Restorations & Revivals
Enjoy these classics from world cinema on the big screen in Brown Auditorium Theater!
Past Events in This Series
A time capsule of 1980s New York City led by up-and-coming artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Robert Downey, Sr.
A counterculture masterpiece, Putney Swope remains a vital provocation on race, pop culture, and America.
Amarcord, Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini’s nostalgic vision of his youth, is shown on his 100th birthday.
A restored version of the 1944 film The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress is presented with The Cold Blue, a new documentary profiling several of the pilots.
The epic story of Carlo Levi, a painter, writer, doctor, and political-dissident intellectual who was exiled to a remote and impoverished town in southern Italy in 1935.
A touring compilation of restored films from around the world in genres spanning jazz, animation, comedy, history, ethnography, dance, and more.
In the realm of art documentaries, The Mystery of Picasso is one of the all-time greats. The screen itself becomes Pablo Picasso’s canvas.
Featuring a blistering reggae soundtrack, this drama follows a London DJ in 1980 as he pursues his musical ambitions while fighting racism.
This digitally restored, classic feminist film follows the friendship of two women over more than a decade.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s five-part miniseries has rarely, if ever, been seen outside of its original West German broadcast in 1972. A new 2K digital restoration brings Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day to the United States for the first time.
Vittorio De Sica
In this digitally restored comedy by director Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves), an Italian executive tries to maintain a high standard of living during the economic boom following World War II. Never before released in the United States!
The cult classic! George Romero’s landmark zombie film started it all.
Perfect Halloween viewing! Kathryn Bigelow’s horror/Western mash-up is a ghastly humorous vampire tale starring Adrian Pasdar and Bill Paxton. This film contains violence. Viewer discretion advised.
In Andrei Tarkovsky’s visually astonishing sci-fi epic, a scientist and a writer approach the Stalker, one of the few trackers able to navigate the menacing terrain of the Zone.
Houston’s “Summer of Jane Austen” concludes at the MFAH with a screening of Sense and Sensibility. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet star in the acclaimed 1995 interpretation, which also features Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, and Greg Wise.
D. A. Pennebaker
In 1967, at the height of the Summer of Love, the Monterey International Pop Festival captured the decade’s spirit and ushered in a new era of rock ’n’ roll. This film features moments that became legend, from Pete Townshend destroying his guitar to Jimi Hendrix burning his.
Eraserhead, David Lynch’s 1977 debut feature, is both a lasting cult sensation and a work of extraordinary craft and beauty. Marking its 40th anniversary, the MFAH presents the film on 35mm.
John Murray Anderson
This long-lost 1930 musical finds new life thanks to one of the most elaborate restoration projects in film history. Starring Bing Crosby and legendary jazz bandleader Paul Whiteman, and pairing innovative production numbers with classic tunes from figures like George Gershwin, King of Jazz is a fascinating Technicolor time capsule from the big-band era.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Museum presents a restoration of the first blockbuster ever directed by a woman. The film stars world-famous ballerina/choreographer Anna Pavlova.
In this early classic of post-colonial African cinema, a young woman moves from Dakar to Antibes to work for the wealthy French couple who had employed her as a nanny in pre-independence Senegal. She anticipates an exciting new life in France, but her hopes are dashed.
Re-creating Ching dynasty China in astonishing detail, The Last Emperor tells the powerful yet intimate story of Emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age 3 and witnessed decades of cultural and political upheaval, within and without the walls of the Forbidden City.
In celebration of Kirk Douglas’s centennial birthday, MFAH Films screens this classic black-and-white Western starring Douglas as a ferociously autonomous cowboy who plans to break a friend out of jail.
In a Castilian village in 1940, in the wake of Spain’s devastating civil war, a little girl sees the movie Frankenstein and becomes obsessed by the monster. This bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life is one of the most visually arresting movies ever made.
For mature audiences only Following his major success with 2001: A Space Odyssey, filmmaker Stanley Kubrick adapted Anthony Burgess’s futuristic novel A Clockwork Orange, set in a London where gangs of teenage “droogs” commit acts of violence while an iron-fisted state exerts power. When vicious yet charismatic droog Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) is sentenced to prison after committing murder, he becomes a guinea pig in an experimental aversion therapy designed to recondition him. “As with nearly all of Kubrick's work,[…]
Kelly Reichardt’s darkly funny debut feature—screening in a new digital restoration—is set in southern Florida, where she grew up with a detective father and narcotics-agent mother. Shot on 16mm, the story follows the misadventures of disaffected housewife Cozy (Lisa Bowman) and aimless layabout Lee (Larry Fessenden, also producer and editor of this film). "[In terms of its] funky tenor and deadpan humor . . . the film is a wry, appealingly raggedy look at the impossibility of conjuring up excitement[…]
After making such American noir classics as Brute Force and The Naked City, blacklisted director Jules Dassin went to Paris to film what the Los Angeles Times called “one of the great crime thrillers, the benchmark all succeeding heist films have been measured against." A gang of master thieves concocts an almost impossible plan to rob a jewelry store on the Rue de Rivoli. Even though the wordless 30-minute robbery scene is delightfully low-tech, it provides white-knuckle suspense. "The underworld equivalent[…]
“If I wanted to get into heaven on the basis of one movie, [Chimes at Midnight] is the one I would offer up . . . I think I succeeded more completely with that than with anything else.” —Orson Welles The 2015 celebration of Orson Welles’s centennial continues, thanks to this new digital restoration of Chimes at Midnight, unavailable for decades. The film is the culmination of a lifelong obsession for Welles (1915–1985) with Shakespeare’s rapscallion, Sir John Falstaff. Appearing in[…]
Claire Denis’s debut feature film follows a woman (Mireille Perrier) returning to her childhood home in Cameroon. She recalls memories of her government official father during the final years of French control, and her heartfelt friendship with Protée (Isaach de Bankolé), the family’s manservant. Protée’s relationship with the mother, however, is contentious and raging with sexual tension. Chocolat is loosely based on Denis’s memories of living in Africa as a child, and depicts the effects of colonialism without preaching or[…]
Jean Cocteau’s sublime adaptation of Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy-tale masterpiece—in which the pure love of a beautiful girl melts the heart of a feral but gentle beast—is a landmark of motion picture fantasy, with unforgettably romantic performances by Jean Marais and Josette Day. The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder. Legendary New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael says, “Perhaps the most sensuously elegant of all filmed[…]
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
There are few better ways to celebrate this year’s Technicolor centennial than with Powell and Pressburger’s lush interpretation of Offenbach’s 1881 opera, The Tales of Hoffmann. A tour-de-force of dance, music, color, and pioneering special effects, the story unfolds in three tales and follows a poet’s fantastic and romantic adventures. The cast includes Moira Shearer, the ballerina from The Red Shoes. This stunning, new 4K restoration was made possible by a partnership that includes The Film Foundation and the British[…]
Coinciding with the Habsburg Splendor exhibition (on view through September 13), this lavish, historically inspired period drama was directed by the great Max Ophüls (Lola Montès; The Earrings of Madame de . . .). The film investigates the circumstances around the infamous incident that set off World War I: How did Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne, end up in Sarajevo on the fateful day in 1914? “In Max Ophüls’s telling, Franz Ferdinand’s liberal plans to transform[…]
Presented in conjunction with "Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna's Imperial Collections" Often listed among the greatest movies of all time, director Carol Reed’s film noir set in post-World War II Vienna is a moody, atmospheric triumph filled with magnificent performances. The Third Man stars Joseph Cotten as pulp-fiction writer Holly Martins, who smells something suspicious in the supposedly accidental death of his friend Harry Lime (the legendary Orson Welles). Tensions rise as secrets are revealed and Lime’s girlfriend, Anna (Alida Valli),[…]
Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, and Muffie Meyer
Immediately after a 1971 National Enquirer article revealed that a cousin and an aunt of Jackie Kennedy's were living in near-poverty in a dilapidated Hamptons mansion, the American public became curious about the two reclusive socialites named “Big” and “Little” Edie Beale. This documentary by Albert and David Maysles indeed captures an estate—Grey Gardens—that’s just as messy as reported. But more important, the film shows a mother-daughter relationship so intimate that the surroundings hardly matter. Both Edies are quirky and outspoken—nostalgic for[…]
Presented in conjunction with "Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna's Imperial Collections" This lively historical drama opens in Vienna during the conflict-ridden final months of World War II. Robert Taylor stars as Austrian Colonel Alois Podhajsky, a former Olympic equestrian. As director of the legendary Spanish Riding School, Podhajsky must devise a plan to transport the majestic Lipizzaner stallions to safety. U.S. General George S. Patton, also an accomplished equestrian, agrees to help—but not until after a command performance by the[…]
Satyajit Ray’s feature-film debut, based on a best-selling 1930s novel about a family in West Bengal, focuses on the precocious Apu. The little boy learns his place in the world from a young age, watching his family struggle with poverty and illness. Ray said he aspired to reflect the novel’s strengths: humanism, lyricism, and the ring of truth. Pather Panchali ranks alongside other renowned films about childhood such as The 400 Blows, Shoeshine, and Spirit of the Beehive. Read a New[…]
Each screening includes an intermission Presented in conjunction with "Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna's Imperial Collections" Julie Andrews stars as Maria in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s movie musical—celebrating its 50th anniversary!—about a nun who leaves the convent to become governess to the seven mischievous children of a widowed Navy captain (Christopher Plummer). Blending into a family doesn’t come easily, and it all unfolds with iconic songs and characters. Comedy, romance, and drama combine in this heartwarming tale set against the majestic Austrian[…]
From the filmmakers who made 2009’s highly regarded The Secret of Kells comes the animated tale of selkies from Irish and Scottish legends. Ben lives with his widowed father, Conner, and mute baby sister, Saoirse, in a lighthouse on the coast. Saoirse is the last of the selkies—shape-shifting women who transform from seals into people—and has the ability to aid mythical creatures trapped in the modern world. The children's own mother is a selkie who has gone missing, but in[…]
PLEASE NOTE THAT FRIDAY'S SCREENING BEGINS AT 7:30 P.M. The Babadook is a creepy, expertly crafted debut Australian feature that has been a critical and audience favorite. A single mother (Essie Davis), whose husband died in a car crash while she was on the way to the delivery room, is left to raise their son on her own. Now 6 years old, Samuel has behavioral issues, including constantly fearing monsters in the closet. "The presence grows when, one evening, Samuel[…]
The first feature film by Alain Resnais (1922–2014), Hiroshima mon amour is a masterpiece that chronicles a brief relationship in post-World War II Japan between a French actress, played by Emmanuelle Riva (Oscar nominee for the 2012 film Amour), and a Japanese architect, played by Eiji Okada (Woman in the Dunes). Considered one of the most beautiful and influential movies ever made, Hiroshima mon amour is based on a screenplay by influential writer Marguerite Duras. This engagement is presented in a[…]
Stop Making Sense showcases David Byrne and the Talking Heads at the band's peak. Infectious renditions of "Take Me to the River," "Burning Down the House," and "Life during Wartime," along with surprise appearances by guest musicians, have had audiences dancing in the aisles during the film’s 30th-anniversary celebration. Stop Making Sense was artistically conceived by Byrne and filmmaker Jonathan Demme. "A rock concert film that looks and sounds like no other." —Janet Maslin, New York Times "A dose of happiness from beginning to[…]
Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie mesmerize as a married couple on an extended trip to Venice following a family tragedy. While in that elegantly decaying city, they have a series of inexplicable, terrifying, and increasingly dangerous experiences. A masterpiece from Nicolas Roeg, Don’t Look Now, adapted from a story by Daphne du Maurier, is a brilliantly disturbing tale of the supernatural, as renowned for its innovative editing and haunting cinematography as its explicit eroticism and unforgettable denouement, one of the[…]
Back by popular demand! During the first worldwide flush of Beatlemania in 1964, United Artists wanted to ship out a movie with The Beatles before their vogue was over. Working within a tight $500,000 budget, director Richard Lester turned out A Hard Day's Night in a fast 6 1/2 weeks. Using a variety of techniques cribbed from Hollywood slapstick comedies, the French New Wave movement, and his own experiences as a TV-commercial director, Lester fashioned an exhilarating study of a[…]
The legendary Werner Herzog interprets Dracula with frequent collaborator Klaus Kinski as the vampire. Isabelle Adjani and Bruno Ganz costar in the remarkable homage to F. W. Murnau’s 1922 classic Nosferatu. In this version, Dracula is a melancholy man suffering from general malaise, experiencing more existential crises than bloodlust. Kinski creates a brooding, world-weary figure cursed with the loneliness of eternal life who is drawn to the ethereal beauty of Adjani. New 35mm restoration! “No matter what we have seen[…]
Based on a novel by Alexandre Dumas and the memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, Queen Margot takes place in the late 16th century during a religious war between the ruling Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots. The young Margot (Isabelle Adjani), heiress to the French throne, finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage to the leader of the Huguenots (Daniel Auteuil). She hopes to escape with a new lover (Vincent Perez) but finds herself imprisoned by her powerful and ruthless family.[…]
Recovering from an attempted suicide, a writer (Claude Rich) agrees to participate in a time-travel experiment that has been tested only on mice, but a malfunction causes him to relive moments from his past in random order. This screening of director Alain Resnais's Je t’aime, je t’aime is presented in homage to the filmmaker, who died on March 1. Watch for the Museum to show his landmark Hiroshima mon amour in the fall. “It's a science-fiction tragedy in comic strip[…]
Introduced by author Sam Wasson ("Fosse") In this autobiographical masterpiece, director/dancer/choreographer extraordinaire Bob Fosse (1927–1987) tells his life story through the manic character of Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider), a workaholic theater director fueled by all manner of substances to keep up with his hectic schedule of projects and romantic entanglements. All That Jazz becomes a confessional of sorts as Joe confides in an Angel of Death (Jessica Lange), and the film is punctuated by hallucinatory production numbers and much melodrama.[…]
Widely considered the best monster movie of the sci-fi loving 1950s, Godzilla: The Japanese Original returns! This 60th-anniversary restoration features scenes deleted from versions previously screened in the United States and coincides with a new Hollywood remake. H-bomb testing stirs a 400-foot sea dragon who terrorizes Tokyo like a fire-breathing King Kong, crushing trains and swatting down fighter planes. The monster is rendered in “suitmation” by special-effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, and the added scenes showcase the performance of the monster’s[…]
A woman mysteriously disappears on a yachting trip. While her lover and her best friend search for her across Italy, they begin an affair. Antonioni’s penetrating study of the idle upper class offers stinging observations on spiritual isolation and the many meanings of love. Initially greeted with jeers and confusion, L’Avventura was then awarded a Cannes Special Jury Prize “for the beauty of its images, and for seeking to create a new film language.” It is now established as a[…]
Introduced by Peter Lucas, independent curator Acclaimed graphic designer and master of film-title sequences (Anatomy of a Murder; Man with the Golden Arm; Vertigo; Psycho) Saul Bass directed this unique sci-fi film in which scientists study the patterns of cosmically altered ants that are rapidly evolving to develop a hive mind. The only feature film by Bass, Phase IV boasts stunning photography, art direction, and visual effects. This special screening of a new 35mm print is shown with a digital reconstruction[…]
Independently wealthy Paris detective Max (Michel Piccoli) infiltrates a gang of bank robbers by becoming involved with the leader’s girlfriend (Romy Schneider). Working undercover, Max mentions how easy it would be to knock over a certain bank in the hopes that the gang attempts a robbery – so Max, the detective, can catch them red-handed. Never released in U.S. theaters, this taut thriller with a heart of a great melodrama makes its American debut in a restored 35mm print featuring[…]
Released in the United States as Dirty Money, the final film by Jean-Pierre Melville (1917–1973) features Alain Delon as a burned-out police detective, Richard Crenna as a nightclub owner and bank robber, and Catherine Deneuve as the icy woman they both love. The film showcases two trademark heists: a near-wordless bank job on a deserted, seaside street; and a nerve-racking, 20-minute drug snatch done via helicopter-to-train transfer—and back again.
Set in France during the Algerian war for independence, a right-wing secret agent (Michel Subor) for a French terrorist group has deserted the army. When he continually fails to assassinate a woman (Anna Karina in her debut) who is a member of the left-wing Algerian liberation movement, the young man is suspected of being a double agent. Complications arise when the two fall in love. “One of Godard’s starkest and most serious works, shot in infinite tones of gray via[…]
Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer
As the distributor and archive for the films of photographer/filmmaker Robert Frank, the MFAH is pleased to showcase titles from the Robert Frank Collection. Candy Mountain, Robert Frank's collaboration with novelist Rudy Wurlitzer, follows a struggling musician (Kevin J. O’Connor) who sets out to find legendary guitar maker Elmore Silk (Harris Yulin) in hopes of striking a deal to make himself rich and famous. The film also stars Bulle Ogier (Celine & Julie Go Boating) and features cameos by iconic[…]
This epic collaboration between cinema greats Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Alain Resnais, and Agnés Varda in protest of American military involvement in Vietnam was made—in the words of editor Chris Marker— "to affirm, by the exercise of their craft, their solidarity with the Vietnamese people in struggle against aggression." The elements include documentary footage shot in North and South Vietnam and at antiwar demonstrations in the United States; a fictional vignette dramatizing the self-interrogation of European[…]
Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin
60th Anniversary Rerelease / New 35mm print In this utterly charming fable that poetically captures the joys and wonders of childhood, 7-year-old Joey (Richie Andrusco) is tricked into believing he killed his brother and flees to New York’s Coney Island, where he experiences a day and night filled with adventures. With a concealed, custom-made 35mm camera, legendary photographer Morris Engel—whose collaborators included future wife Ruth Orkin, herself a photography titan—captured a perfect time capsule of Coney in the waning years[…]
Ahmed El Maanouni
A concert film unlike any other, Trances presents extraordinary footage of Nass El Ghiwane—known as the Rolling Stones of Africa—whose legendary performances combined music, poetry, and theater. “We eavesdrop on the group, whose troubadour style has won them a large and rapturous following in their home country of Morocco. The debt owed to the musical traditions of their faith and land is freely acknowledged, and vividly brought to mind by the trance-like state their compelling, percussive music induces in their[…]
Numerous U.S. film critics—including the Houston Film Critics Society—voted Holy Motors the best foreign film of 2012. Join the shadowy Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) on his rollicking, soulful journey by limousine through the streets of Paris as he transforms into multiple characters for a series of mysterious “appointments” as a captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, and family man. Léos Carax’s mirthful, mind-bending masterwork is a ravishing fever dream of becoming, unraveling, and starting all over again. “. . . an exhilarating hybrid of[…]
In conjunction with this revival of The Shining, the MFAH presents several screenings of the documentary Room 237 (April 11–14). Click here for more information. Loosely based on the Stephen King novel, The Shining follows a writer (Jack Nicholson), his wife (Shelley Duvall), and son as they become caretakers of the Overlook resort hotel during the winter off-season. Isolated and snowbound, the family experiences an evil presence that encourages the father to commit violence, while his psychic son sees frightening visions from the[…]
A touchstone of the Czech New Wave that is best described as a feminist, psychedelic, surreal Eastern European answer to Howard Hawks’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum calls this film “one of the most exhilarating stylistic and psychedelic eruptions of the 60s.” Two young women, each named Marie, decide to behave outrageously in response to the world: they consume as much as possible, devouring expensive food paid for by rich men, setting in motion a series of pranks[…]
Celebrate the 80th birthday of Czech-born filmmaker Miloš Forman with an adaptation of the counterculture musical Hair. Based on the Broadway musical of the 1960s, Hair relates the story of Claude (John Savage), a young Oklahoman who leaves his family ranch for New York City. He quickly becomes involved with the hippie subculture and falls in love with a girl (Beverly D’Angelo). However, their happiness is short-lived when Claude is subsequently drafted. The musical also stars Treat Williams. Forman studied[…]
Restored print Poetic realism reaches sublime heights in this 1945 classic. Repeatedly declared the greatest French film of all time, Children of Paradise (Les enfants du paradis) is a tragic tale of ill-fated love between a theater mime (Jean-Louis Barrault) and an actress (Arletty) loved by three other men. Deftly entwining theater, literature, music, and design, director Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert resurrect the tumultuous world of 19th-century Paris, teeming with hucksters and aristocrats, thieves and courtesans, pimps and seers. "From[…]
Click here for the related Artful Thursday* event on May 10. The cathartic decade of the 1960s culminated in a prolific year of moviemaking in 1969, with Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice as one of the leading American success stories. “Consider the possibilities,” read the ads for writer-director Paul Mazursky’s satirically comic second feature about what happens when the sexual revolution meets the bourgeoisie. After Bob (Robert Culp) and Carol (Natalie Wood) return to Los Angeles from a retreat, resolved to pursue[…]
Lionel Rogosin’s Come Back, Africa is a historical wonder and an honest glimpse into the harsh reality of life under the now-abolished South African apartheid government. (Rogosin's On the Bowery screened at the MFAH last year.) After witnessing firsthand the terrors of fascism as a soldier in World War II, Rogosin vowed to fight against it wherever and whenever he saw its threats reemerging. Rogosin traveled to South Africa and secretly filmed Come Back, Africa, which revealed the cruelty and injustice with which[…]
A 1921 British field expedition to Egypt uncovers the mummy of Prince Imhotep, who was condemned and buried alive 3,700 years ago, along with the Scroll of Thoth, which can bring the dead back to life. When a young member of the expedition reads the Scroll out loud, Imhotep (Boris Karloff) is reawakened. Eleven years later, the ageless mummy, disguised as a modern Egyptian, attempts to reunite with his lost love, an ancient princess who has been reincarnated as a beautiful young woman (Zita Johann).
Uncut 35th Anniversary Edition David Bowie stars as an alien who visits Earth to find a cure for his dying race on another planet. Shortly after he arrives, the alien hires an attorney (Buck Henry) to patent ten groundbreaking inventions. The alien is homesick and devises his own space program to return home, but his plans are sabotaged by jealousy, suspicion, and greed. This new 35mm print of the uncut director’s version allows viewers to experience the dazzling visuals of[…]
Screenings cosponsored by Holocaust Museum Houston *Part I & II: Thursday, July 7, 10 am (636 min.) Part I: Saturday, July 9, 2 pm (291 min.) Part II: Sunday, July 10, 2 pm (345 min.) New 35mm print! Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10 for one part; $15 for both parts. MFAH Members and HMH Members, students with ID, seniors, and members of Film Buffs receive a $2 discount. Twelve years in the making and re-released for its[…]
Restored 35mm print! This Oscar-nominated film uses a cinema verité style to chronicle three days on New York’s skid row, the Bowery. Noted for offering the flip side of the 1950s “American dream,” the film’s stark realism is evoked by a combination of documentary and scripted footage. The storyline follows railroad worker Ray as he visits bars, sleeps on the streets, and is victimized by a thief, with whom he ends up bonding. “A milestone in American cinema. . .[…]