Tickets

10 films for $50 with punch card
$8 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Film Students get in free.

Parking

Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.

RTD Bus

Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

Import 35mm

35mm Rocks!

Long live 35mm film!

For those of us who still find magic in look of real film, we've compiled a list of upcoming screenings that will be shown on celluloid in the Boulder/Denver area. See you there!

Meantime, here's a video called “The Art of 35mm Projection.”

2018 Feb 19 Mon

PlayTime

Playtime is Jacques Tati's most brilliant film, a bracing reminder in this all-too-lazy era that films can occasionally achieve the status of art.

Playtime is a gloriously funny movie about a Paris so modern it does not yet exist, a Paris composed entirely of streets like our Avenue of the Americas, hemmed in by efficiently beautiful glass-and-steel towers in which, if we are quick about it, we may see momentary reflections of Sacre Coeur, the Arch of Triumph, or the Eiffel Tower.

It is a city inhabited almost entirely by tourists and their shepherd-guides who are spreading a terrible pox among the natives. It is not an immediately fatal disease but it makes everyone behave with the kind of frigid competence affected by airline stewardesses and reservation clerks.

Not even nuns are immune. Their heels click importantly as they glide across marbleized floors. A receptionist—a man so ancient that he could be a veteran of Verdun—operates a complex of computer buttons designed to announce a visitor's arrival in an office building. The old man does his best and the machine bleeps and gurgles successfully. It is the world of Kubrick's 2001 without the metaphysics and without Richard Strauss.

Playtime, which was made in 1967 and is only now being released in this country, is Tati's most free-form comedy to date, as well as his most disciplined, even more so than Traffic, which was made in 1971 but was seen here last winter.

It is virtually three major set pieces, or acts. The first act is set at Orly Airport, where we pick up some American tourists who arrive in a single, all-expenses-paid clump. The second is more or less devoted to a trade fair, where the tourists cross paths with Tati's Mr. Hulot.

The last act, a kind of neon-lit Gotterdammerung—is set in a posh nightclub whose opening night turns into the sort of chaos that civilizes. Everything goes wrong, including the air-conditioning, but in going wrong, life is somehow restored to the tourists as well as the natives.

You may well recognize the shape of the film, which is a variation on the favorite comedy theme about the family that inherits a lot of money, tries to put on fancy airs, loses its soul, and only finds itself again when the fortune is taken away.

However, it is not the shape of the film or its cheerful philosophy that are important. Rather it is the density of the wit. It is the gracefulness of the visual gags that flow one into another, nonstop, in a manner that only Tati now masters.

Mr. Hulot is still the nominal focal point of the comedy, particularly in the trade-fair sequence, but he is less in evidence in Playtime than in any other Hulot feature. The film is even further removed from character than was Traffic. It observes not persons, but social clusters, in a manner that serves curiously to humanize group action and response instead of to dehumanize the individual.

However, don't waste time analyzing Playtime too much. It can easily withstand such critical assaults, but they serve to distract attention from the film's immense good humor, from, for example, the closing sequence that shows us a Parisian traffic circle that has been turned into a giant lazy Susan, serving, among other things, the sacred cause of inefficiency.

In addition to everything else, Playtime is a reckless act of faith—by Tati in himself. He photographed it in 70mm (though it is being shown here in 35mm), and he invested not only huge amounts of time in it, but also his own money. As anyone connected with films can tell you, this is certifiable madness.

The movie business is supposed to exist so that people other than its artists can lose their shirts in it, thereby to gain things that are called (by those who can use them) tax-loss carry-forwards. I hope Playtime will make Tati very rich so that at some future time he can use a tax-loss carry-forward.

- Vincent Canby, New York TImes

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Mar 05 Mon

The Earrings of Madame de…

Unhappiness is an invented thing.

So the General tells his wife. He is convinced she wants to be unhappy. She places herself willfully in the way of sadness. It is her choice. There was a time when Louisa would have agreed with him, when their views on society matched perfectly. But now she is truly unhappy, and it is beyond her choice. The General will never understand that. Neither, probably, will her lover, the Baron. It is the gift these men have given her: The ability to mourn what she has lost or never found. It is the one gift they cannot take back. Without it, she would have been unable to understand happiness. Certainly the men cannot.

“The Earrings of Madame de...,” directed in 1953 by Max Ophuls, is one of the most mannered and contrived love movies ever filmed. It glitters and dazzles, and beneath the artifice it creates a heart, and breaks it. The film is famous for its elaborate camera movements, its graceful style, its sets, its costumes and of course its jewelry. It stars Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer and Vittorio De Sica, who effortlessly embody elegance. It could have been a mannered trifle. We sit in admiration of Ophuls' visual display, so fluid and intricate. Then to our surprise we find ourselves caring.

The story takes place in Vienna a century or so ago. The General (Boyer) has married late, and well, to Louisa (Darrieux), a great beauty. He gives her expensive diamond earrings as a wedding present. As the film opens, Madame is desperately in debt, and rummaging among her possessions for something to sell. The camera follows her in an unbroken shot as she looks through dresses, furs, jewelry, and finally settles on the earrings, which she never liked anyway. “What will you tell your husband?” asks her servant. She will tell him that she lost them.

She trusts the discretion of Remy the jeweler. She should not. Remy, who originally sold the earrings to the General, tells him the whole story. The General buys back the earrings as a farewell present to his mistress, who is leaving him and going to Constantinople. Certainly the wife will never see them again, and there is poetic justice involved.

The mistress sells the earrings to finance her gambling. The Baron Donati (De Sica) buys them. In his travels he encounters the Countess Louisa, falls in love, courts her, and gives her the earrings. She is startled to see them, but intuits how they came into the Baron's hands. How to explain their reappearance to the General? In his presence, she goes through the motions of “finding” them. The General knows this is a falsehood, and the whole tissue of deceptions unravels, even though the jewels are bought and sold two more times. (There is always a laugh when the jeweler turns up in the General's office for “our usual transaction”).

Standing back a little from the comings and goings of the earrings, which is the stuff of farce, the movie begins to look more closely at Louisa (whose husband's name is never given, so that she is always vaguely the “Countess de...”). She and her husband live in a society where love affairs are more or less expected; “your suitors get on my nerves,” the General fusses as they leave a party. If they do not know specifically who their spouse is flirting with, they know generally. But there is a code in such affairs, and the code permits sex, but not love. The General confronts the Baron with his knowledge of the earrings. (“Constantinople?” “Yes.”) The General tells him, “It is incompatible with your dignity, and mine, for my wife to accept a gift of such value from you.”

The General's instinct is sound. The Countess has indeed fallen in love. The Baron thought that he had, too. Their tragedy is that the intensity of her love carries her outside the rules, while the Baron remains safely in-bounds.

The scene where they fall in love shows Ophuls' mastery. He likes to show his characters surrounded by, even drowning in, their milieu. Interior spaces are crowded with possessions. Their bodies are adorned with gowns, uniforms, jewelry, decorations. Ophuls likes to shoot past foreground objects, or through windows, to show the characters contained by possessions. But in the key love scene, a montage involving several nights of dancing, the circling couple is gradually left all alone.

The Baron and the Countess are at a resort. On the dance floor, they observe it has been three weeks since they danced together--two days--one day--and then they are dancing still and no time has passed. The dialogue and costumes indicate the time transitions, but the music plays without interruption, as do their unbroken movements. They dance and dance, in love. An admiral's wife whispers: “They're seen everywhere--because they can't meet anywhere.” On the last night, one orchestra member after another packs up and goes home. A servant extinguishes the candles. Finally a black dropcloth is thrown over the harp, and the camera moves in until the screen is black and the dance is over. The economy of storytelling here--a courtship all told in a dance--resembles the famous montage in “Citizen Kane” where a marriage dissolves in a series of breakfasts.

The discovery of a possession in the wrong place at the wrong time is an ancient trick in fiction, from Desdemona's handkerchief to Henry James' Golden Bowl to the brooch that should not be around Judy's neck in “Vertigo.” What is interesting in “Madame de...” is the way the value of the earrings changes in relationship to their meaning. At the start Madame Louisa wants only to sell them. Then, when they are a gift from her lover, they become invaluable. The General wants to buy them back once, twice, but finally is reduced to telling the jeweler, “Stay away from me with those infernal earrings!” An expensive bauble, intended to symbolize love, becomes an annoyance and a danger when it finally does represent it.

For Louisa, the earrings teach a lesson. She is no more morally to blame than her husband or her lover, if only adultery is at stake. But if the General's honor is the question--if being gossiped about by the silly admiral's wife is the result--then she is to blame. Certainly the Baron understands this, and withdraws, his love suddenly upstaged by his regard for his own reputation. The final meeting between the two men is brought about, curiously, by the General's discovery that hedoeshave real feelings for his wife.

Max Ophuls (1902-1957) was a German who made films in Germany, Hollywood and France. His career was used by the critic Andrew Sarris as a foundation-stone of his auteur theory. Sarris famously advised moviegoers to value thehowof a movie more than thewhat. The story and message are not as important, he said, as the style and art. In Ophuls, he had a good test case, because Ophuls is seemingly the director most obsessed with surfaces, with the visual look, with elaborate camera movements. He was dismissed by many as nothing more than a fancy stylist, and it took Sarris (and the French auteurists) to show what a master he was.

His films are one of the great pleasures of the cinema. "Madame de..." is equaled by “La Ronde” (1950) and "Lola Montes" (1955) as movies whose surfaces are a voluptuous pleasure to watch, regardless of whether you choose to plunge into their depths. The long, impossibly complex opening shot of “La Ronde,” with the narrator introducing us to the story and even singing a little song, is one of the treasures of the movies. And who else has such romantic boldness that he will show Louisa writing her Baron day after day, with no letter back, and then have him tell her when they finally meet: “I always answered your letters, my love--but I lacked the courage to mail them.” And then to show his unmailed letters torn into bits and flung into the air to become snow.

- Roger Ebert

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Mar 19 Mon

Badlands

Dramatization of the Starkweather-Fugate killing spree of the 1950s, in which a teenage girl and her twenty-something boyfriend slaughtered her entire family and several others in the Dakota badlands.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Mar 20 Tue

Days of Heaven

In 1910, a Chicago steel worker accidentally kills his supervisor and flees to the Texas panhandle with his girlfriend and little sister to work harvesting wheat in the fields of a stoic farmer. A love triangle, a swarm of locusts, a hellish fire—Malick captures it all with dreamlike authenticity, creating at once a timeless American idyll and a gritty evocation of turn-of-the-century labor.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Mar 21 Wed

The Thin Red Line

Based on the graphic novel by James Jones, The Thin Red Line tells the story of a group of men, an Army Rifle company called C-for-Charlie, who change, suffer, and ultimately make essential discoveries about themselves during the fierce World War II battle of Guadalcanal. It follows their journey, from the surprise of an unopposed landing, through the bloody and exhausting battles that follow, to the ultimate departure of those who survived. A powerful frontline cast - including Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson and George Clooney - explodes into action in this hauntingly realistic view of military and moral chaos in the Pacific during World War II.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Mar 22 Thu

The New World

A drama about explorer John Smith and the clash between Native Americans and English settlers in the 17th century.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Mar 23 Fri

The Tree of Life

Acclaimed filmmaker Terrence Malick (THE THIN RED LINE, BADLANDS) brings this story of a Midwestern family in the 1950s and the journey of the eldest son through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years. Dramatic, baffling, beautiful, and brilliant. A visual feast that dares to juxtapose one families tragedy against the entire creation of the cosmos.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Apr 02 Mon

Mamma Roma

After many years working in the streets of Roma, the middle-age whore Mamma Roma (Anna Magnani) saves money to buy an upper class apartment, a fruit stand and retires from the prostitution. She brings her teenage son Ettore (Ettore Garofolo), who was raised alone in the country, to live with her, and Ettore becomes her pride and joy. However, the boy that does not want to study or work, joins to idle friends, has a crush on a bitch, and Mamma Roma uses her best but limited efforts to straight Ettore and make him an honest man. However, her past haunts her with tragic consequences.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Apr 10 Tue

The Dead Mountaineer's Hotel

A classic of Estonian cinema, this film is based on one of the brothers’ most surprising and entertaining novels, which finds them combining science fiction tropes with the structure and trappings of the detective novel. Policeman Peter Glebsky receives an anonymous call from the Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel in the Alps and soon travels there himself. Soon an avalanche has cut the hotel and its bizarre group of guests off from the rest of the world, and odd things start to happen. Glebsky takes up his investigation, but his rather inflexible methods shed little light on the strange goings-on. Glebsky, who subscribes to the idea of law and order, and the measurability of all things, finds himself facing a world of the supernatural and the indefinable.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Apr 18 Wed

Car Wash

This overlooked film by Michael Schultz, who was inducted in the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1991, deals with the exploits of a close-knit group of multiracial employees and features cameos by Richard Pryor and The Pointer Sisters.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Apr 25 Wed

Big Time

If you are a Tom Waits fan, Big Time is a treat. Big Time encompasses a chunk of Waits' career that many fans consider seminal. While the earlier, smoother Waits sounded like a poetic, slithery lounge lizard, this Waits became more of a stomping, wheezing, snorting lunatic. Indeed, there's something exciting about the way he snakes his grumbled and screeched words in and around the stomping, pounding beats. When you can catch a few lyrics here and there, they're unfailingly brilliant bits of beautiful poetry, like "the moon left teeth marks across the sky." But Big Time is no mere concert movie. Waits is such a compelling performer, both as an actor and as a musician, he's imminently watchable no matter what he's doing. The movie's big finale is a blowout rendition of perhaps Waits' most beautiful song, "Innocent When You Dream," only he sings it in a bathtub (he dramatically parts the shower curtain at the beginning of the song and closes it again at the end). I think everyone can agree that Big Time is one hell of a show. Source: Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Apr 26 Thu

Dune

In the year 10,191, the world is at war for control of the desert planet Dune – the only place where the time-travel substance 'Spice' can be found. But when one leader gives up control, it's only so he can stage a coup with some unsavory characters.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

2018 Apr 27 Fri

Naked Lunch

After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally murders his wife and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in an Islamic port town in Africa.

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At Muenzinger Auditorium

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