Edgar Allan Poe, Lucian Pintilie, and other keywords | Bleader

Edgar Allan Poe, Lucian Pintilie, and other keywords

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Lucian Pintilies Reenactment (1969) screens Friday at Facets Cinematheque
  • Lucian Pintilie's Reenactment (1969) screens Friday at Facets Cinematheque
In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," a hypnotist is summoned to the home of a dying man and puts him in a trance. As they're conversing, the man announces that he's dead, and no one is prepared for what happens when the hypnotist snaps him out of the trance. "As I rapidly made the mesmeric passes, amid ejaculations of 'dead! dead!' absolutely bursting from the tongue and not from the lips of the sufferer, his whole frame at once—within the space of a single minute, or even less, shrunk—crumbled—absolutely rotted away beneath my hands. Upon the bed, before that whole company, there lay a nearly liquid mass of loathsome—of detestable putridity."

What has this got to do with the movie coverage in this week's issue? Well, nothing, except that this week I review The Raven, with John Cusack as a sleuthing Poe, so I happened to read "Valdemar" for the first time and really dug it. I'm just waiting for the right movie to come along that I can label "a nearly liquid mass of loathsome, detestable putridity." I probably won't have to wait long.

Also in this issue, we have a sidebar for Facets Cinematheque's ten-day retrospective on Romanian filmmaker Lucian Pintilie, and new capsule reviews of The Avengers, the latest Marvel Comics adaptation; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a British ensemble drama with Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, etc; The First Season, a documentary about life on a dairy farm in upstate New York; Hit So Hard, a documentary on Hole-drummer-turned-drug-casualty-turned-dog-caregiver Patty Schemel; Keyhole, the latest exercise in recombinant movie magic by Canadian cult hero Guy Maddin; Sing Your Song, a documentary portrait of musical icon and all-around hell-raiser Harry Belafonte; and Surviving Progress, a documentary on the threat posed to humanity by its own technological innovation.

Best bets for repertory: Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989), Wednesday at Doc Films; Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (1930), Sunday at Doc; Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974), Saturday and Sunday morning at Music Box; Jack Hill's Coffy (1973), midnight Friday and Saturday at Music Box; Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978), Tuesday at Doc; Johnnie To's Exiled (2006) and Kim Jee-woon's The Good, the Bad and the Weird (2008), next Thursday at Doc; Ari Folman's Waltz With Bashir, Friday and Tuesday at Gene Siskel Film Center; and two programs of pioneering gay erotica by Bob Mizer, Saturday and Sunday at Nightingale.

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