You’re always taking a chance when you publish a review of a movie four weeks after it’s opened—you may find out too late that, when the review hits the street, the movie has just closed. But given the gigantic middle-American audience for biblical drama, I have a feeling that Darren Aronofsky’s Noah will be around for at least 40 days and 40 nights. This week Ben Sachs considers the movie’s roots in the midrashic texts that have grown up around the Torah for thousands of years; I have looked upon his review and seen that it is good.
Check out this week’s issue for new reviews of: Alan Partridge, a sharp new British comedy starring Steve Coogan; Child’s Pose, the latest import from the Romanian New Wave; Cinema Palestine, a survey of Palestinian moviemaking, and Mars at Sunrise, a drama about a Palestinian painter tortured by an Israeli soldier, both screening at Gene Siskel Film Center as part of this year’s Chicago Palestine Film Festival; For a Woman, Diane Kurys’s autobiographical French drama about her parents’ early relationship after World War II; No God, No Master, a historical drama about the Red Scare of 1919, starring David Strathairn as real-life FBI agent William Flynn; On My Way, with Catherine Deneuve as a small-town restaurant owner who gets jilted romantically and takes off on a road trip to see her estranged daughter; Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp as a scientist whose brain function is transferred to an artificial intelligence program; and Watermark, a documentary about mankind’s troubled relationship with the world’s water supply, directed by Jennifer Baichwall and Edward Burtynsky (Manufactured Landscapes).
Best bets for repertory: Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973), Wednesday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Alain Resnais’s Melo (1986), next Thursday at Doc; Ernst Lubitsch’s The Merry Widow (1934), Sunday at Doc; Orson Welles’s Othello (1952), daily at Gene Siskel Film Center; Abbas Kiarostami’s 10 (2003), Monday at Doc; and Robert Zemeckis’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Friday, Saturday and Monday at the Logan.
This week brings a flood of special events (you knew I’d circle back around to Genesis): University of Chicago Film Studies Center presents the two-day symposium Contemporary Horrors: Destabilizing a Cinematic Genre, Friday and Saturday at Logan Center for the Arts; First Steps: The Early Works of Ruth Page and Sybil Shearer collects 16-millimeter footage of the title choreographers at work, Thursday at Columbia College Film Row Cinema; Found Footage Festival, the annual compendium of weird shit discovered God knows where, takes place next Thursday at Music Box; Poets of Protest, a documentary about political verse in the Middle East, screens Friday and Saturday at Facets Cinematheque with live readings by Manal Al Sheikh and Mazen Maarouf; and the Sound of Silent Film Festival, the annual pairing of contemporary silent films and live music by local artists, moves up to the Music Box this year with its show on Tuesday.