In 1940, Alfred Hitchcock’s psycho thriller Rebecca won an Oscar for Best Picture. Not bad for his first American film. This Gothic suspense opens with a fantastical sequence: a moon hidden beneath clouds, dissolving into a mansion’s gate, followed by a long take panning across a foggy path.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (1940)
In 1940, Alfred Hitchcock’s psycho thriller Rebecca won an Oscar for Best Picture. Not bad for his first American film.
This Gothic suspense opens with a fantastical sequence: a moon hidden beneath clouds, dissolving into a mansion’s gate, followed by a long take panning across a foggy path. These cuts directly correlate to the off-screen voiceover, creating a sense of deja vu that lingers throughout the film.
The plot is simple, but rich in emotion. A widower, Maxim de Winter, remarries, and his new wife is taunted by memories of his first wife, who was named Rebecca. This is played out in weird scenarios, like when the housekeeper preserves Rebecca’s old room, shamelessly crushing Mrs. De Winter’s spirit, which is one of the main themes of the movie.
Although Hitchcock shrugged somewhat at this Oscar-winning film—telling renowned director and film critic Francois Truffaut, in the book Hitchcock, that Rebecca lacked humor—it’s clear the film is wholly crafted by Hitchcock the auteur.
Friday, Aug. 9, and Saturday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 11, at 3 p.m.
Directed by Wes Anderson (1998)
This is one of those gauche ’90s movies starting with a neurotic character replete with inappropriate lasciviousness and ending with some light-hearted, hopeful message.
This comedy’s central character is extracurricular-activity junkie Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), the worst student at Rushmore Academy. French Club president, founder of the astronomy society, captain of the debate team, and on and on—Fischer is involved in almost all the campus clubs. But that doesn’t mean he’s excluded from expulsion.
At first, Fischer is a listless genius. But he ends up getting inspired to save the Latin Club when he meets teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) at Rushmore. Their entire friendship is uncomfortable since Fischer, a 15-year-old student, falls in love with Miss Cross.
Fischer ends up in public high school and builds an $8 million aquarium to impress Miss Cross, but she doesn’t go to the opening. She eventually comes around when Fischer directs a pyrotechnic play about what looks like Vietnam. The film concludes hopefully by tying up all the loose ends and dispelling all the conflicts among the characters, but without an end in sight.
If you like uncouth dialogue, inappropriately tense moments and lighthearted yet vague resolution, see this movie.
Friday, Aug. 16, and Saturday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 17 at 3 p.m.
3. Days of Heaven
Directed by Terrence Malick (1978)
Classified as a romantic drama, the story of Days of Heaven is kind of slow and drawn out. The tone is bleak and the dim lighting makes it feel even more ominous.
The art-house cinema scenes, like the surreal close-ups of locusts eating locusts, make it easy to see why Days of Heaven won an Oscar for Best Cinematography in 1979. It also won Terrence Malick the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival that year.
The movie is depressing, but it has clean aesthetics and is visually stunning. The story is tragic, and it ends badly—something that should happen more in movies.
Friday, Aug. 23, and Saturday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 25, at 3 p.m.
Directed by Jim Henson (1986)
Almost anyone who saw Labyrinth as a kid went through a goth phase at some point later in life. The costumes are something Christian Death founder Rozz Williams would’ve worn.
Labyrinth’s cast is mostly underworld Muppets—it was the second collaboration between Jim Henson and Brian Froud, who also made The Dark Crystal. It’s also the last film Henson directed.
Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) prays that the goblin king, Jareth (David Bowie), will take away her infant brother, Toby, whom she is unhappily babysitting. Jareth, who is both diabolical and strangely romantic, kidnaps Toby and demands that Sarah go through his labyrinth if she wants him back, but he also tries to enchant her with a spell to make her stay.
This is totally the quintessential “be careful for what you wish for” story, and oddly moralistic.
Typically, goblins create problems along the way. Just because the costumes, props and cinematography are complex doesn’t mean the plot and characters have to be too.
The bottom line is that this movie is fun to watch. And even though Bowie is in it, some scenes are kind of corny and leave you feeling like a total dork.
Friday, Aug. 30, and Saturday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sep. 1, at 3 p.m.