The Prince & Me

A farm girl in premed studies (Julia Stiles) falls in love with the prince of Denmark (Luke Mably), who’s hiding out at her university after a long spell of goofing off, shortly before he’s expected to assume the throne. I dreaded the worst after seeing the trailer, but Martha Coolidge directs as if the characters were believable human beingsat least until the end, when Hollywood and fairy-tale conventions have to triumph over humanity and common sense. James Fox and Miranda Richardson play the prince’s parents. PG, 111 min. (JR)

Published on 26 Mar 2004 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Piccadilly

This remarkable British silent (1929) is special in many ways. Directed by German master E.A. Dupont, with lavish sets and luscious cinematography by two of his compatriots, Alfred Junge and Werner Brandes, it charts the erotic hold of a Chinese beauty (Anna May Wong) over the owner of a palatial London nightclub (Jameson Thomas). He fires her as a dishwasher for distracting coworkers with her tabletop dancing, then hires her back as a featured performer, to the consternation of his mistress (Gilda Gray). Scripted by Zola-inspired novelist Arnold Bennett, with significant roles played by Cyril Ritchard and Charles Laughton, this is far ahead of its time in its treatment of both race and gender. Dupont has an original way of employing camera movement to suggest erotic chemistry between characters, and Wong, who even provoked a rave notice from Walter Benjamin, is as memorable and confident as Louise Brooks was in the films of G.W. Pabst, made around the same time. 92 min. (JR)

Published on 26 Mar 2004 in Featured Texts, by admin

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The Subjective Landscape: Works By Alfred Guzzetti

No one seems to know how to filmand thereby appreciatethe surface of a pond, lake, river, or ocean quite like Alfred Guzzetti, a Cambridge-based experimental-documentary filmmaker who will present eight of his short works here. I’m tempted to call these films and videos meditative, because they all reflect on nature and various aspects of everyday life: a three-way intersection in Calcutta Intersection; motorists and cityscapes in The Tower of Industrial Life; the landscape, people, and weather of China in Under the Rain; the trees in Guzzetti’s backyard over many seasons in Chronological Order. But often intruding on this gaze are texts running across the screen that seem to carry with them all the complications of civilization. The shorts, made between 1978 and 2004, total 82 minutes. (JR)

Published on 26 Mar 2004 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Patriot Acts

The Bush administration’s heartless and xenophobic new immigration policies, which often imply that we have more to fear from ordinary Muslims than from people like Timothy McVeigh, have had real human consequences, and this video documentary by Sree Nallamothu examines just a couple of cases. Focusing on the routine harassment of two north-side mena dancer and a father who came to the U.S. seeking medical care for his two blind childrenNallamothu shows how easily government resources can be wasted and innocent lives blighted once nationality and ethnicity are automatically treated with suspicion. 60 min. (JR)

Published on 26 Mar 2004 in Featured Texts, by admin

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