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December 8 – February 23, 2019

Weekend Matinee

The HFA continues its specially priced screenings of films for children, teenagers and their accompanying adults. Frequently drawing from the Harvard Film Archive collection, this on-going selection of classic and contemporary films from around the world is dedicated to presenting work in its original exhibition format and language.

All Weekend Matinee screenings are admission-free for holders of a valid Cambridge Public Library card!

Special thanks: Sanae Tani—Japan Foundation New York; Karin Oehlenschläger—Goethe-Institut, Boston; Amy Spence—Cambridge Public Library.

Film descriptions by Juan Ramirez, unless otherwise noted.

                   

 

 

 


$5 Special Admission - Free with Cambridge Public Library card
Saturday December 8 at 3pm

Meet Me in St. Louis

Directed by Vincente Minnelli. With Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor
US 1945, DCP, color, 113 min

“Wasn’t I lucky to be born in my favorite city?”

Before she was Esther Blodgett singing about “The Man That Got Away,” Judy Garland was Esther Smith, singing about “The Boy Next Door.” The film that married Garland’s song-and-dance magic to Vincente Minnelli’s euphoric fantasias—and, shortly after, Garland and Minnelli themselves—Meet Me in St. Louis is still regarded as one of the highest achievements in the American movie musical genre. Adapted from Sally Benson’s short stories, it follows a year in the life of the Smith family as their native St. Louis prepares for the advent of the 1904 World’s Fair. Under their father’s strict rule, the Smith girls yearn for self-actualization, taking it upon themselves to get the lives and loves they want while dealing with younger sister Tootie’s antics. Deemed “culturally significant” by the Library of Congress, this Technicolor vision of turn-of-the-century Americana introduced the standards “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Trolley Song,” cementing its place in pop culture history. DCP courtesy Warner Bros.

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$5 Special Admission - Free with Cambridge Public Library card
Saturday December 15 at 3pm

The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales… (Le grand méchant renard et autres contes…)

Directed by Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert. With Céline Ronté, Boris Rehlinger, Guillaume Bouchede
France/Belgium 2017, DCP, color, 83 min. French and Mandarin with English subtitles

An all-animal theater troupe presents three tales of barnyard adventure in this animated anthology based on director Benjamin Renner’s own comics. Featuring lively voice work and especially snappy dialogue, the troupe feverishly sketches the exploits of a less-than-clever fox left responsible for three chicks to whom he grows too attached to devour; a stork too lazy to deliver his infant package and the beleaguered trio of animals who take up the job; and finally, a surly pig who must find a way to save Christmas after his incompetent friends believe they have killed Santa Claus. Running through each segment is a tender core of sincere emotion fastened around the bonds between parent and child, which keeps the slapstick jokes grounded and the charming 2D animation soaring. Though the phrase “fun for the whole family” is tossed around quite generously, this is one film certain to keep adult ears as perked up for the witty Gallic humor as children’s eyes on the delightful on-screen mischief. DCP courtesy GKIDS.

Age recommendation: all ages

Preceded by

The Midnight Adventure
(Pulnocni prihoda)

Directed by Bretislav Pojar
Czechoslovakia 1960, DCP, color, 13 min. No dialogue

An old woodblock train meets its shiny new electric replacement one Christmas Eve in this glowingly nostalgic stop-motion toy story, directed by Bretislav Pojar and featuring gorgeous design by Jiří Trnka. – Andy Lauer, Film Society of Lincoln Center

DCP courtesy Comeback Films.

 

 

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$5 Special Admission - Free with Cambridge Public Library card
Saturday January 19 at 3pm

Goodbye Berlin (Tschick)

Directed by Fatih Akin. With Tristan Göbel, Aniya Wendel, Justina Humpf
Germany 2016, DCP, color, 93 min. German with English subtitles

Based on Wolfgang Herrndorf's best-selling YA novel, this coming-of-age tale finds two teens taking the car they initially stole to impress one of their crushes across the German countryside with the vague ambition of finding something meaningful to do. As they drive past the Autobahn into the country’s vast rural areas, the unpopular Maik and the equally outcast Russian expat, Andrej “Tschick,” get to know each other through the duration of their summer holiday. The people and situations they encounter test their teenage nonchalance, and the film explores the very real aftermath of such a fanciful journey. Praised for its cinematography, which captures the expansiveness of the German landscape, and the actors’ low-key approach to the material, Tschick finds transcendence in uncompromising adolescent adventure. DCP courtesy the Festival Agency.

Age recommendation: 12+

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$5 Special Admission - Free with Cambridge Public Library card
Saturday January 26 at 3pm

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki o kakeru shojo)

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda. With Riisa Naka, Takuya Ishida, Mitsutaka Itakura
Japan 2006, 35mm, color, 98 min. Japanese with English subtitles

When timid high schooler Makoto is ejected from her bike onto the path of an oncoming train, her end seems imminent. Thanks to a mysterious device she encountered earlier, however, she cheats death and learns she has gained the ability to leap through time. What begins as a wish-fulfillment fantasy of avoiding responsibilities soon turns into a weightier exercise in morality, as Makoto is forced to reckon with the results of her actions, which start to take on life-or-death consequences. Hosoda’s first feature film outside the realm of established franchises is a calling card for his inventiveness, showcasing his penchant for varied styles of animation, time travel vortexes and ruminations on the linearity of time. His themes are simultaneously laid bare and complicated by stylistic and narrative details, brilliantly exemplified in Makoto’s friend, Kazuko, an art historian working to restore a precious painting from the degradation of time. Print courtesy the Japan Foundation.

Age recommendation: 12+

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$5 Special Admission - Free with Cambridge Public Library card
Saturday February 2 at 3pm

Mirai

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda. With Moka Kamishiraishi, Haru Kuroki, Gen Hoshino
Japan 2018, DCP, color, 98 min. Japanese with English subtitles

Hosoda returns to the theme of time travel, this time as a way to teach his young protagonist valuable lessons from his family tree. As four-year-old Kun grows tired of the attention his parents lavish on his newborn sister, Mirai, he encounters her future self in a mystical garden outside the family’s gorgeous modernist home. Annoyed at her older brother’s cruelty towards her infant self, she takes him on a Capra-esque adventure through their family’s history, showing him the little moments that led to his own existence in the hope of teaching him to cope with living with a baby sister. A touching meditation on the passage of time and the foundations of family, Mirai debuted at the Cannes-adjacent Directors’ Fortnight to great acclaim for its stunning visuals and nuanced depiction of the complexities of living within a shared household and history. DCP courtesy GKIDS.

Age recommendation: 8+

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$5 Special Admission - Free with Cambridge Public Library card
Saturday February 9 at 3pm

How to Train Your Dragon

Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. With Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
US 2010, DCP, color, 98 min

An exceptionally thrilling fantasy geared towards children, How to Train Your Dragon reunites Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders—the duo behind Disney’s Lilo & Stitch—for another tale of man and beast. Set on a Viking island “twelve days North of hopeless, and a few degrees South of freezing to death” that pits its human inhabitants against the dragons who steal their livestock, the story concerns Hiccup, the village chieftain’s gawky son, who stumbles upon a talent to train the fearsome creatures. Despite attempts by Hiccup and Toothless (the wide-eyed dragon with whom he develops a feline domesticity) to bridge the two warring populations, the island is plunged into battle scenes Roger Ebert described as “storyboarded like a World War I dogfight, with swoops, climbs and narrowly missed collisions with craggy peaks.” Though a far cry from the Hawaiian tranquility of Lilo & Stitch, DeBlois and Sanders once again demonstrate a passion for using the island as a battleground for competing interests, where communication and compassion lead to harmony. Of particular interest is how the film treats its many disabled characters: not with pity or grief, but dignity and respect. DCP courtesy Swank.

Age recommendation: 8+

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$5 Special Admission - Free with Cambridge Public Library card
Saturday February 23 at 3pm

J.T.

Directed by Robert M. Young. With Kevin Hooks, Jeannette Du Bois, Theresa Merritt
US 1969, digital video, color, 60 min

In response to the warm critical reception of their CBS Children's Film Festival series that brought international features to youthful audiences on Saturday morning TV, the CBS Television Network expanded their daytime programming experiment to include the production of original telefilms for kids. Executive produced by Barbara Schultz (CBS Playhouse), the short-lived CBS Children’s Hour premiered in 1969 with J.T., a heart-wrenching tale written by Jane Wagner (The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe). Produced by Jacqueline Babbin (Sybil) and shot on location in Harlem with a neorealist eye by Robert M. Young (co-writer and photographer of the landmark independent feature Nothing but a Man, 1964), Wagner's gentle tale concerns the transformative relationship that develops between a lonely African-American youth (noted actor and Emmy-award winning director Kevin Hooks, in a universally-acclaimed debut performance) and a sickly, stray cat.  The sensitive drama received a Peabody Award in 1969, with a citation proclaiming the show a “landmark in children's television programming filled with extraordinary insight and compassion.” — Mark Quigley

Courtesy CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Age recommendation: 10+

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