THE TREE OF LIFE2011. USA. Dir: Terrence Malick. With Brad Pitt, Sean Penn. 139 min
The simple story of a man sifting through his memories of growing up in rural Texas is imbued with cosmic significance when it’s tied to an impressionistic vision of the world’s beginnings. This year’s Palme d’Or winner looks through a mesmerizing kaleidoscope at the timeless struggle between nature and grace and those caught in between.
FANTASTIC PLANET1973. France/Czechoslovakia. Dir: René Laloux. With . 72 min
A stunning hallucinatory vision of a future in which people are imprisoned as pets by giant blue humanoids on an distant planet. The eerie and inspired animation of the unique landscapes and alien creatures provides the perfect backdrop for a haunting story of escape and revolt.
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY1991. USA. Dir: James Cameron. With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton. 137 min
Ahnold is back, now as a good robot helping a lad to save his mom from the loony bin, avoid a perilous liquid cyborg, and hopefully stave off Doomsday. Well before AVATAR and its blue tree-kitties, director Cameron pushed the visual effects envelope with this action blockbuster that confirms the folly of trusting machines.
SILENT FILM SERIALS WITH LIVE ACCOMPANIMENT1914-1918. USA. Dir: . With . 85 min
Renowned silent film accompanist Ben Model (MoMA) returns with an assortment of serial chapters featuring daring gals and guys caught in cliffhangers both literal and metaphorical. Though nearly a century old, these slices of riveting drama and pulse-pounding suspense more than match Indiana Jones and their other progeny. Prints restored and supplied by the Library of Congress.