Doc Films, the University of Chicago’s venerable film society, kicks off its winter 2008 schedule tonight at 7 with Samuel Fuller’s incomparable Pickup on South Street (1953), the first in a Monday-night series on the Hollywood maverick. Tuesday nights will be split between Jacques Demy and Jacques Tati, beginning tomorrow with Lola (1961). Wednesdays belong to Pedro Almodovar, whose All About My Mother (1999) will be screened this week. Doc offers two movies on Thursday nights; this term the early shows will focus on film noir (starting with Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place), the late shows on classic sexploitation (Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls).

The most tantalizing series may be the Sunday-night retrospective of silent films by Ernst Lubitsch, with live piano accompaniment by Daniel Sefik. It begins with Lady Windermere’s Fan (1/13) and continues with such titles as The Oyster Princess (1/20), Madame DuBarry (2/3), One Arabian Night (2/10), Rosita (2/17), The Marriage Circle (2/24), and The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (3/9).

Mark your calendars for two special events: On Monday, February 25, the symposium “Rediscovering American Cinema” will feature U. of C. professor Tom Gunning, New York Times DVD columnist (and Reader/Doc Films alum) Dave Kehr, and Mike Mashon of the Library of Congress as well as a screening of Cecil B. De Mille’s The Golden Bed (1925). Beginning Friday, February 8, Doc and the Japan Foundation Midwest will present a free weekend series of five recent dramas that focus on “the changing scenery of Japan.”

Now who can give me a lift to Hyde Park?