1. PLAYTIME (120 minutes) G
Jacques Tati’s 1967 masterpiece treats his blundering alter ego Monsieur Hulot as just one of many strangers lost in the funhouse of an ultra-modern, booby-trapped version of Paris. Demanding, spectacular and ultimately euphoric, the film is less a narrative than a universe to explore. Essential viewing on the big screen. 35-millimetre print.
Astor, today, 7.30pm. Double feature with Mon Oncle.
2. THE GREAT DICTATOR (128 minutes) G
Made in 1940, when few in Hollywood dared ridicule the Nazis, Charlie Chaplin’s first true talking picture is both frankly political and intensely personal, with Chaplin in the dual role of a Jewish barber and the gibberish-spouting “Adenoid Hynkel”. Not his funniest film, but in some ways his finest hour. 35-millimetre print.
Astor, tomorrow, 7pm. Double bill with Modern Times.
3. LE BONHEUR (85 minutes) 18+
On the outskirts of Paris, a working-class family leads a life of blissful contentment, until everything changes ... or does it? Agnes Varda’s colourful 1965 idyll is a film so ambiguous viewers have been arguing over its meaning ever since, the most disquieting possibility being that the title (meaning “happiness”) carries no irony at all. Screens as part of a Varda retrospective. 35-millimetre print.
ACMI, today, 7pm.
4. TRUE GRIT (110 minutes) M
Joel and Ethan Coen are up to their usual metaphysical tricks in this adaptation of Charles Portis’ Western novel, previously filmed in 1969 with John Wayne. Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld plays the teenage heroine, who hires a bounty hunter (Jeff Bridges) to find her father’s killer; Matt Damon is very funny as a Texas Ranger who joins them on the trail. Presented by the Whitehorse Film Society. Digitally projected.
Nunawading Civic Centre, today, 7.45pm (members only – join at door for $55 annually or less).
5. WALESA: MAN OF HOPE (127 minutes) M
As leader of Poland’s Solidarity movement, the former dock worker Lech Walesa (played here by Robert Wieckiewicz) was a crucial player in historical events leading to the fall of Communism. No-one could be better qualified to explore this larger-than-life personality than Andrzej Wajda, a legend in his own right who has been chronicling Polish history for more than 50 years.
6. MAY WE CHAT (99 minutes) MA
Directed by former critic Philip Yung, this Hong Kong teen movie has an instantly winning premise: two girls (Heidi Lee and Rainky Wai) get acquainted through an online chat group, then meet in the flesh to hunt down a third member (Kabby Hui) who has disappeared. The blend of fluffy comedy and exploitation grime is odd but effective.
7. THE MIKADO (122 minutes) G
This 1967 film of Gilbert and Sullivan’s famed comic opera – set in a Japan that never existed – is simply a record of the authorised stage production. But fans ought to see it, especially for John Reed, whose delicately camp performance as the gentle Lord High Executioner evokes an ambience not a million miles removed from the Carry On films. 35-millimetre print.
Astor, tomorrow, 2pm.
8. 22 JUMP STREET (112 minutes) MA
Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie) scored a hit in 2012 with 21 Jump Street, their profane comic revamp of the Reagan-era TV show about baby-faced undercover cops. This cleverly idiotic sequel adds an extra layer of parody by doing the same thing all over again, with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum returning as the yin-and-yang heroes.
9 .THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY (96 minutes) M
A middle-aged American conman (Viggo Mortensen) and an amoral young wanderer (Oscar Isaac) do battle in Athens over the older man’s wife (Kirsten Dunst). A first feature by screenwriter Hossein Amini (Drive), this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1964 novel is a modest production that still captures the original’s menacing insouciance and seedy glamour.
10. GRAPHIC NOVELS! MELBOURNE! (72 minutes) M
This 2012 overview of Melbourne’s independent comics scene can seem cosy and upbeat to a fault – but narrator and co-director Bernard Caleo is a passionate fan who well and truly knows his stuff, and genuine curiosity about the creative process is evident in his interviews with the likes of Bruce Mutard, Nicki Greenberg and Shaun Tan. Caleo will be present for a Q&A.
The Substation (Newport), tomorrow, 2.30pm. Entry by gold coin donation.