DERSU UZALA
1975, Kino International, 141 min, Russia/Japan, Dir: Akira Kurosawa

Director Akira Kurosawa was pulling himself out of a suicidal depression when he agreed to helm this Soviet-Japanese co-production, which went on to win the Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film. When Captain Vladimir (Yuri Solomin) and his Siberian forest expedition meet a diminutive mountain man, Dersu Uzala (Maksim Munzuk), at their rural campsite, a friendship begins that will span decades. Kurosawa perceptively and subtly explores the inevitable clash of civilization and nature, focusing on a relationship between two men who are very different yet share a kindred spirit. From Siberia’s beautiful wooded landscapes to its pitiless, snow-ravaged wastes comes this timeless evocation of man’s fateful, often fractured place in the world. In Russian and Chinese with English subtitles.


AFTERNOON OF A FAUN: TANAQUIL LE CLERCQ
2013, Kino Lorber, 91 min, USA, Dir: Nancy Buirski

Dance student Tanaquil Le Clercq was in her teens when her lithe physique and expressive movement caught the eye of School of American Ballet founder George Balanchine. Le Clercq became a muse to Balanchine (who eventually married her) as well as to fellow choreographer Jerome Robbins, but in 1956, at the peak of her career, she was stricken with polio and never danced again. Through archival footage and interviews, this beautiful documentary captures the artistry and vibrant personality of one of the seminal figures of 20th century ballet. "A spooky, heartbreaking documentary...It’s a hymn to her rapture and infinite resilience. A" -Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly


GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA
2013, 89 min, USA/Italy, Dir: Nicholas D. Wrathall

Scion of a political family and a prodigiously gifted writer, Gore Vidal fit right into high society - except for his penchant to say what was on his mind. Vidal was among the sharpest critics of post-war America, and this thought provoking and entertaining documentary illuminates his life, work and politics with archival footage and recent one-on-one interviews filled with rapier wit.


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