Cocteau, Cassavetes, and Anderson highlight the latest Buffalo Film Seminars lineup


Like increased traffic around UB’s North Campus and stories of South Campus revelry, the start of the school’s spring semester also means the Buffalo Film Seminars are back. And as usual, the weekly film series (7 p.m. at the Market Arcade) run by the great Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian features a diverse mix of established classics and intriguing newbies.

Kicking off tomorrow night with the silent film Underworld, the lineup includes one of my favorite films, Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums, but what excites me are the films on the list I’ve never had a chance to watch: The Life of Oharu, Ray’s Charulata, Varda’s Vagabond, Malle’s Vanya on 42nd Street. I’m a bit surprised at the inclusion of Tommy Lee Jones’s Melquiades Estrada and José Padilha’s Elite Squad, two good films that I would not quite have on this list. But both are relatively underseen, so it’s nice to see their inclusion.

Here’s the full schedule:

  • January 28: Underworld (1927, directed by Josef von Sternberg; screening features electronic piano accompaniment by Philip Carli)
  • February 4: Orpheus (1950, directed by Jean Cocteau)
  • February 11: The Life of Oharu (1952, Kenji Mizoguchi)
  • February 18: Charulata (1964, Satyajit Ray)
  • February 25: Dry Summer, (1964, Metin Erksan)
  • March 4: Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Monte Hellman)
  • March 11: Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976, John Cassavetes)
  • March 25: Vagabond (1985, Agnes Varda)
  • April 1: Babette’s Feast (1987, Gabriel Axel)
  • April 8: Vanya on 42nd Street (1994, Louis Malle)
  • April 15: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, Wes Anderson)
  • April 22: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005, Tommy Lee Jones)
  • April 29: Elite Squad (2007, José Padilha)
  • May 6: The Dead (1987, John Huston).

(Pictured: a photo from Matt Zoller Seitz’s “The Wes Anderson Collection,” which I wrote about for The Film Stage in December.)