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Top 10 films

1. THE CIRCUS (68 minutes) G

The Little Tramp stumbles into the big top in one of Charlie Chaplin’s lesser-known comic masterpieces, made in 1928 at the tail-end of the silent era. Fun for all ages, it’s also a quasi-autobiographical essay on the nature of showbusiness, demonstrating that Chaplin was already thinking about his art in a very sophisticated way. Digitally projected. Screens as part of the Glen Eira Storytelling Festival, with live accompaniment by The Sounds of Silent.
Glen Eira Town Hall, today, 2pm.

2. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (113 minutes) G

Both kitsch and exquisite, the most lavishly "artistic" of Vincente Minnelli’s musicals has songs by George Gershwin and tap-dancing by Gene Kelly, who plays a penniless ex-GI turned painter. Anticipating the later films of Alain Resnais, the script by Alan Jay Lerner weaves a web of connections between lonely people who belong to separate worlds. 35-milimetre print.
Astor, tomorrow, 7pm. Double feature with The Philadelphia Story.

3. BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (115 minutes) PG

Audrey Hepburn is the essence of faux-bohemian chic as Manhattan party girl Holly Golightly in this beloved 1961 comedy-drama, directed by Blake Edwards and based on the novella by Truman Capote.  Much like its heroine, the film is stylish, whimsical, prone to drastic shifts in mood, and transparently phony yet enchanting all the same. Digitally projected.
Bluestone Church Arts Space (Hyde Street, Footscray), tomorrow, 3pm.


4. TRAFIC (96 minutes) G

Jacques Tati’s love-hate relationship with modern gadgetry finds its ultimate expression in this underrated 1971 satire on car culture, which poses the question: do drivers control their vehicles, or vice versa? This was the last of Tati’s films to feature his alter ego Monsieur Hulot, who suffers many mishaps on the road to an Amsterdam motor show. Digitally projected.
Double feature with Parade. Astor, today, 7.30pm.

5. CONSUMING SPIRITS (136 minutes) Unrated 18+

Chris Sullivan’s remarkable first feature uses various painstaking techniques – water-coloured cut-outs, stop-motion – to take us inside the lonely lives of citizens of a decaying Western Pennsylvanian town. The alienated mood recalls artists from Sherwood Anderson to George Romero, but the film remains one of a kind, with an obsessive quality characteristic of animators who work alone. Screens as part of the Melbourne International Animation Festival.
ACMI, tomorrow, 5pm.

6. THE DARK CRYSTAL (93 minutes) G

One of the weirdest entries in the Jim Henson catalogue is this 1982 all-puppet fantasy, a pocket epic that follows an elfin hero (voiced by Stephen Garlick) on a quest to redeem a dying planet. Casting a morbid spell akin to that of David Lynch’s Dune, it’s an impressively uncompromised vision as well as a unique technical achievement. Newly remastered version, digitally projected.
Astor, tomorrow, at 2pm.

7. WALESA: MAN OF HOPE (119 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 bigger-than-life personality than Andrzej Wajda, a legend in his own right who has been chronicling Polish history for more than 50 years.
Elsternwick Classic.

8. A GIRL IN AUSTRALIA (112 minutes) M

Aimed at an Italian audience, Luigi Zampa’s 1971 romantic comedy stars brunette bombshell Claudia Cardinale as a Rome streetwalker who agrees to marry a lonely immigrant (Alberto Sordi) living in the desert near Broken Hill. The roadtrip format offers a rare chance to view Australia from an outsider’s perspective, and there’s a memorable, bittersweet finale. 35-milimetre print.
ACMI, today, 1.30pm. Tickets $7 or less.

9. FORBIDDEN ZONE (74 minutes) Unrated 18+

Cult movies don’t come more strenuously weird than Richard Elfman’s campy, kinky 1980 musical, set in an underground realm peopled by freaks: the cross-references include Alice in Wonderland, Bettie Page pin-up shots, and the 1930s matinee serial The Phantom Empire. The score is by the director’s brother, Danny Elfman, who appears briefly as Satan. Colour version, digitally projected.
Electron Workshop (31 Arden St, North Melbourne), today, 8.30pm (doors open 7.30pm). Booking advised (valhallacinema.com.au).

10. THE VOLCANO (92 minutes) M 

By French standards, Alexandre Coffre’s knockabout romantic comedy is refreshingly coarse, brutal and unpretentious - the kind of thing the late John Hughes might have dreamed up in between teenpics. Dany Boon and Valerie Bonneton dare to be obnoxious as a bitterly divorced pair racing across Europe to attend their daughter’s wedding and bickering all the way.