The Cinémathèque on place du Théâtre (library photo from 2018) is open again and screening some truly memorable films over the summer
Photo: Matic Zorman (archives)
The place du Théâtre screening room opened again last week with a programme of classic films that pay homage to “Why we love cinema”.
A real treasure in the heart of the capital, the city of Luxembourg’s Cinémathèque is now open again after four months, though of course audiences are subject to social distancing and hygiene restrictions. Throughout the summer the cinema will be showing a carefully curated selection of films ranging from beautiful silent classics to art house road movies, iconic musicals and sci-fi thrillers. Here’s our choice of the best that can be seen over the next three weeks.
Let’s start with Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, whose best Hollywood work was done in the sci-fi genre. “Total Recall” (21 July and 3 August), which followed his superb “Robocop” and preceded the still underrated “Starship Troopers” is based, like so many great sci-fi movies, on a story by Philip K. Dick. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger in one his best roles outside of the Terminator series in a complex plot featuring many of Dick’s familiar themes such as identity, self-determination and fake memory as well as rebellion against totalitarian authority. Sharon Stone and Rachel Ticotin play two great female characters. Watch the trailer to “Total Recall” here.
Alfred Hitchcock’s superb “Rear Window” (on 23 July and 7 August) sees James Stewart plays famous photo-journalist L. B. "Jeff" Jefferies, confined to a wheel chair in his apartment after breaking his leg. During a heatwave, he uses his camera to spy on his neighbours, witnessing their most intimate moments and building his own narrative for everyone from a lonely spinster to a struggling composer and an argumentative couple whose story becomes an obsession. Grace Kelly has never looked more beautiful as Stewart’s socialite girlfriend Lisa, while Thelma Ritter provides good grounding and humour as his nurse and Raymond Burr is suitably formidable as the subject of Jeff’s investigation. Watch the trailer to Rear Window” here.
Another truly great director, Orson Welles, is also part of the tribute when his noir thriller “The Lady From Shanghai” is screened on 29 July. Famous for its hall of mirrors scene, the film that Time Out called “complex, courageous, and utterly compelling” stars Welles in a fateful ménage à trois alongside the brilliant Everett Sloane and the beautiful Rita Hayworth as a truly iconic fame fatale. Watch the trailer to “The Lady From Shanghai” here.
A film first screened at the Luxembourg City Film Festival in 2018, Paul Anton Smith’s “Have You Seen My Movie?” (30 July) is a wonderfully enthralling montage featuring clips from over 1000 scenes of films that pay tribute to the experience of going to the cinema and watching films. Watch the trailer to “Have You Seen My Movie?” here.
Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” needs little introduction. The tale of vicious mobsters in Brooklyn is based on the memoir of Nicholas Pileggi, the film includes many memorable scenes and is rightly regarded as one of the best gangster films of all time. It also features stunning performances from Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci and Lorraine Braco, while Scorsese’s muse Robert De Niro and the ever-reliable Paul Sorvino add gravitas to often exuberant movie. Watch the trailer to “Goodfellas” here.
And finally, for this first roundup, we have pure comedy gold in “Duck Soup”. The film has all the hallmarks of the anarchic, farcical humour so beloved of the Marx Brothers as they explore totalitarianism, corrupt diplomacy and war (the film was made in 1933). Watch the trailer to “Duck Soup” here.
Films are screened at 8.30 pm. Visit the Cinémathèque website for the full “Why we love cinema” programme (currently in French. English version is promised soon).