“Life is a beastly mess,” states the great Laurence Olivier in this superb drama of the seedy music-hall life. He plays Archie Rice, a third-rate vaudevillian whose song-and-dance routines are crusty, unappealing, and decidedly boring. His wife (Brenda de Banzie) is a shrewish alcoholic who nags him constantly about his failures. His father (Roger Livesey), a once-famous entertainer, is dying, yet Archie prevails upon him to back just one more tawdry musical revue. Archie’s world comes tumbling down onto the garbage heap he has built up through a life of self-deception, sneaky schemes, and ruthless unconcern for those who love him. Based on the play by Angry Young Man John Osborne and directed by British New Wave trailblazer Tony Richardson, THE ENTERTAINER is built around one of Olivier’s most riveting performances.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema.
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
An intoxicating, time-bending experience bathed in the golden glow of oil lamps and wreathed in an opium haze, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s gorgeous period reverie traces the romantic intrigue, jealousies, and tensions swirling around a late 19th century Shanghai brothel, where the courtesans live confined to a gilded cage, ensconced in opulent splendor yet forced to work to buy back their freedom.