- UCLA Film Archive’s edition of the traveling retrospective of Pier Paolo Pasolini (minus my favorite Pasolini, his oh-so-naughty n’ nasty “Teorema”) is rounding the corner and heading for home. If you haven’t caught up with the late 20th century’s most ribald filmmaker-poet recently, there are these three wildly divergent works to explore: From the final two pieces of his “Trilogy of Life”—irreverent Chaucer with “The Canterbury Tales” and “The Arabian Nights” (Sunday 7 p.m.)–to the still-scabrous and profane “Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom,” (Wednesday 7:30 p.m.) a profoundly upsetting view of the final, decadent phase of Mussolini’s regime. Gird your loins….
- Another trilogy arrives this weekend, but unlike Pasolini’s art of the wildly inventive adaptation, it’s a trio of originals from the head of Austria’s leading cinema eccentric, Ulrich Seidl. His “Paradise” trilogy centers on women enjoying/enduring what might be termed “extreme” vacations, and the second work, “Paradise: Faith” (in a week’s run at Cinefamily), takes on some of the more absurd aspects of Austrian Catholicism. The trilogy’s first piece, “Paradise: Love,” and finale, “Paradise: Hope,” screen alongside “Faith” at Cinefamily on Saturday 4 p.m. and Sunday 5 p.m. concurrently.
- 70mm is the greatest cinema format of all. Why? The image resolution is unmatched (and still many degrees better than the best digital image). But there’s more. The width of the soundtrack on the film itself is double that of 35mm, producing unrivalled sound playback. This week at American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre offers two contrasting approaches to 70mm: Paul Thomas Anderson’s startling, enduring intimate epic, “The Master” (Saturday 7:30 p.m.), containing three of the great American screen performances of the past decade, from Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams) and the only time that the otherwise humorless director Stanley Kramer lightened up with his crazy Southern California farce, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (Saturday August 31, 7:30 p.m.) Though not shot in Cinerama, Kramer’s all-star vehicle was the movie that opened the Cinerama Dome in 1963.
Robert Koehler, a film critic for Film Comment, Cinema Scope and Cineaste, blogs about movies on arts·meme.