Friday, April 19, 2024

Film Ahead is a weekly column highlighting special events and repertory programming for the discerning Camberville filmgoer. It also includes capsule reviews of films that are not feature reviewed. 


Local focus

The DocYard is screening “El Father Plays Himself,” a film-within-a-film in which a daughter-in-law chronicles a father and son trying to make a movie together and how the work and the family fall apart. Director Mo Scarpelli will be live and in person Monday at The Brattle.

Also at The Brattle is “More of the Best of 2021,” with Jeymes Samuel’s stylish revisionist western “The Harder they Fall” starring Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, LaKeith Stanfield and Regina King, delivering a knockout turn. Wednesday and Thursday, the theater plays tribute to actor, groundbreaker and civil rights activist Sydney Poitier, who died this year, with three films: “The Defiant Ones” (1958), co-starring Tony Curtis as the white convict he’s shackled to; Poitier’s big-screen debut, “No Way Out” (1950), in which he plays a black doctor treating two racists; and (on Thursday) Richard Brooks’ “The Blackboard Jungle” (1955). The Poitier series continues throughout the month of March.

Later in the week, The Brattle launches a retrospective of Hungarian New Wave filmmaker Márta Mészáros, whose body of work in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s has been restored. This week it’s the coming-of-age tale “Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls” (1970) on Friday and Sunday and Mészáros’ 1968 debut, “The Girl” on Friday and Saturday. Also showing Saturday is Mészáros’ autobiographical diary trilogy, “Diary for My Children” (1984), “Diary for My Lovers” (1987) and “Diary for My Father and Mother” (1990).

Note: The Brattle’s Covid policy requires proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result for admittance.


The Somerville Theater keeps rolling along with its John Travolta-Nicolas Cage pairing series “Face/Off.” This Tuesday it’s Alan Parker’s “Birdy’ (1984) with a young Nic Cage and Mathew Modine as Vietnam vets, one of then emotionally unstable (Modine) with the other (Cage) out to guard his sanity. On the J.T. side of things it’s the dark 1977 disco hit, “Saturday Night Live.” Much will be said about Travolta’s moves on the dance floor and the indelible Bee Gees soundtrack, but the real engine of this modern classic is Karen Lynn Gorney as Travolta’s underappreciated dance partner.

Cambridge writer Tom Meek’s reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in WBUR’s The ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.