These eight films have an astonishing grandeur of presentation or an elegaic beauty. Several of the films have both.
After each film, students are invited to join Dr. Rakower for a group discussion. These sessions are always informative, lively and provocative.
Fugitive Pieces (2007) A Canadian film that begins in Poland. The film recounts the struggle of a man to transcend what happened through writing, memory and the redemptive power of love. Beautifully filmed, acted and poetic.
Look Back In Anger (1959) Perhaps the best of the naturalistic British films that portrayed the actual life of English people. Utterly riveting performances by Richard Burton and Claire Bloom who fell in love while making the film.
The Conformist (1970) Italian. A visual masterpiece about a man who wishes to build a normal life after having had a traumatic childhood. He thinks this is possible by accepting an assignment to assassinate a former professor exiled in Paris from Fascist Italy. Stunning cinematography.
Paris (2011) French. A film that depicts contemporary Paris and the varied life there of immigrants, the university and a young man - a dancer - who discovers he has a serious heart condition. A study in contemporary relevance yet also chic.
The English Patient (1996) Set in North Africa and Italy during the 1930s and 1940s. The film is a haunting story of love, adultery, and devotion. A Canadian army nurse tends to a badly burned man in an Italian villa during the last days of the Second World War. Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche at their best.
June Night (1940) In Swedish. The last film Ingrid Bergman made in Sweden. A delicate story of a poor Swedish girl who is wounded by a distraught lover. A young doctor falls in love with the patient. Bergman brings her poignant gifts of beauty and forbearance to this elegant film.
Jean de Florette (1986) French. Perhaps the most carefully crafted and lovingly made French film. It initiates unwitting tragedy in Provence. A gorgeous evocation of rural, French life.
The Taming of the Shrew (1967) Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in this outrageously boisterous yet faithful treatment of the Shakespeare play. No actor rivaled Burtons voice and understanding of a Shakespeare character.