STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR
CRONACA DI UN AMORE
1950, Kino Lorber, 98 min, Italy, Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni

Antonioni achieved auteur status virtually overnight with this impressive feature debut, a passionate tale of forbidden love and betrayal. Ostensibly a film noir, inspired by James M. Cain's 1934 crime novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, it represented a bold departure from the still-prevalent Italian neorealist movement, and the director’s signature style is unmistakable. When a seedy industrialist (Ferdinando Sarmi) hires a private investigator to look into his wife’s past, events are set in motion that spark a lost romance between the young woman (Lucia Bose) and her former lover (Massimo Girotti). As with any Antonioni work, STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR transcends the specificity of its storyline and delivers a powerful meditation on tragedy and human experience.


EASTERN PROMISES
2007, Focus Features, 100 min, UK/Canada/USA, Dir: David Cronenberg

Among David Cronenberg’s most accomplished films, this thriller about the Russian mob stars Viggo Mortenson and Naomi Watts. On a rainy night in London, a pregnant Russian teenager arrives in a hospital badly wounded; only her baby can be saved, and Anna (Watts) sets out to locate the mother’s family. What she finds is a web of crime and deception - and a bizarre relationship with enigmatic mob driver Nikolai (Mortenson). Featuring one of the most memorable fight scenes in recent cinematic history, EASTERN PROMISES will keep viewers guessing until the very end.


WANDA
1970, Janus Films, 103 min, USA, Dir: Barbara Loden

Writer-director Barbara Loden’s sole feature is a groundbreaking work of American independent cinema, bringing to life a kind of character seldom seen onscreen. Set amid a soot-choked Pennsylvania landscape, and shot in an intensely intimate vérité style, the film takes up with distant and soft-spoken Wanda (Loden), who has left her husband, lost custody of her children and now finds herself alone. Drifting between dingy bars and motels, she is callously mistreated by a series of men - including a bank robber who ropes her into his next criminal scheme. A rarely seen masterpiece that has nonetheless exerted an influence on generations of artists and filmmakers, WANDA is a compassionate and wrenching portrait of a woman stranded on society’s margins. “One of the best American independent films ever made." - Richard Brody, The New Yorker


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