CONTEMPT (LE MEPRIS) – Review by Diane Carson

Iconic French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard needs no introduction, but reminders of his cinematic genius are delightful and welcome. Such is the case with the 4K restoration of his 1963 Contempt/Le Mépris, charting the unraveling of an already fragile marriage as screenwriter Paul and wife Camille circle each other guardedly, engaging and retreating. Now accessible in it’s new 4K restoration, this is a good to become reacquainted with Godard in this legendary film that he described as “about a woman, a man, Italy, and cinema.”

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PANDORA’S BOX – Review by Diane Carson

In the late 1920s, German director Georg Wilhelm Pabst, known as G.W. Pabst, undertook an adaptation of playwright Frank Wedekind’s well-known Pandora’s Box. Previously presented for theater and film, Pabst worked to reinterpret the material for his 1929 release, not without innumerable problems in casting, shooting, and exhibition. Nevertheless, Pabst’s Pandora’s Box now ranks as a silent film masterpiece.

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A CONFUCIAN CONFUSION (4K Restoration) – Review by Diane Carson

Set in modern Taipei, a quote from Confucius early in the film, “Hurt no one but always cover your back,” should guide the multiple characters involved in a failing advertising business. Unfortunately, it becomes apparent that only the second half of Confucius’ advice registers for ten young, misguided men and women searching for authentic identity through hypocrisy, dissembling, distrust of others, and betrayal. Over three days, they shift allegiances and struggle for support, though not reciprocating any on hand, all the while pursuing empty promises of happiness through financial success and materialistic modernity.

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MAHJONG (4K Restoration) – Review by Diane Carson

Mahjong captures the interactions among a diverse group of combative frustrated, and frustrating young individuals who, to borrow a cliché, can’t see the forest for the trees. Set in modern Taipei, the film begins with titles announcing that entrepreneurial Winston Chen, who has amassed billions in debt despite a lucrative kindergarten franchise, hides from gangsters who believe kidnapping his son will drive their prey into the open. Despite that setup, Mahjong’s first hour plus, rather like the game mahjong, requires patience for any payoff. The necessary indulgence here is accepting thoroughly sexist banter among young men and subservient, needy women, the plot eventually leading to caricatured mobsters.

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HEROIC TIMES – Review by Diane Carson

Heroic Times animates the Hungarian Toldi trilogy. Released for the first time in the U.S., in a 4K restoration, Hungarian writer/director József Gémes’ 1983 Heroic Times brings a folklore legend to life. Gémes chose oil painting for his gorgeous, animated film, an adaptation of János Arany’s nineteenth century poem trilogy celebrating folklore hero Miklós Toldi, a fourteenth century nobleman and warrior serving Hungarian King Louis the Great.

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