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Best Revivals

Old movies on big screens rule

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All The President's Men (Byham Theater Summer Film Series). Not to wax nostalgic, but '70s Hollywood cinema was quite often better than a sharp stick in the eye. Alan J. Pakula's 1976 Watergate drama is smart, entertaining and just paranoid enough to sting. Also maybe the best newspapering movie ever.

 

Au Hasard Balthazar (Harris Theater). Robert Bresson is widely regarded as one of the world's great filmmakers; this first local screening of his work in years was a richly rewarding experience. Originally released in 1966, Balthazar is a naturalistic portrait of a mule that gradually takes on fabulous, even spiritual, overtones.

 

The Battle of Algiers (Regent Square Theater). Gillo Pontecorvo's 1965 docudrama about France's (then quite recent) war of urban occupation is fascinatingly detailed, politically savvy and sympathetic without taking sides -- crackling good cinema.

 

Hiroshima, Mon Amour (Regent Square Sunday series). It's a granddaddy of the modern art film, but Alain Resnais' 1959 study of a cross-cultural romance in the wake of World War II still has the power to entrance.

 

I Vitelloni (Regent Square Theater). Seldom screened and newly restored, Fellini's 1953 masterpiece about idle young men.

 

Soy Cuba (Melwood Screening Room). Embargoed for years stateside, cult favorite I Am Cuba (1964) screened during a series of Cuban films curated by Bill Judson. Made by Soviet director Mikheil Kalatozishvili at a peak of the Cold War, it's propaganda of the highest order and cinematic bravado on a comparable plane. The kino-eye swoops, floats and dives: You will believe a camera can fly.

 

Selective Service System (Jefferson Presents ... screening series). Uncle Sam wants you ... to put a bullet through your foot. So a young man does in Warren Haack's stone-cold 13-minute verité documentary from 1970, a painfully drawn-out yet powerfully terse short presented during an evening of anti-war films guest-curated by Orgone Cinema's Greg Pierce.

 

Sunrise (Three Rivers Film Festival). Pittsburgh's annual (too infrequent!) fix of silent classics with live music featured a dazzling new print of F.W. Murnau's 1927 masterpiece accompanied by keyboardist Philip Carli. Murnau breaks romantic obsession into shards of light, then reassembles it into a mosaic of redemption.

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