THE CURRENT WAR: DIRECTOR’S CUT
2019, 101 Studios, 107 min, USA, Dir: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Three brilliant visionaries set off in a charged battle for the future in this epic story of the cutthroat competition that literally lit up the modern world. Benedict Cumberbatch is Thomas Edison, the celebrity inventor on the verge of bringing electricity to Manhattan with his radical new DC technology. On the eve of triumph, his plans are upended by charismatic businessman George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon), who believes he and his partner, the upstart genius Nikolai Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), have a superior idea for how to rapidly electrify America: with AC current. As Edison and Westinghouse grapple for who will power the nation, they spark one of the first and greatest corporate feuds in American history, establishing for future titans of industry the need to break all the rules. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, THE CURRENT WAR also stars Katherine Waterston, Tom Holland, Matthew Macfadyen and Tuppence Middleton.


SAMURAI MARATHON 1855
2019, 103 min, Dir: Bernard Rose

Bernard Rose’s astounding take on Japanese jidaigeki, or “period drama,” is set in the year 1855. After decades of isolation, Japan has started receiving trade ships from the rest of the world; amidst the new arrivals is an American merchant captain who brings with him whiskey, photography and, most important, pistols. These weapons are seen as a threat to the ancient Samurai and their code of honor, so the Annaka clan devise a test to determine if their men are ready should battle be necessary: a marathon in which the winner may ask of the master anything he may desire. But the Shogunate is fearful of the Annaka daimyo (feudal lord) and awaits word from their spy to see if they need to deploy their full might to crush the clan to smithereens. The stage is set for one spellbinding confrontation and an awe-inspiring marathon race against time. With a mesmerizing score by Philip Glass.


I AM CUBA
SOY CUBA
1964, Milestone Films, 141 min, Cuba/Soviet Union, Dir: Mikhail Kalatozov

Started only a week after the Cuban missile crisis, this film was designed to be Cuba’s answer to both Eisenstein’s POTEMKIN and Godard’s BREATHLESS. But I AM CUBA turned out to be something quite unique - a wildly schizophrenic celebration of Communist iconography, mixing Slavic solemnity with Latin sensuality. The plot, or rather plots, explore the seductive, decadent (and marvelously photogenic) world of Batista’s Cuba - deliriously juxtaposing images of wealthy American tourists with scenes of ramshackle slums. Cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky’s gravity-defying camera glides effortlessly through long, continuous shots, but beyond its bravura technical accomplishments, I AM CUBA succeeds in exploring the innermost feelings of the characters and their often desperate situations.


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