The Imitation Game, dir. Morten Tyldum

The Imitation Game: The Code of Genius

The mathematician and accidental innovator Alan Turing (1912-1954) was a child prodigy whose precarious and intuitive love and understanding of mathematics arrived before he could read. Educated both at Princeton and Cambridge, his undergraduate paper “On Computable Numbers” set the stage for his lifelong (if brief) quest “to make a single machine which can be…

Force Majeure (Turist), dir. Ruben Östlund. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Force Majeure by Ruben Östlund

The aftermath of the avalanche at the film’s opening lingers throughout the rest of the film, making this film feel more like a thriller than a study of the disruption of domestic bliss. At any moment, you expect a ski lift to stop working mid-air, or a skier to fall off and disappear—but what is…

La Règle du Jeu, dir. Jean Renoir

The Rules of the Game (1939)

A precursor to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, My Man Godfrey and Gosford Park, Renoir’s generous and attentive eye captured a slice of the haut bourgeois life immediately preceding World War II. This compelling (and I might even say, addictive) film was a critical and box-office flop when it premiered, but has since influenced…

The Little House (Chiisai Ouchi), dir. Yoji Yamada

MVFF37: Chiisai Ouchi (The Little House)

The tension between personal memory and public history is quietly observed in the prolific Yoji Yamada’s Chiisai Ouchi, based on Kyoko Nakajima’s award-winning novel. When young Takeshi encourages his elderly great-aunt Taki to write her autobiography, he doesn’t believe she is writing the “truth” about her life as a young maid in a bourgeois Tokyo…

For Those About to Rock, dir. Alejandro Franco, and Que Caramba es La Vida, dir. Doris Dörrie

MVFF37: The Music and México

It is entirely fitting that the Mill Valley Film Festival, which has always had a strong rock music affiliation, includes in its ¡Viva El Cine¡ section two music documentaries of Mexican musicians. And what an interesting juxtaposition it is: first is the joyful and contemplative Que Caramba Es la Vida, which features the personal and…