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Here are my choices for the best Twin Cities screenings for cinephiles this week:
Monday, May 20: Rope (Riverview Theater)
This year’s Alfred Hitchcock festival concludes with the movie I’m convinced is his most prominent stealth cult favorite. Maybe it’s Hitch’s gimmick, shooting the entire movie in what appears to be one single unbroken take (masked ingeniously at reel changes by zooms into clothing or sly pans) and simulating a New York sunset on a soundstage. Or maybe it’s the scarcely veiled gay-suggestive take on the Leopold-Loeb murder case that surprises modern audiences; Hitchcock’s necessarily coded but still unmistakable candor dealing with the subject extended to the collaborators he chose — John Dall and Farley Granger (playing the killer lovers) and screenwriter Arthur Laurents were all gay. Whatever the reason, Rope stands as one of the few Hitchcock movies under-heralded enough to truly surprise everyone who comes to it anew.
Wednesday, May 22: Cleopatra (Landmark Edina)
The troubles that have reportedly been plaguing some of this summer’s releases like World War Z and The Lone Ranger? Mere child’s play. Among productions run amok, 20th Century Fox’s Cleopatra remains without peer. Costing the equivalent of the GNP of pretty much every country in the world for two full years, adjusted for inflation, Cleopatra was a money pit that sucked the studio’s coffers dry while Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s torrid affair kept every tabloid in the nation afloat. It ruined nearly everyone’s reputation, earned a slew of Oscar nominations that were no doubt achieved via Fox executives rounding up every employee’s ballot, and somehow narrowly managed not to bankrupt the state of California. Yes, I’m exaggerating a tad, but this is the sort of movie that sells nothing if not sheer, unadulterated embellishment.
Friday, May 24 through Sunday, May 26: The Gang’s All Here (Trylon Microcinema)
Four words: You’ve gotta see this.
Friday, May 24 through Sunday, May 26: Something in the Air (St. Anthony Main Theater)
Not many know this, but every French filmmaker is actually legally required to film their version of the youth uprisings late ’60s, specifically surrounding the Sorbonne. Oliver Assayas’s Something in the Air — in which an 18-year-old painter and his crew try to kickstart some of that spring fever to their own circle — is his fulfillment of that obligation.
Sunday, May 26: The Headless Woman (Walker Art Center)
Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel secured her place among the foremost directors of this generation with her rapturously received 2008 film The Headless Woman, which is just now getting its Twin Cities premiere at the Walker. With touches of John Cassavetes’ Opening Night and a palpable feminist viewpoint, Headless Woman is a fascinating puzzle box.