Popcorn and Candy: Luv and Hat Edition

Popcorn & Candy was DCist’s selective and subjective guide to some of the most interesting movies playing around town in the coming week.

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THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER

My Critic’s Pick in this week’s Washington City Paper, where I wrote, “The AFi Silver’s tribute to Robert Mitchum continues with this dreamlike 1955 thriller that gave the actor one of his most iconic roles. Mitchum stars an ex-con who poses as a preacher in order to  sweet talk a seemingly helpless widow (silent screen legend Lilian Gish) out of the 10 grand that her bank-robbing husband hid before he was executed. With the words “LOVE” and “HATE” tattooed across his fingers, Mitchum’s charismatic performance created one of that rarefied group of cinema villains who has earned pop culture immortality in a Simpsons episode. In his sole credit as a director, actor Charles Laughton adapted David Grubbs’ Southern Gothic novel, inspired by the true story of  a lonely hearts killer who killed two widows and three children in West Virginia in 1931. The Night of the Hunter was a critical and commercial failure upon its release, but it has since become one of the most beloved movies of the era.”

Watch the trailer.
Friday, May 25 and Sunday, May 27-Thursday, May 31 at the AFI Silver.

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(Barn Owl Pictures)

SAVING BRINTON

One of my favorite films from the 2017 AFI Docs lineup is finally getting a commercial run. As I wrote last year, “Frank and Indiana Brinton were entertainment pioneers who put on magic lantern and early motion picture programs in America’s heartland in the late 19th century. This wonderful documentary by Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne provides an impressive glimpse of what was then a newfangled spectacle. But as the title suggests, the real subject of this film is the quest, and its quixotic dreamer, the endearing Michael Zahs, who discovered the Brinton collection in a basement and spent 32 years trying to find someone who thought it mattered (disclosure: part of this documentary was shot at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, part of the Library of Congress, where I work, but I was not involved in the projects depicted in the film.) . Watching this documentary, you wonder why it took him so long to persuade anyone; he’ll have you eating out of his hand as soon as you learn that he takes in stray animals on his Iowa farm (this revelation appears about 30 seconds into the movie). As someone who tries to keep readers informed of 35mm film screenings in town, of course I would say this ode to film preservation is a must-see. But that’s thanks to Zahs and his remarkable character, gentle but persevering in the face of indifference.”

Watch the trailer.
Opens Friday at the AFI Silver.

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(courtesy Collectiv Jeune Cinéma)

LE LIT DE LA VIERGE

The National Gallery of Art’s series on Philippe Garrel and the French underground film collective Zanzibar continues with a 35mm print of this biblical allegory made when Garrel was just 20 years old. Pierre Clémenti (Sweet Movie) stars as a hippie Christ figure and Zouzou (Chloe in the Afternoon) as both Mary and Mary Magdalene. Shown with a 16mm print of the behind the scenes featurette “On the Set of Le Lit de la Vierge.”

Saturday, May 26 at 2 pm at the National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium.

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GYMKATA

The Washington Psychotronic Film Society describes this sort-of-much-loved 1985 action movie: “The skill of gymnastics, the kill of karate! The U.S. govt. wants to put a satellite monitoring station in the remote, not-at-all-made-up country of Parmistan. But before they can do so, Olympic gymnast KURT THOMAS must survive THE GAME, an international winner-takes-all competition where he’ll face ninjas, unsportsmanlike competitors, a village of insane criminals, a traitorous strongman, and even more ninjas. If only there was a pommel horse in the middle of the town square.”

Watch the trailer.
Monday, May 28 at 8 pm at Smoke and Barrel.

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