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Star Trek—The Motion Picture

Paramount Pictures bakes a $40 million loaf of Wonder Bread—this 1979 movie adaptation of the cult TV series is blandness raised to an epic scale. Robert Wise’s bloodless direction drains all the air from the Enterprise, as his characters inevitably lose their individuality in the mechanical click-clack of his crosscutting. This is the sort of […]

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Local Hero

Bill Forsyth, director of the frail and strenuously charming Gregory’s Girl, more or less gets his act together with this fable of an American executive (Peter Riegert) who succumbs to the mooniness of the Scottish fishing village he has been sent to buy for his company. The languorous, almost extinguished rhythms and the casual placement […]

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Diva

For his first feature, Jean-Jacques Beineix borrowed the formal innovations of the French avant-garde—Godard’s colors and conflicting tones, Rivette’s screwball thriller plotting—for a work of unalloyed entertainment, which was such a sharp commercial idea it’s a wonder no one had thought of it before. A young postal messenger who worships an American opera singer makes […]

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A History of Cinema, Program One

A year-long series on the development of movies as an art form begins with a program on “The Origins of Cinematic Narration.” Among the films to be shown, all shorts, are several “views” created for the Edison Kinetoscope, a selection of the Lumiere brothers’ films, George Melies’ 1902 A Trip to the Moon, and some […]

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Short Films By Chantal Akerman

Early work by a key figure in modern film (Jeanne Dielmann. . .). Saute ma ville features an 18-year-old Akerman as a young high-rise dweller trying to cope with her domestic duties; La chambre (1972) is a study of light in a New York apartment; Hotel Monterey (1972) is a portrait of a Manhattan welfare […]

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Wuthering Heights

The Emily Bronte novel was a favorite among the surrealists for its treatment of obsessive love, and Luis Buñuel originally planned to film it in the 30s (from a screenplay by poet Pierre Unik). Those plans fell through, but Buñuel returned to the project in 1953, during his sojourn in the Mexican commercial cinema. It’s […]

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Diary of a Lost Girl

G.W. Pabst’s 1929 follow-up to his notorious Pandora’s Box, again with the American starlet Louise Brooks, though this time as sexual victim rather than predator. The daughter of a pharmacist, she is seduced by a shop assistant and launched on a series of humiliations, which include bearing a baby out of wedlock, a term in […]