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Movies Houstonians Love

Often surprising and always intriguing, Movies Houstonians Love has become one of the Museum’s most popular film series. Local luminaries from different fields—the arts, politics, sports, education, restaurants, medicine, and beyond—share anecdotes from their personal moviegoing histories, and then take a seat to enjoy the incomparable experience of watching the film on the big screen, with an audience.

For the 2015–16 edition, each presenter chose a favorite comedy. The season opened with Houston Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman on September 28, followed by architect Jim Furr on October 26; Stephanie Saint Sanchez, founder of Señorita Cinema, on November 23; author Mat Johnson on February 1; and author Gwendolyn Zepeda on March 7.

Movies Houstonians Love is generously underwritten by Gensler.

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Past Films in This Series


Ernie Manouse’s Favorite Film "Mildred Pierce"

Directed by Michael Curtiz
Introduced by Ernie Manouse* Joan Crawford won an Oscar for her memorable performance as Mildred Pierce, an independent woman whose contentious relationship with a selfish daughter causes endless heartache and lots of trouble. "Hungarian-born Michael Curtiz (Casablanca; Yankee Doodle Dandy) had a touch of gold, and executives hoped he could repeat his success especially since James M. Cain’s racy novel was considered unfilmable by many. The screenplay was cleaned up due to pressure from the Production Code, and the story ... more info

Rick Lowe’s Favorite Film "Nothing But a Man"

Directed by Michael Roemer
Introduced by Rick Lowe* Duff Anderson (Ivan Dixon) tries to make ends meet in a small Alabama town, where he falls in love with a preacher’s daughter (Abbey Lincoln). When Anderson does not bend to his racist white employers, he is fired and labeled a troublemaker. Utilizing a style influenced by neorealism, this drama of life in the 1960s South anticipates the 1970s black independent films of Charles Burnett et al. Nothing But a Man was added to the National ... more info

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Directed by Frank Capra
Introduced by Former State Representative the Honorable Ellen Cohen James Stewart became a star with his portrayal of an idealistic junior senator who ends up leading a filibuster in Washington, DC. The film's cast also includes Jean Arthur and Claude Rains. “Stewart is amazing in the last part of the film, summing up all the hopes and dreams and concerns of all Americans as he fights against the corruption that threatens to destroy the way of life he loves.” —Movie ... more info

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Directed by Robert Hamer
Chosen by Meredith Long, owner of Meredith Long & Company A reception in the museum galleries follows the screening This comedy of epic proportions follows the story of a distant relative (Dennis Price) of the Duke of D'Ascoyne, who plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs (all played by Alec Guinness) standing ahead of him in the line of succession.  “A must-see, rarely-shown, black comedy classic not to be missed!” — Archival print courtesy of the ... more info

Bill Cunningham New York

Directed by Richard Press
Introduced by fashion designer Alexandra Knight Eighty-something New York Times photographer and Schwinn-riding cultural anthropologist, Bill Cunningham has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high-society charity soirées for the Times Style section. His enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place, and individual flair. Alexandra Knight will be introduced by Lynn Wyatt, founding chair of the MFAH Film Committee.   more info

Wings of Desire

Der Himmel über Berlin

1987, in German with English subtitles
Directed by Wim Wenders
PLEASE ENTER MAIN STREET DOOR Introduced by executive director of SWAMP Mary Lampe An angel (Bruno Ganz) tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal (Solveig Dommartin). Also starring Peter Falk (1927-2011). “If ever there was a European art film that could be all things to all people, it’s Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire” – Lucky audience members will win a pair of tickets to Wim Wenders's new 3-D ... more info


Tangshan dadizhen

2010, in Mandarin with English subtitles
Directed by Xiaogang Feng
Introduced by Ping Sun, Rice University Representative Aftershock is an epic story of a family separated as a result of the great Tangshan earthquake of 1976, which claimed 255,000 lives, injured 160,000, and destroyed 650,000 Chinese homes. Seven-year-old twins are trapped beneath the rubble, prompting rescue workers to believe that freeing one child will most likely kill the other. The siblings’s mother makes the agonizing choice to save her son, not knowing that her daughter witnesses the decision and miraculously ... more info

Live and Become

Va, vis et deviens

2005, in Hebrew, French, and Amharic with English subtitles
Directed by Radu Mihaileanu
Introduced by Josef Helfenstein, Director, The Menil Collection Rich Levy, member of the MFAH film committee and director of Inprint, introduces Dr. Helfenstein. Live and Become is a magnificent epic story about an Ethiopian boy who is airlifted from a Sudanese refugee camp to Israel during Operation Moses in 1984. Although he thrives as an adoptive son of a loving family, he is plagued by two big secrets: He is neither a Jew nor an orphan, just an African boy who survived and ... more info
Presented by Clyde Drexler* Charismatic 13th-century Scottish folk hero William Wallace (Mel Gibson) leads a revolt against British oppression during the Wars of Scottish Independence. He is the protagonist of a 15th-century epic poem attributed to a blind poet known as Henry the Minstrel, on which part of the script is based. Wallace eventually gained iconic status far beyond his homeland. “Gibson's Wallace is a potent blend of Robin Hood, Attila the Hun, and Detective John McClane in Die Hard. ... more info


Directed by Bennett Miller
Presented by Jeff Luhnow, general manager, Houston Astros Copresented with Bo Porter, manager, Houston Astros Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics. Overburdened with the lowest salary restrictions in baseball, Beane must find a competitive advantage to have a winning team, and he shakes the sport to its core when he hires a statistician (Jonah Hill) to analyze and place value on the players. This Academy Award–nominated film is based on the 2003 book by Michael Lewis. Background ... more info

Anne Chao Presents “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”

Les parapluies de Cherbourg

1964, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Jacques Demy
The audience is invited to a reception following the screening. Considered one of the most beautiful color films ever made, Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg—a masterpiece of music and romance and winner of the 1964 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize—catapulted the 20-year-old Catherine Deneuve to international stardom. The memorable 1960s French romance finds an umbrella shop girl (Deneuve) distraught when her boyfriend is called for military service in Algeria, forcing her to face a life-altering decision alone. The director enlisted ... more info


Directed by Otto Preminger
Introduced by Lynn Wyatt, founding chair, MFAH film committee The audience is invited to a reception in the museum galleries following the screening A detective (Dana Andrews) investigating the murder of Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) finds himself falling in love with her painted portrait. “One of the most stylish and moody film noirs ever made, Laura is characterized by shadowy, dream-like, high-contrast black-and-white cinematography, and smart dialogue in a quick succession of scenes. It presents the recognizably poignant and haunting ... more info

Ed Djerejian Presents “Citizen Kane”

Directed by Orson Welles
NEW DATE AND TIME: APRIL 21, 5 p.m. Repeatedly lauded as the greatest American film, Citizen Kane follows the life and death of millionaire newspaper tycoon—played by the 26-year-old Orson Welles and reportedly based on William Randolph Hearst—whose last words baffle news reporters and the public. “When you see the film, you think: 'Wait, how old was Welles when he made this?' It’s pretty thrilling." —filmmaker John Landis About Ed Djerejian The Honorable Edward P. Djerejian served in the U.S. Foreign Service ... more info

Hans Graf Presents “Orpheus”


1950, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Jean Cocteau
Avant-gardist Jean Cocteau blends myth, realistic thriller, and fantasy in Orpheus, based on his 1926 one-act play of the same name and his 1933 Surrealist film Blood of a Poet. Orpheus is a fascinating retelling of the Greek legend, set in contemporary Paris, in which the titular poet (Jean Marais) is involved in a love triangle with his wife, Eurydice; and Death (aka The Princess). After Eurydice is killed, Orpheus descends into the Underworld to reclaim her. The gods allow Orpheus ... more info


1982, in German, Spanish, and Italian with English subtitles
Directed by Werner Herzog
Introduced by Gwen Goffe, former associate director, investment and finance, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston A haunting film in a class of its own, Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo tells the story of opera aficionado Brian Sweeney "Fitzcarraldo" Fitzgerald (Klaus Kinski, who played the title character in Herzog’s Aguirre: The Wrath of God, also set in South America). A failed railway entrepreneur whose dreams and ambitions are always greater than his ability to achieve them, Fitzgerald is determined to build an opera ... more info

Lola Montès

1955, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Max Ophüls
Introduced by Bill Arning, director, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston The life and sins of Lola Montès (Martine Carol), the famous courtesan and mistress to Franz Liszt and the king of Bavaria, is recounted in lavish color against the backdrop of a nineteenth-century circus. Controversial upon its release, the film was eventually butchered by producers and the original negative nearly destroyed. But technology has finally allowed film archivists to restore Ophüls's widely considered masterpiece. With the help of the Cinémathèque Française ... more info

Bagdad Cafe

Directed by Percy Adlon
Introduced by Wendy Watriss and Fred Baldwin, FotoFest cofounders and directors German writer/director Percy Adlon makes a remarkable American debut with the charming story about the common threads that connect disparate people. Adlon succeeds in creating a cinematic jewel that is both hilarious and touching. Drawn to a pair of lights in the barren American desert sky, a mysterious German woman (Marianne Sägebrecht) stumbles upon a dilapidated motel/diner in the middle of nowhere. Her unusual appearance and demeanor are at ... more info


Directed by Wes Anderson
Introduced by Kyrie O’Connor of the "Houston Chronicle" and NPR’s "Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!" An original comedy shot in Houston, Rushmore launched the career of director Wes Anderson. The film's plot follows 15-year-old Max (Jason Schwartzman), an underachieving yet overconfident student at Rushmore Academy who has romantic designs on teacher Miss Cross (Olivia Williams). In his quest to impress her, Max enlists the help of wealthy alum Herman Blume (Bill Murray)—who also falls for Miss Cross—instigating ... more info

Hands on a Hardbody

Directed by S. R. Bindler
Introduced by Nick Flynn, University of Houston poet/author Every year at Texas’s oldest Nissan dealership in Longview, 24 contestants place one hand on a brand new pick-up truck. The last person standing with their hand on the vehicle wins the truck. A cult favorite, Hands on a Hardbody attaches an emotional story to each contestant and creates drama surrounding the competition by examining the effects of exhaustion, dehydration, and hunger on those strong enough to finish the game. Nick Flynn ... more info

Je vous aime

I Love You All

1980, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Claude Berri
Introduced by Michael Zilkha, cochair of the MFAH film committee Claude Berri (Jean de Florette; Manon of the Spring) directed this vibrant yet elegiac contemporary romance, which is distinguished by a stellar cast lead by Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Serge Gainsbourg. Alice (Deneuve) is a career woman who struggles with the obligations required for a lasting, committed relationship. Her love life continues to be a series of trysts and one-night stands. On New Year’s Eve, Alice invites ... more info

It’s a Wonderful Life

Directed by Frank Capra
Introduced by Tamarie Cooper, Catastrophic Theatre When Tamarie Cooper told the Houston Chronicle that her favorite movie of all time is It's a Wonderful Life, it was only natural that she’d be invited to present the film at the Museum to launch the holiday season. She’s in good company: both the film’s director, Frank Capra, and its star, Jimmy Stewart, considered it their favorite. This American movie classic follows the descent of businessman George Bailey (Stewart) after he is blamed for his company’s ... more info


Directed by Robert Zemeckis
6 p.m. Reception in Museum Galleries 7 p.m. Film Screening Introduced by heart surgeon Dr. Billy Cohn   As a young girl, Ellie Arroway would sit at her shortwave radio, seeking other voices in the universe to answer her own. In college, her unanswered questions drove her to search for intelligent extraterrestrial messages. Despite scorn from the scientific community, Ellie maintains that the universe has more to offer. When a radio transmission comes from the distant star Vega, Earth faces the ... more info

Being There

Directed by Hal Ashby
Introduced by musician Robert Earl Keen A sheltered, simpleminded gardener (Peter Sellers) is mistaken for an aristocrat when he loses his job after his employer dies. He has learned everything about the world from watching television and when he speaks in simple statements, those around him interpret the comments as profound metaphors. The wife (Shirley MacLaine) of a dying tycoon (Melvyn Douglas) takes in the gardener, and soon he is meeting with the president and consulting on national affairs. “Closing ... more info

Black Narcissus

Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Introduced by artist Carl Palazzolo In this postwar melodrama, Anglican nuns attempt to establish a Christian hospital and school in the Himalayas, but they face a hostile environment and obstacles from the villagers. Great Britain’s dynamic duo of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (A Matter of Life and Death; The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp; The Red Shoes) depict fierce passions and barely contained erotic tension. Deborah Kerr plays the emotionally detached Sister Superior, secretly tormented by memories of lost love. ... more info


Directed by Chris Noonan
Introduced by hip-hop artist Willie D This totally charming fable finds intelligent piglet Babe being raised by matriarchal sheepdog Fly and learning the art of sheepherding, along with his new canine brothers. Farmer Hoggett (James Cromwell) is Babe’s owner by virtue of a winning raffle ticket. Seeing that Babe is more than just a ham, the farmer enters the group in the world sheepherding championship. The film is smart fun for the whole family, and never insults the audience’s intellect. ... more info

The In-Laws

Directed by Arthur Hiller
Presented by Ken Hoffman, columnist, Houston Chronicle Introduction by Lynn Wyatt, founding chair, MFAH film committee "An unassuming New York dentist (Alan Arkin) finds his life uprooted when the father (Peter Falk) of the boy his daughter is about to marry enlists his help in an undercover operation. This hilariously gonzo comedy-adventure—based on a screenplay by Andrew Bergman (Blazing Saddles)—features Falk and Arkin as an unlikely, hysterically mismatched yet ultimately synergistic duo. Both men play on their strengths as (respectively) a suave ... more info

The Loved One

Directed by Tony Richardson
Introduced by architect Jim Furr The Loved One—advertised as “The motion picture with something to offend everyone!”—is a famously outlandish farce. Robert Morse stars as English poet Dennis Barlow, who ends up in Hollywood arranging the funeral of his uncle (John Gielgud). While searching for morticians, Barlow gets a job at a pet cemetery competing with a mortuary run by Jonathan Winters. The various schemes, scams, and lack of concern by morticians for both humans and pets are revealed in all ... more info

True Stories

Directed by David Byrne
Introduced by Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Señorita Cinema Talking Heads frontman David Byrne directs and narrates this affectionate but cautionary tale about the imaginary town of Virgil, Texas. True Stories details Virgil’s sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) celebration, which culminates in a parade and talent show. Often compared to Robert Altman’s Nashville, Byrne’s film features a quirky ensemble cast that includes John Goodman as a lonely bachelor and Swoosie Kurtz as the laziest woman in the world, plus musical interludes from Talking Heads. ... more info

Funny Bones

Directed by Peter Chelsom
Introduced by author Mat Johnson, University of Houston Creative Writing Program Aspiring comedian Tommy Fawkes (Oliver Platt) finds his career overshadowed by the success of his comedy-legend father (Jerry Lewis). Feeling dejected in Las Vegas, Tommy flies to his hometown, the English seaside resort of Blackpool, to find a new act—or at least steal one to use as his own. There, he meets a woman (Leslie Caron) and a uncovers a family secret. Blending humor and hatred with startling results, ... more info

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Directed by John Cameron Mitchell
Introduced by author Gwendolyn Zepeda, Houston’s first poet laureate Hansel, a wannabe rock star from East Berlin, leaves Germany for an American GI but is abandoned in a Kansas trailer park after a botched gender-reassignment operation. Now calling herself Hedwig (played by director/screenwriter John Cameron Mitchell), she dresses in glam-rock style with sparkly costumes and various wigs and forms a band called the Angry Inch. Hedwig ends up falling for a teenage boy (Michael Pitt) who steals her songs and ... more info