Series boasting films both old and new continue this week at the Riverview, the Trylon and the Walker, but one of the most exciting new additions to the Twin Cities film scene this week is a movie that’s older than your great-grandmother. Read on.
Monday, May 5: The Trouble With Harry (Riverview Theater)
Sometimes, it’s the small lessons that leave the biggest mark. While in film class and discussing the career of Alfred Hitchcock, my professor seemingly rhetorically asked, “You know what the trouble with Harry was, right? … It’s that he’s dead.” Such was what I understood as my professor’s deadpan underwhelmed dismissal of the film (but which I only recently discovered came almost directly from the movie’s preview, as shown below) that the movie has paradoxically endured as one of the most random, oddball misfits in a mostly very careful career. More so than almost any other film in this golden era, The Trouble with Harry feels like an expanded episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” Any Hitchcock series that programs it gets points for creativity, in my book, so kudos to those at Take-Up Productions behind its inclusion.
Monday, May 5 and ongoing: Man with a Movie Camera (Walker Art Center)
Speaking of Hitchcock, the only thing that floored people more than his Vertigo finally topping Citizen Kane as the new “best. film. ever.” in the 2012 Sight and Sound critics’ poll was the ascension of Dziga Vertov’s downright revolutionary (and unquestionably avant-garde) 1929 blitz Man with a Movie Camera into the overall top 10, effectively usurping the cachet usually held in these polls by fellow Russian montage theorist Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin). It’s possible our rocky transition from analog to digital is one of the main reasons for the increased relevance of this early medium-defining document. Maybe it’s just that it’s a fantastic, complex, whirling dervish of theory. In any case, you can catch it on display for the next few months at the Walker. Try not to get whiplash.
Thursday, May 8: Rebel Without a Cause (Heights Theater)
Without a doubt the most famous thing both James Dean and director Nicholas Ray were ever attached to, Rebel Without a Cause is far more than the sum of its ’50s clichés, swiped from Grease and Paula Abdul alike. An earnest plea on behalf of misfits and outcasts, the film short-circuits the fad for juvenile delinquency exploitation by suggesting, well ahead of this idea’s time, the legitimacy of alternate family units. Plus, um, James Dean!
Friday, May 9 & Saturday, May 10: Next Look (Walker Art Center)
The second weekend of Next Look screenings brings another pair of Sundance-certified dramas to the Twin Cities for their premiere screenings here. I discussed the series with the Walker’s curator Sheryl Mousley, and you can read the full conversation here.
Friday, May 9 through Thursday, May 15: Godzilla(St. Anthony Main Theater)
I’m not sure whether booking the original Godzilla at St. Anthony Main on the eve of the latest multi-hundred-million-dollar remakes hitting the multiplex counts as smart programming or even smarter counterprogramming. On the one hand, sure, it’s the original. The genesis of the genre. On the other hand, behold the personality to be found within the film’s lo-fi miniatures-and-rubber-suits, against the new movie’s CGI onslaught.