1980, Paramount, 124 min, Dir: David Lynch

Based on two books about the real-life Elephant Man, John Merrick, director David Lynch recounts this severely deformed man’s perilous life in Victorian England in breathtaking black-and-white. Sir Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) rescues Merrick from a circus freak show where he is assumed to be retarded, takes him to a hospital for tests and discovers that Merrick, in fact, has great intellect and capacity for emotion. John Hurt’s ability to project Merrick’s humanity earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, along with the film’s seven other nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. Lynch’s use of costumes, makeup, Freddie Francis’ cinematography and John Morris’ score remain commendably understated, allowing the sadness of the film to avoid sentimentalism. With Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller. "ELEPHANT MAN has the power and some of the dream logic of a silent film, yet there are also wrenching, pulsating sounds -the hissing steam and the pounding of the start of the industrial age. It's Dickensian London, with perhaps a glimpse of the process that gave rise to Cubism." - Pauline Kael.

2016, The Orchard, 107 min, Chile/ Argentina/ France/ Spain/ USA, Dir: Pablo Larraín

Although he was Chile’s greatest poet, Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) was forced into hiding during the government’s anti-communist crackdown in 1948. This distinctive biographical drama sees the future Nobel laureate’s life through the eyes of a police inspector (Gael García Bernal, terrific here) trying to track him down. “A stunningly inventive take on the function rather than the life of a writer … a work of such cleverness and beauty, alongside such power, that it’s hard to know how to parcel out praise.” - Jay Weissberg, Variety.

2015, 70 min, USA, Dir: Kevin Duffy

Legendary performance artist John Fleck was the target of government-sanctioned homophobia at the height of the so-called "Culture Wars" and the AIDS crisis, leading ultimately to an ambiguous U.S. Supreme Court ruling with implications for the freedom of speech, government funding for the arts and the separation of church and state. An exploration of shifting identity and how we define ourselves in relation to the other, this groundbreaking documentary from Cinematheque shorts program alumnus Kevin Duffy trails Fleck as he prepares for performances at the New Museum in New York and California State University, Long Beach, intercutting 25 years’ worth of archival footage (including shocking performance footage not seen since the 1990 controversy) with a compelling interview in a kaleidoscopic portrait of this revolutionary artist and ultimate survivor.

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