1981, Janus Films, 110 min, USA, Dir: Louis Malle

In this captivating and philosophical film, actor and playwright Wallace Shawn sits down with theater director friend André Gregory at a restaurant on New York’s Upper West Side, and the pair proceed through an alternately whimsical and despairing confessional about love, death, money and all the superstition in between. Playing variations on their own New York–honed personas, Shawn and Gregory, who also cowrote the screenplay, dive in with introspective intellectual gusto, and Malle captures it all with a delicate, artful detachment. A fascinating freeze-frame of cosmopolitan culture, MY DINNER WITH ANDRÉ remains a unique work in cinema history.

1972, 83 min, USA, Dir: Harry Hurwitz

A pre-Watergate lampoon of the then-sitting president, RICHARD tells the hilarious origin story of a young congressional candidate’s rise to reigning crook of the USA. Under the control of three more-than-questionable advisers, Richard undergoes dramatic facial reconstruction (by a plastic surgeon played by John Carradine) in order to achieve his new presidential face, which is strikingly similar to the real thing thanks to professional Nixon impersonator Richard M. Dixon. Aiding his new presidential ambitions is a guardian angel (played by Mickey Rooney), who fails to save him from a CLOCKWORK ORANGE-like brainwashing procedure. But for Nixon, being subject to mind control is a small price to pay to gain the Oval Office. Mixing actual newsreel footage with razor-sharp satire, Harry Hurwitz’s RICHARD was strangely prescient in its day - and eerily resembles the modern age as well.

1995, Lionsgate, 96 min, Dir: Noah Baumbach

For 20-something Grover (Josh Hamilton), everything is about to change. College is over, career prospects are slim and girlfriend Jane (Olivia d’Abo) is moving to Prague. Grover hasn’t the vaguest idea where his future is headed and he’s not alone; together, Grover and his friends digest the dissonance between the sheltered campus they’ve called home for four years and the adult world that lies ahead. Wry and realistic, this feature directorial debut from Noah Baumbach established his distinctive point of view as a filmmaker while winning praise from the Washington Post as a “hilariously insightful comedy.”

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