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uw cinematheque fall 2014 madison wisconsin 2

UPDATED: According to a tweet from Cap Times’ Rob Thomas, William Friedkin will no longer make an appearance. “Bummer” is right.

See? The wait was worth it. In my head, that’s how Cinematheque Director Jim Healy opens his introduction to Night Moves when it plays September 5, a day that will mark the long-awaited Digital Cinema Package (DCP) upgrade to 4070 Vilas Hall. A packed audience jumps to its collective feet to meet the announcement with applause and raucous cheers as a newly-installed spotlight pans down to a suddenly-tuxedoed Healy. Man’s reach… exceeds his imagination!

Again, all in my head. But I can’t see anyone complaining here. After a year of asking “Cinemathequers” for donations — and holding a Nosferatu the Vampyre fundraiser somewhere in the middle — DCP gives Cinematheque “access to a greater number of titles from throughout international film history” according to a press release from last Friday. Really, if it just meant premiering arthouse pictures the likes of Madison wouldn’t otherwise see, we’re already winners.

Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves will kick off Cinematheque’s fall calendar (formally released earlier today) and makes for yet another Madison area exclusive. It’s also one of several premiere presentations this autumn. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (Oct. 24) is a hypnotic and divisive mystery about a missing woman that doubles as a front-runner for poster of the year. The “Premiere Showcase” also includes Vietnam Vet documentary Stray Dog (introduced by director Debra Granik herself on Sept. 28), wunderkind Desiree Akhavan’s New Yorker dramedy Appropriate Behavior (Nov. 21) and, most notably, the final film of the late Alain Resnais, Life of Riley (Dec. 5).

Cinematheque just wrapped their summer programming last Saturday by following an area premiere of Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself with Robert Hamer’s delightfully sociopathic Kind Hearts and Coronets, and the latter screening was met with quiet gasps of delight before the show even started. That’s due to Healy’s announcement that the fall calendar would feature a spiritual continuation of Hamer’s black comedy in “Alec Guinness: Centennial for a Comic Genius.” As a showcase for Guinness, the series props up some of the actor’s best known comedies like The Lavender Hill Mob (Sept. 6) and The Ladykillers (Sept. 27). Cinematheque will also dust off overlooked fare in The Captain’s Paradise (Sept. 13) and Last Holiday (Sept. 6), where Guinness’ terminally ill salesman spends all he’s got in the bank.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Nov. 22), one of Powell and Pressburger’s best films — in addition to being one of the greatest films ever made — is an easy standout in “Remembering ‘The Great War,'” a series that already deserves more of your attention. These Saturday pictures use an international mode to recollect World War I on top of their privileging of pre-Classical Hollywood cinema. Inarguably, the meat of the series is a Saturday double-feature of J’accuse from 1919 (!) with synchronized accompaniment and a 35mm print of King Vidor’s The Big Parade on loan from Jim Healy’s old digs at New York’s George Eastman house. Whatever you were doing on November 15 just became irrelevant.

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“More Hitchcock!” is an emphatic continuation of last spring’s Sunday series that went over like gangbusters at the Chazen Art Museum. The celluloid-centric program includes the Soviet-era Paul Newman/Julie Andrews vehicle Torn Curtain (Nov. 2), recent Criterion re-release Foreign Correspondent (Nov. 9), as well as a showcase of little-seen World War II propaganda and footage from the never-made Kaleidoscope, appropriately titled “Rare Hitchcock!” (Nov. 16). At this rate, let’s all act surprised when the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents February Bender” is announced next spring.

A “final cut” of Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man on Halloween caps off Cinematheque’s macabre October selections and another “Marquee Monday” partnership with WUD Film. But the lede here is William Friedkin. Following September screenings in The French Connection (Sept. 12), The Brink’s Job (Sept. 19), and To Live and Die in L.A. (Sept. 26), Friedkin will appear at The Marquee in person to present an extended cut of The Exorcist (Oct. 8) and his 1977 thriller Sorcerer (Oct. 9), which seems to be in the midst of its own renaissance this year.

Two “2x” miniseries expand on creative partnerships between Holy Motors’ director Leos Carax/star Denis Lavant and Philippe de Broca/captain of cool Jean-Paul Belmondo, while a trio of David Cronenberg pictures offer Chazen audiences the chance to see Dead Ringers (Sept. 25), Videodrome (Oct. 23), and the oft-forgotten Existenz (Nov. 20) on projected celluloid.

The calendar comes to a close with a presentation of Vincente Minnelli’s voluminous Christmas musical Meet Me in St. Louis (Dec. 12), introduced by UW Communication Arts Department Director Lea Jacobs and, as always, a showcase of student projects on the following Saturday (Dec. 13).

  • UW Cinematheque’s fall calendar kicks off on September 5 with Night Moves at 7:00p in the newly refurbished 4070 Vilas Hall. All screenings, unless otherwise noted, are FREE. Visit for the entire schedule.