Our guide to film series and special screenings happening this weekend and in the week ahead. All our movie reviews are at nytimes.com/reviews/movies.
ACTOR FOR HIRE: THE OTHER SIDE OF ORSON WELLES at the Quad Cinema (Dec. 7-13). The TV show “The Critic” made a running joke of the later works of Orson Welles. Somewhat in that spirit, this retrospective, which has one of the funniest titles of the year, showcases the great auteur’s presence in front of the camera — which, of course, is often excellent. No sane person would argue that Welles’s turns as Rochester in “Jane Eyre” (on Monday and Thursday) or as Harry Lime in “The Third Man” (on Friday and Sunday) are journeyman efforts, and you can see him with his Mercury Theater players in “Journey Into Fear” (on Friday and Sunday), whose director, Norman Foster, plays a pivotal character in the recently completed “The Other Side of the Wind.” One sleeper here is the 1959 feature “Compulsion” (on Sunday and Wednesday), Richard Fleischer’s barely veiled dramatic account of the Leopold and Loeb case. Welles makes a late entrance as a lawyer modeled on Clarence Darrow. He takes full advantage of his gravitas to deliver a blustery courtroom monologue against sentencing the killers to death.
BORIS BARNET’S ‘BY THE BLUEST OF SEAS’ at Light Industry (Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.). “Histories of Soviet film are invariably dominated by the montage theorists — Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Vertov — but I think I’d swap most of their work for any of the early films of Boris Barnet,” the critic Dave Kehr, now a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote in The New York Times in 2004. This screening of the mid-1930s feature “By the Bluest of Seas,” which Kehr called a masterpiece, is being introduced by another devotee, the writer A. S. Hamrah, who discusses the film in his new book, invoking such classics as Jean Vigo’s “L’Atalante” and Ernst Lubitsch’s “Design for Living.” “By the Bluest of Seas” concerns two fishermen — each, Hamrah notes, representing different national and cultural interests — who vie for the same woman on an isolated island.
MARIO RUSPOLI: PRINCE OF THE WHALES AND OTHER RARITIES at the Metrograph (through Dec. 9). A polymath who, as a photographer, created a major book of pictures of the Lascaux cave paintings, Ruspoli also made playful documentary shorts. The Metrograph compares him in sensibility to Chris Marker (“Sans Soleil”), who is credited with pioneering the essay film. The compilation Mario Ruspoli: Five Short Films (on Saturday) groups some of Ruspoli’s recurring interests: “The Whalers” shows whale hunters who practice their trade as it was done in Herman Melville’s day, while “Chaval” and “Le Chavalanthrope” celebrate the illustrator and humorist known as Chaval.
‘SCHINDLER’S LIST’ at various theaters (opens on Dec. 7). For all the debates over whether Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winner properly grappled with the representational issues surrounding the Holocaust, this 1993 film remains a landmark of Hollywood craft — something that comes through with moving, startling clarity in the new remastered version, showing for a week in theaters across the country to honor the movie’s 25th anniversary. Several of those theaters will be Dolby Cinemas, where laser projection will enhance the contrast in Janusz Kaminski’s mostly black-and-white cinematography — to say nothing of the sweep of Spielberg’s storytelling and the exceptional performances of his cast.
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