By Justin Marble
June 11–17, Grindhouse films at The Brattle: Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s 2007 double feature reignited interest in the campy, cheap, and cheesy B-movies of the grindhouse era. These highly-enjoyable and ridiculous films are an experience unto themselves. With esteemed titles like Black Cobra, Chained Heat, Lady Terminator, and Thrill of the Vampires, the Brattle’s lineup looks to pull out all the stops of grindhouse goodness.
June 11–14, De Sica at the Harvard Film Archive: Italian, neorealist filmmaker Vittorio De Sica is known for his masterpiece Bicycle Thieves, showing on Sunday, but he had a long and storied career that produced a number of great films. In particular, Umberto D is a haunting look at old age, while “Miracle in Milan” eschews De Sica’s naturalistic standards for a more traditional cinematic tale of love.
June 18, Trash Humpers at The Brattle: Filmmaker Harmony Korine is known as a provocateur, and his previous films Gummo and Julien Donkey-Boy are love-it-or-hate-it kind of affairs. His films tend to turn audience members into cult devotees or a rabid mob. This film, meant to look like it was shot on VHS, is described by the Brattle as “unearthed from the buried landscape of the American nightmare,” and Korine has said he tried to make it look like a randomly found old videotape that depicts strange occurrences. Sounds more interesting than Marmaduke, anyway. Be warned—the title is meant to be taken literally.
June 18, 8: The Mormon Proposition at the Coolidge: This month’s political documentary comes in the form of 8:The Mormon Proposition, which looks at the passage of Proposition 8 through the lens of the Mormon movement that helped legislate it. While the filmmakers were originally intending to focus on the rising rate of gay teen suicide in Utah, they found that the cause of much of the trouble had its roots in Mormonism. Director Reed Cowan’s first film The Other Side of the Lens detailed his time as a reporter in Salt Lake City. One night, when called to investigate the death of a child, he arrived on the scene to find that the victim was his own son. From there, he quit his job to become a documentary filmmaker and attempt to help others around the world with his own brand of subjective and emotional filmmaking.
June 18, Winter’s Bone at Coolidge and Kendall Square: Already on the shortlist for Best Picture, Winter’s Bone has tremendous momentum coming out of the festival circuit. The film tells the story of a 17-year-old who delves into the criminal underworld in the Ozark mountains while searching for her drug-dealer father and trying to keep her family from falling apart. Jennifer Lawrence, who plays the girl, has garnered critical praise for her performance, and director Debra Granik is said to be a strong new force in women’s filmmaking.
June 27, Solaris at Harvard Film Archive: Andrei Tarkovsky’s space masterpiece is a more though-provoking and deeply philosophical version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Beyond the questions of technological advancement, Tarkovsky delves into the realm of subjective experience, as a space station crew investigating a mysterious planet begin to encounter disturbing visions and occurrences.