Without skipping a week from its summer-long tribute to Roger Ebert (which concludes with Ingmar Bergman’s “Smiles of a Summer Night” at 7 p.m. Thursday and Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” at 7 p.m. Friday), the UW Cinematheque’s free on-campus film series jumps right into its fall series next week.
The fall schedule begins with the much-anticipated Madison premiere of “Prince Avalanche” at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 at 4070 Vilas Hall. The film, a comedy-drama featuring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as two lonely men painting the yellow stripes on a remote stretch of highway, has two indirect connections to the Wisconsin Film Festival. Director David Gordon Green brought his first film, “George Washington,” to the festival in 2001, and the 2013 festival featured “Either Way,” the Icelandic comedy that “Prince” is based on.
On Saturday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m., Cinematheque will begin a fantastic series of crime films by French director Jean-Pierre Melville, beginning with “Bob Le Flambeur,” which was remade into “The Good Thief” with Nick Nolte about a decade ago. The Melville series will also include his masterful French resistance drama “Army of Shadows” (Sept. 14) and stylish heist film “Le Cercle Rouge” (Sept. 21).
I’ll be digging much deeper into the schedule as the season gets underway, but here’s a taste of what’s in store. Remember that all films are free and screen at 4070 Vilas Hall unless otherwise noted. Visit cinema.wisc.edu for more information.
Madison premieres: In addition to “Prince Avalanche,” Cinematheque will host the Madison premiere of Johnnie To’s new gangster drama “Drug War” (just named “Essential Cinema” by The Dissolve.com) on Sept. 27, Joe Swanberg’s acclaimed comedy “Drinking Buddies” on Oct. 3, and filmmaker Jill Soloway will be in person to present her debut feature “Afternoon Delight” on Nov. 14.
International horror: The full range of global chills and thrills will be represented in the weeks leading up to Halloween, from the J-horror of “Kwaidan” (Oct. 4) to the creepy French horror film “Eyes Without a Face” (Oct. 11) to the Italian giallo of Dario Fulci’s “The Beyond” (Oct. 25).
Werner Herzog tribute: The Cinematheque presents four films by the legendary Herzog, including “Stroszek” (Oct. 19), which was filmed in Wisconsin, and “Encounters at the End of the World” (Oct. 26), a documentary filmed in Antarctica.
Cinemascope at 60: “The Sunday Cinematheque at the Chazen” series has been a huge hit, and this salute to anamorphic widescreen classics looks to continue that trend, with 13 films ranging from Jean-Luc Godard’s “Contempt” (Sept. 8) to Max Ophuls’ sublime “Lola Montes” (Oct. 13) to Akira Kurosawa’s “The Hidden Fortress” (Nov. 24.)
Marquee Mondays: The Cinematheque takes over the Marquee Theater at Union South one Monday a month to present less critically acclaimed but undeniably entertaining films, including the nutty “An American Hippie in Israel” (Oct. 21) and the Hammer Films heist thriller “Cash on Demand” (Dec. 10).