Film critic Shlomo Schwartzberg is spending his Mondays for the next several months on a lecture series about the career of one of America’s greatest commercial filmmakers. Defining Greatness: Director Steven Spielberg launched on January 20 with a examination (and clips) of some of Spielberg’s greatest hits (E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Lincoln). On January 27, the series looks at early films like Duel and Jaws, before moving weekly through the rest of Spielberg’s body of work. There’s a flat fee of $90 for the whole series, or drop-in prices for single lectures.
The venerable weekly stand-up comedy showcase ALTdot Comedy Showcase, now in its 18th year, has a typically solid lineup of performers scheduled for the last Monday of January. Alex Pavone, Gavin Stephens, Chris Locke, and more join this week’s host Matt O’Brien on the Rivoli’s backroom stage.
Virginia Woolf once remarked that “on or about December 1910, human character changed.” Whether it actually did is debatable, but the curators of “The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection 1910–1918” use that year to start their exhibition of works from a tumultuous decade of innovation in European fine art.
“Photography is truth,” Michel Subor’s young draft-dodger announces in Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Petit Soldat, “And cinema is truth 24 frames per second.” Though that statement is often misattributed to the French filmmaker himself rather than to his character, the sentiment seems to hold true enough for Godard. On the strength of his wide-ranging, by turns playful and socially committed, and equal parts aesthetically and politically revolutionary filmography, one might even say that Godard’s life’s work has been dedicated to elevating the cinema to the esteemed status in which philosophers hold first principles like truth.
That effort to haul the cinema out of its infancy and into a kind of artistic maturity is the subject of TIFF Cinematheque’s newest and fullest retrospective in some time, a two-season programme entitled Godard Forever, which is intended to span the length of the filmmaker’s remarkable, varied career—from the jazz-infused improvisation of Breathless to the Marxist montage of recent work like Film Socialisme. The first half of that retrospective, a fifteen-film programme dedicated to what most consider Godard’s golden age—the period from 1960′s Breathless to 1967’s apocalyptic, decade-capping Weekend—runs this season, highlighting the period in which Godard famously moulded existing genres like Hollywood gangster pictures and musicals into his own unique creations.