March: It's gonna be a good one - Where to start? The first-runs? The midnights? The classics? The middle? The end?
How about the beginning, or rather what has already begun: The Weekend Classics' Restrikes and Restorals series.
Easy to forget that we undertook the R&R at the new year as 11 films that would cover the weekly Weekend Classics slots (usually Sat-Sun @ noon and Mon @ 7:30 of every week). But due to the almost-first-run nature of new prints, most of these films are expanded well beyond that limitation. Well, dang it if it didn't turn into 13 on us, and I'm feeling that the best may have been inadvertently saved for last. So, here's what we have:
First up are the recent restorations of THE GODFATHER (Feb 27 - Mar 4) and THE GODFATHER II (Mar 6-10), significant among the series as they have been supervised by the filmmakers themselves. Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis oversaw the project for a recent Blu-Ray release, the final result of which was release in accordance with these new 35mm prints.
Following that are two from Janus Films: Federico Fellini's AMARCORD (Mar 13-16), fresh from a successful run at NYC's venerable Film Forum, is enjoying a healthy revival. Originally presented by Roger Corman? That kinda fits.
Just after that is definitely the largest undertaking: the 3-part Japanese wartime epic THE HUMAN CONDITION (Mar 20-25). If you recall our Samurai Festivals of a few years back, you'll recognize filmmaker Masaki Kobayashi's work. His films HARAKIRI and SAMURAI REBELLION made lasting impressions on those that attended, helped in no small part by Tatsuya Nakadai, lead actor in all three of these films and a Kurosawa regular as well. A smash hit at the dawn of 1960's, all-night marathon screenings were said to be scheduled to accomodate the crowds who stayed in the theaters through the wee hours to experience the whole thing. The films, though linear, do stand alone and will be screened seperately as well. The Belcourt will hold only one such marathon screening during these five days on Sunday, March 22nd beginning at noon. THE HUMAN CONDITION is not available on DVD in the US. The Film Forum in NY has a lot more information on the film, which you can read about here.
Closing out the series will be Rialto Pictures' latest project, a restoration of Jean-Luc Godard's MADE IN U.S.A. which, somewhat ironically considering the title, has never had a proper theatrical release in the USA. Take a look at this trailer. The Godard regulars are here as well: lovelorn leading lady Anna Karina, cinematographer Raoul Coutard's cinemascope photography, "David Goodis", not to mention irregular Marianne Faithfull.
Here, in cellphone photo glory, are the complete 9+ hours of THE HUMAN CONDITION: