Confined to their parents' remote country estate, three Greek teen siblings are given a warped home-schooling: a "telephone" is learned to be a salt shaker, and airplanes are believed to be toys that might fall in the yard. The most original, challenging, and perverse film of the year so far, Giorgos Lanthimos's artfully rigorous treatise on human conditioning can be viewed as absurdist horror or the cruelest of comedies. With only hints of context, the reasons behind the family's social experiment are for adventurous filmgoers to discover. Kino International, in limited release, kino.com
New York Asian Film Festival
June 25–July 8
Welcome back the punks, outsiders, and genre crazies of the East! Celebrate Independence Day with John Woo's uncut, five-hour version of Red Cliff, then take in the sidebar dedicated to a new wave of retro Hong Kong martial-arts flicks (Ip Man 2, Gallants, and Little Big Soldier—the best Jackie Chan film in years). Annyong Yumika peeks inside the Japanese-Korean porno industry, wannabe hip-hoppers get stuck 8000 Miles from nowhere, and beaucoup blood splatters in Mutant Girls Squad. The Film Society of Lincoln Center, West 65th Street and Broadway, filmlinc.com
Invoking The New World, Aguirre, the Wrath of God, and the "Dawn of Man"sequence in 2001, Bronson director Nicolas Winding Refn's mesmerizing 12th-century odyssey into the heart of darkness stars a mute Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale's villain) as One Eye, a brooding Norse warrior-slave who slaughters his pagan captors and leads a boatload of Christian Vikings to the Holy Land. The graphic violence is not that of a horned-helmet action flick, but a trippy nightmare of savage poetry burning slow across bleak and otherworldly landscapes. IFC Films, in limited release, ifcfilms.com
July 16–August 5
When asked to submit a Top 10 film poll, French master Robert Bresson once teasingly filled in "City Lights, City Lights, The Gold Rush" and left the rest of his ballot blank. You won't think he was joking after relishing brand-new 35mm prints of those Charlie Chaplin silent-comedy masterworks and eight more features (plus shorts collections, too). The truly rare dazzler is a week-long run of 1928's The Circus, an innovative and timelessly hilarious midway romp that earned the Little Tramp an out-of-competition Oscar. Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, filmforum.org
'Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl'
More than 100 years old and not slowing down yet, Portuguese auteur Manoel de Oliveira presents a gently droll and unpretentiously alluring fable—adapted from an Eça de Queirós short story—concerning a young Lisbon romantic (Ricardo Trêpa) and the image of beauty whose artful framing in a window enraptures him (Catarina Wallenstein). As remembered by the gentleman suitor to a stranger on a train, it's an elegant and brisk tale of love-versus-infatuation, familial pressures, and wry economic truths. Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, anthologyfilmarchives.com
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