
This widely acclaimed film from Soviet director Elem Klimov is a stunning, senses-shattering plunge into the dehumanizing horrors of war. As Nazi forces encroach on his small village in present-day Belarus, teenage Flyora (Aleksei Kravchenko, in one of the screen’s most searing depictions of anguish since Renée Falconetti’s Joan of Arc) eagerly joins the Soviet resistance.
DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with La haine, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’s outskirts.
DCP, 35 mm, Blu-ray, DVD