The Film Society of Lincoln Center will host actors, directors, journalists and a judge this August as three of its ongoing programs present four films, mixing political dramas with inventive coming-of-age tales.
The editors of Film Comment magazine bookend the month of August with the New York theatrical premieres of two little-seen gems, beginning with the Film Comment Selects screening of Stephen Frears’s “The Deal” (UK, 2005; 90m), Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 8:00 p.m. Frears and writer Peter Morgan’s prequel to “The Queen,” the film traces the devolution in the relationship between the old-fashioned and hard-nosed Gordon Brown (David Morrissey) and the more polished and media-friendly Tony Blair (Michael Sheen)from unlikely officemates to fellow MPs to rivals for the leadership of the Labour Party. Blair’s refusal to confront his own ambitions contrast with Brown’s willful ignorance of his awkwardness as a factor in realpolitik to create a deft political drama with terrific performances by both actors.
Filmmaker Stephen Frears will join Film Comment Editor Gavin Smith in conversation following the screening of The Deal.
Next, the Film Society will host Chilean judge Juan Guzmán and filmmaker and journalist Elizabeth Farnsworth for a Q&A moderated by Robert MacNeil, journalist and former co-anchor and producer of PBS’s “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” following an Independents Night screening of “The Judge and the General” (Farnsworth & Patricio Lanfranco, USA, 2008; 86m) on Thursday, Aug. 7, at 6:30 p.m. In 1998, Guzmán was appointed by judicial lottery to prosecute the first criminal cases against General Augusto Pinochet, Chile’s deposed leader whose regime Guzmán had supported. The film follows Guzmán’s descent into what he calls “the abyss” of crimes committed by Pinochet’s government, as he confronts his past collusion with the violent dictator and faces his own doubts about the general’s guilt. Farnsworth is a former chief correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” Patricio Lanfranco has been a prominent researcher and producer in Chile for two decades.
On Thursday, Aug. 14, Young Friends of Film welcomes director Michael Cuesta to the stage at the Walter Reade Theater following a 7:30 p.m. screening of his 2001 indie hit, “L.I.E.” (USA, 2001; 97m). Starring Paul Dano (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “There Will Be Blood”), the film follows teenager Howie Blitzer’s emotional descent after his mother’s accidental death on the Long Island Expressway. Matters only get worse for him when he and his gang robs the house of Big John (Brian Cox), an ex-Marine, neighborhood favorite and secret pedophile. “L.I.E.” is a gripping come-of-age story that sparked both acclaim and controversy after its screenings at Sundance and New Directors/New Films 2001.
Dano won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance. A party with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres will follow the event.
Film Comment Selects returns on Monday, Aug. 25, for a 6:30 p.m. screening of Philippe Ramos’s “Captain Ahab” (France, 2007; 97m). In the film, Ramos creates an imaginative back story for the famous Moby Dick mariner in five chapters. Each vignette is narrated by a different character that comes to know Ahab (Denis Lavant) on his journey from a harsh New England childhood to his final destiny at sea. “[Ramos’s] film is impressive for its delicacy,” wrote Elisabeth Lequeret in Film Comment, “but its scope exceeds the psychological realism of its individual chapters, eventually summoning the history of cinema in a whaling sequence filmed in the manner of a Lumière film. Ramos gives Ahab the biography he was denied in the novel, but likewise ends up face to face with the character’s essential mystery, offering us one of the most beautiful imaginings of 19th-century America ever seen in cinema.”
Finally, the Film Society’s Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery will present a rare photographic exhibition, Aug. 14 – Sept. 5. Capturing Film History in the Making presents iconic photos of some of the world’s greatest classic film stars behind-the-scenes at England’s Pinewood and Shepperton Studios. Highlights include Stanley Kubrick on the set of “Dr. Strangelove,” Charlie Chaplin directing his daughter and Marlon Brando, and David Lean watching Alec Guinness be transformed for his role in “Oliver Twist.” The photographs are provided by Getty Images and Pinewood’s archives. The Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery is adjacent to the Walter Reade Theater. It is open daily from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m.
For more information on the different films and programs, please visit: www.filmlinc.com