A FILM BY: Sydney Pollack
WRITTEN BY: Daniel Taradash, David Rayfiel
STARRING: Burt Lancaster, Peter Falk, Bruce Dern, Astrid Heeren, Patrick O'Neal
Somewhere in Belgium. 1944. A weary, ragtag group of American soldiers on the road to oblivion stumble across a castle in a forest. Lead by the one-eyed Major Falconer, portrayed with laconic bravado by the one and only Burt Lancaster, the walking wounded soldiers occupy the keep with plans to "sit out the rest of the war." Surrounded by countless irreplaceable works of art, including the aristocratic Count's beautiful niece, the men retreat into a routine of minor vandalism, military lectures, and regular visits to the nearby brothel. The mundane party is soon crashed by the German army, who have made plans to push through the area and smash the American lines. And the only thing standing in their way are a writer, a baker, a cowboy, an Indian, a dove, and a falcon on the battlements of the castle near the crossroads of the Ardennes. Will the living dead American soldiers remain non-combatants? Or will they re-enlist and hold until the last man risking the destruction of the castle and all its priceless objects? A surreal, darkly comic allegory produced during the height of the Vietnam War, CASTLE KEEP questions whether winning at all costs is worth the price in the end.
Production Year: 1969
Country of Origin: United States
Run Time: 107 mins
Germany Pale Mother
A FILM BY: Helma Sanders-Brahms
WRITTEN BY: Helma Sanders-Brahms
STARRING: Eva Mattes, Ernst Jacobi, Elisabeth Stepanek, Angelika Thomas
When Helma Sanders-Brahms' GERMANY PALE MOTHER--taking it's title from a poem written by Bertolt Brecht--premiered at the February 1980 Berlin Film Festival, the film sparked lasting critical controversy. Praise for Sanders-Brahms' arresting images of a German mother and daughter enmeshed in larger histories of fascism and war, or for Eva Mattes' compelling performance as the film's protagonist (she won best actress for the role at the 1983 Munich Film Festival), sat alongside widespread hostility to the film's supposed sentimentalism.
This Director's Cut confirms Sanders-Brahms as a brilliant cineaste with a keen eye for the gender dimensions of German historical memory. GERMANY PALE MOTHER reconstructs in fictional narrative the very personal story of Sanders-Brahms' mother Lene (Eva Mattes). The film is narrated in voiceover by Sanders-Brahms herself, who charts shifting memories of her mother through three historical sections which are also stages in an unfolding mother-daughter dynamic. The narrative moves from Anna's fantasies of her parents' early marriage in the first years of the Third Reich, through memories of an intimate wartime mother-daughter bond, to that bond's unravelling in the domestic warfare triggered at the level of personal memory by Hans' return from war, and, historically, by the postwar restoration of the nuclear family as social norm. - BFI
Production Year: 1980
Country of Origin: Germany
Run Time: 149 mins
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
A FILM BY: Nagisa Ôshima
WRITTEN BY: Paul Mayersberg, Nagisa Ôshima
STARRING: David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Takeshi Kitano
**Free Admission for Music Box Theatre Members**
At a prisoner of war camp in the Pacific, Japanese guards and allied prisoners struggle with and against one another to maintain dignity, sanity, and physical survival under brutal conditions. The precarious balance of life in the camp is challenged by the arrival of Major Jack Celliers (David Bowie in a gloriously angelic role), a defiant British officer whose rebellious spirit threatens to ignite the tense atmosphere like a powder keg. Cultures, classes, and identities collide as a seductive battle of wills unfolds between Celliers and the camp commandant, Captain Yonoi (played by the film's composer Ryuichi Sakamoto). With simmering performances (including a young Takeshi Kitano as a mercurial Sergeant), stunning images, and a transcendent film score, director Nagisa Oshima crafts a hauntingly beautiful testament to the power of the human condition in resistance, inviting us to ponder what we might gain from crossing the boundaries that define hostility with open hearts instead of closed fists.
Production Year: 1983
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Run Time: 123 mins
The Thin Red Line
A FILM BY: Terrence Malick
WRITTEN BY: Terrence Malick
STARRING: Adrien Brody, Nick Nolte, Jim Caviezel, John Cusack, George Clooney, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson , John Travolta, Elias Koteas, John C. Reilly
"What's this war in the heart of nature?" An unknown soldier asks this question in the opening of Terrence Malick's rapturous depiction of the battle for Guadalcanal Island during the Pacific campaign of WW2. While a historian might provide textbook responses about strategic importance or national security, Malick's film chooses to grapple with this problem along a far more philosophically and spiritually complex approach. Rather than a contextualization of why we fight, Malick takes us deep into the physical, emotional, and psychological traumas of combat that often leave more questions than answers after the smoke has cleared and the casualties have been tallied. Through a symphony of voices, American, Japanese, and those of the island's natives, audiences will journey to the lines that divide us and behold the violence that results when they are shattered in the maelstrom of war. Featuring a tremendous ensemble cast, lush cinematography, and a richly layered construction, THE THIN RED LINE is a towering work that stands defiant against conventional narratives of war cinema.
Production Year: 1998
Country of Origin: United States
Run Time: 170 mins