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Essential Cinema

Our pluralist retrospective series that provides a revisionist view of what might be considered classic works of cinema.

Essential Cinema 2020 features Márta Mészáros’s fascinating and rarely-seen third feature Szép leányok, ne sírjatok! / Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls! (1970), which examines the social structures of the Beat era in socialist Hungary within the framework of the director’s most vital and pressing topic, the possibility of women’s freedom; Ulrike Ottinger’s Paris Calligrammes (2020), a personal retrospective and filmic collage built around the artist’s memories of life in Paris during the 1960s, charged with the vitality of personal and societal revolutions to come; the late Armenian filmmaker Maria Saakyan’s impassioned, unsentimental debut feature, Mayak / The Lighthouse (2006), which follows a young woman embracing an apocalyptic vision of freedom; and the recently rediscovered Badnaam Basti / Alley of Disrepute (1971), Prem Kapoor’s bandit musical debut which features Hindi cinema’s first portrayal of queer desire and stakes a belated claim to be one of the Indian New Wave’s most remarkable films.