Anatahan – Josef von Sternberg’s Pulsating Drama of
20 Men and a Girl! Rare 35mm Screening This Wednesday

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, December 12th @ 7:30pm
Directed by Josef von Sternberg • 1953
Discharged from Macao by Howard Hughes, Josef von Sternberg’s Hollywood career had come undone. The director embarked on a dream project that brought the exacting affection of his Marlene Dietrich vehicles to its logical and impossible conclusion. Anatahan follows a group of stranded Japanese soldiers as they decline into savagery, fighting for guns, power, and the island’s only girl, entirely unaware that war has ceased. The artificial society meets its match: Anatahan’s cast is wholly Japanese, but Sternberg’s brisk, fussy English voiceover narration supersedes all.  Filmed entirely in a Kyoto studio, Anatahan is some sort of monstrous apex of synthetic cinema, representing near-total control for the obsessive filmmaker, who intercedes not only with the sets and montage, but with the thoughts and actions of every human in the film. (Sternberg would subsequently lament his sole compromise: photographing real waves rather than fabricating the ocean. He also maintained that the film’s essence would survive even if projected upside-down and backwards.) Anatahan never found a non-cultist audience, prompting Sternberg to tinker—deleting dialogue and adding nude shots. At least Anatahan could boast a theatrical release several years before Jet Pilot, another fateful Sternberg-Hughes collaboration begun in 1950! (HM)
92 min • Daiwa • Restored 35mm from the Library of Congress
Cartoon: “Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips” (Friz Freleng, 1945) – 16mm – 7 min


Anatahan not your idea of a good slumber-parties-of-yore movie? Well, look what we’ve got on tap at Cinema Borealis at 1550 N. Milwaukee. Suggested Donation: $10.

Sunday, December 16th @ 6:00pm and 8:30pm
Directed by Christopher Columbus • 1992
Accidentally abandoned by his family on Christmas in New York, Macaulay Culkin fends for himself against the Wet Bandits Harry & Marv. The miracle of Dolby Stereo brings an uncomfortable reality to the twisting of limbs, crunching of bones, and pulling of hair that Jules White never could have dreamed of, but the joke is that Lost In New York is the purest film Chicago native John Hughes ever put his name on. Where Ferris Bueller’s Day Off hides a thoughtless, mean-spirited agenda behind budding yuppie Matthew Broderick, Home Alone 2 is honestly manipulative, forthright, noble, and actually quite sweet. Look out for Eddie Bracken, who provides half of the moral backbone of the film as the owner of Duncan’s Toy Chest, better known to Chicagoans as the Rookery Building on 209 South La Salle St. This special 20th Anniversary screening will be presented in an original 35mm 1992 release print from our own collection. (JA)
120 min • 20th Century Fox • 35mm from Radio Cinema Film Archive

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