This week's cover story is an excerpt from my just-published book The Lives of Robert Ryan, a biography of the Chicago-born actor who starred in The Wild Bunch, The Dirty Dozen, Bad Day at Black Rock, and The Set-Up—the last of which which I'll introduce on Sunday at the Music Box. A Q&A follows with Matthew Hoffman of Park Ridge Classic Film and Lisa Ryan, the actor's daughter. Elsewhere in this week's issue, Ben Sachs reviews Amour Fou, the latest from Jessica Hausner (Lourdes), about the suicide pact between the tormented Prussian writer Heinrich von Kleist and an aristocratic woman dying of cancer. It screens all week at Gene Siskel Film Center.
Check out the new issue for reviews of: The Chambermaid, a German comedy about a hotel maid who likes to hide under beds and spy on the guests; Felix and Meira, in which a rich bachelor falls hard for a Hasidic Jewish woman with a husband and young child; Love at First Fight, a story of young lovers who become survivalists; Mamele, a 1938 Yiddish-language feature with Polish screen star Molly Picon; Poltergeist, a remake of the Tobe Hooper favorite; Saint Laurent, a drama about iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent; San Andreas, a disaster movie about cascading earthquakes along the west coast; Saving Mes Aynak, a documentary about the battle between archaeologists and a Chinese mining operation over control of the title region; Sunshine Superman, a documentary about BASE-jumping pioneer Carl Boenish; and When Marnie Was There, a children's fantasy from the Japanese animation outfit Studio Ghibli.
Letter From an Unknown Woman
Best bets for repertory: Frederick Wiseman's Domestic Violence (2001), Tuesday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Max Ophuls's Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948), Saturday morning at Music Box; Fritz Lang's Metropolis, screening in a 123-minute cut with live accompaniment by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, tonight at Symphony Hall; and Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Thursday at Northwestern University Block Museum of Art, with live piano accompaniment by David Drazin.