Have this article read to you, listen to it like a podcast
Join The Frida Cinema for Arthouse 101! A multi-month introduction to the world of arthouse cinema, this series will feature critically-acclaimed classics that elevated film as an art form! From 60s France to feudal Japan and from urban Senegal to rural Texas, this collection of metafictional dramas, coming-of-age stories, and psychological samurai films doubles as a tour across the world and history. The directors represented here are a veritable who’s who of arthouse cinema, including such renowned auteurs as Francois Truffaut, Federico Fellini and Akira Kurosawa. Film school is in session, and be sure to keep checking this page for updates as we add more arthouse titles to our line-up!
Rashomon – Jun 5 & 6
Directed by Akira Kurosawa | 1950
Based on the short story “In a Grove” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Rashomon begins with three men seeking shelter from the rain at Rashomon gate. To pass the time, the three discuss the murder of a local samurai and the rape of his wife by a bandit (Toshiro Mifune in a career-making role). As they recount the affair, the men realize that the witnesses’ vastly differing accounts raise more questions than they answer and call the nature of truth itself into question.
The 400 Blows – Jun 12 & 13
Directed by Francois Truffaut | 1959
The 400 Blows marks the genesis of timeless nouvelle vague character Antoine Doinel; his is the story of a 13-year-old misbehaving child whose adventures were based on director Francois Truffaut’s own childhood. Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud) is a young boy growing up in Paris during the 1950s, a post war period of major growth for the region as a whole. Misunderstood by his parents for playing truant from school and stealing, and tormented in school for behavioral problems by his teacher.
8 1/2 – Jun 19 & 20
Directed by Federico Fellini | 1963
Director Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), stalled in his progress on his new science fiction film, attempts to escape his director’s block at a luxurious spa only to be followed to his hotel by his film production crew. Hounded by his producers and the tumult of his (extra)marital problems, Guido struggles with the imperatives of the production schedule and his desire to create good, honest art based on his own experiences. Throughout his stay, Guido’s artistic dilemma is fragmented with recurring, fantastical not-quite-memories that recall both his nostalgia and his creative anxieties.
Red Desert – Jun 26 & 27
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni | 1964
Amid the modern wastelands and toxic factories of Italy, wife and mother Giuliana (Monica Vitti) desperately tries to conceal her tenuous grip on reality from those around her, especially her successful yet neglectful husband, Ugo (Carlo Chionetti). Ugo’s old pal, Corrado (Richard Harris), shows up in town on a business trip and is more sensitive to Giuliana’s anxieties. Giuliana and Corrado begin an affair. However, it does little to quell Giuliana’s existential fears, and her mental state rapidly deteriorates.
Woman in the Dunes – Jul 3 & 4
Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara | 1964
Niki Junpei (Eiji Okada) is a Tokyo schoolteacher and entomologist on an expedition to collect insects living within the sandy soil of an isolated beach. Because he is unable to return home in time, local villagers suggest Junpei spend the night, eventually guiding downwards by a rope to a lone hut below the dunes — home of a mysterious widow (Kyoko Kishida). After awakening the next day and seeing the rope has disappeared, Junpei realizes his entrapment below the sand and that the woman he is now stuck with has a role for him to fill.
Persona – Jul 10 & 11
Directed by Ingmar Bergman | 1966
Beloved actress Elisabet Vogler (Liv Ullmann) resides in a sanatorium, refusing to speak, gripped in a state of nervousness. Alma (Bibi Andersson), the caring nurse assigned to Elisabet, cheerfully initiates one-sided conversations, fluffs her pillows, plays the radio, and does anything to elicit some kind of response from her patient. One day, in an effort to find some way to cure Elisabet’s listlessness, the head doctor (Margaretha Krook) suggests that the patient and nurse make use of her isolated summer home as a change of scenery. On the island, cut off from others, Alma comes to view Elisabet as more of a friend than a patient, and Elisabet divulges to Alma and herself that her life may not be as cheerful as the persona she portrays
Le Samourai – Jul 17 & 18
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville | 1967
Costello is a methodical man with few possessions or connections – aside from his lover, Jane Lagrange (Nathalie Delon), who occasionally provides his alibis. But he gets spotted after carrying out his latest contract killing, landing him in the pool of suspects. After realizing that he’s compromised with his employers, Costello embarks on a quest to tie up loose ends before his employers or the police can get to him…or the woman he loves.
Touki Bouki – Jul 24 & 25
Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty | 1973
Mory, a charismatic motorcycle driver meets female student Anta in Dankar, the capital and largest city of Senegal. Growing tired of their lives in Senegal, they both dream to leave the country and find new lives in France. In order to accomplish that, the duo perform many different schemes such as fraud, theft, and prostitution in order to make it work.
Picnic at Hanging Rock– Jul 31 & Aug 1
Directed by Peter Weir | 1975
On the morning of Valentine’s Day, 1900, the girls studying at Appleyard College – minus outcast Sara – set off with giddy energy for a picnic at Hanging Rock, a local geological formation. With permission from their French instructor, four girls set off on an exploration of the rock, led by ethereal Miranda St. Clare. All but one disappear without a trace.
Paris, Texas – Aug 7 & 8
Directed by Wim Wenders | 1984
Starring Harry Dean Stanton as the mysterious, nearly mute drifter Travis, the film follows his eorts to reconnect with his young son and his missing wife (Nastassja Kinski). From this simple setup, Wenders and Shepard produce a powerful statement on codes of masculinity and the myth of the American family, as well as an exquisite visual exploration of a vast, crumbling world of canyons and neon
Vagabond – Aug 14 & 15
Directed by Agnes Varda | 1984
Mona Bergeron is dead, her frozen body found in a ditch in the French countryside. From this, the film flashes back to the weeks leading up to her death. Through these flashbacks, Mona gradually declines as she travels from place to place, taking odd jobs and staying with whomever will offer her a place to sleep. Mona is fiercely independent, craving freedom over comfort, but it is this desire to be free that will eventually lead to her demise.
Close-Up – Aug 21 & 22
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami | 1990
This fiction-documentary hybrid uses a sensational real-life event—the arrest of a young man on charges that he fraudulently impersonated the well-known filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf—as the basis for a stunning, multilayered investigation into movies, identity, artistic creation, and existence, in which the real people from the case play themselves
The Double Life of Veronique – Aug 28 & 29
Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski | 1991
Véronique is a beautiful young French woman who aspires to be a renowned singer; Weronika lives in Poland, has a similar career goal and looks identical to Véronique, though the two are not related. The film follows both women as they contend with the ups and downs of their individual lives, with Véronique embarking on an unusual romance with Alexandre Fabbri, a puppeteer who may be able to help her with her existential issues.
Fallen Angels – Sep 4 & 5
Directed by Wong Kar-wai | 1995
In this bifurcated crime narrative, a disillusioned hitman attempts to escape from his violent lifestyle against the wishes of his partner, who is infatuated with him, and an eccentric mute repeatedly encounters, then subsequently falls for a depressed woman looking for the prostitute who supposedly stole her ex-boyfriend’s affections.
Beau Travail – Sep 11 & 12
Directed by Claire Denis | 1999
Loosely based on Herman Melville’s novella Billy Budd, the film is set in the African country of Djibouti, where a legion of soldiers from the French Foreign Legion are led by Adjudant-Chef Galoup (Denis Lavant). Engaging in ballet-like training exercises during the day, the men lose themselves in dance at night. When Légionnaire Sentain enters the group, repressed feelings and desires begin to sprout from Galoup. Will he give into them, or continue to serve the good cause?