See Fashion & Finns at the Movies This Weekend

British designer Vivienne Westwood ackno
Westwood closing her show at 2007 Paris Fashion Week (Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment)


Iconoclasts like fashion designed Vivienne Westwood deserve more interesting documentaries than this. In my Spectrum Culture review, I wrote, “What happens when a rebel is embraced by the establishment? Irreverent fashion designer Vivienne Westwood emerged from the shock tactics of ‘70s punk but by 1992 was awarded an OBE from the very queen at whom British youth sneered. Director Lorna Tucker’s profile of the designer is intermittently inspired by its subject’s world-weary attitude, but, hewing close to a familiar fashion doc template, it often makes Westwood’s life and work seem more ordinary than edgy.”

Watch the trailer.
Opens Friday at Landmark E Street Cinema.

(Janus Fims)


The National Gallery of Art’s From Vault to Screen series presents new restorations and infrequently-revived titles. This year’s focus is on Finland, which means rare silents such as Anna-Liisa (screening with live accompaniment by Andrew Simpson on Saturday, June 23 at 4 pm) and a 35mm print of this 2011 immigration drama from director Aki Kaurismäki. In a four-star review, Roger Ebert wrote that, “There is nothing cynical or cheap about it, it tells a good story with clear eyes and a level gaze, and it just plain makes you feel good.”  Shown with Shadows in Paradise, a 1986 title that is the first in the director’s worker’s trilogy.

Watch the trailer.
Sunday, June 24 at 4pm at the National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium. Free.

(The Criterion Collection)


The AFI’s Robert Mitchum series enters its final week with his finest late-career performance (if you want to see the lengths to which he’d go for a paycheck, read my Spectrum Culture piece on his 1990 sitcom pilot A Family for Joe). Mitchum stars as an aging Boston gunrunner caught between the bank robbers he’s supplying and an ATF agent who claims he can make him a deal if he’ll just snitch. Directed by Peter Yates (Breaking Away), this bleak, grimy, gloomy masterpiece is one of the great crime dramas of the ’70s.

Watch the trailer.
Friday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23-Wednesday, June 27 at the AFI Silver.



(Listed this for the wrong date a few weeks ago.) Next week the Washington Psychotronic Film Society screens this 1988 drama from New Zealand director Vincent Ward, who in the ’90s specialized in an ambitious sort-of-magical realism with such films as Map of the Human Heart (which I loved at the time  but kind of cringe to think of now). Set in 14th century England, the movie follows a visionary young boy who instructs villagers to dig a tunnel to escape the Black Plague–leading his people into the future.

Watch the trailer.
Monday, June 25 at 8 pm at Smoke and Barrel.

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