The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, August 12-18

Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s THE NIGHT OF THE SHOOTING STARS. Courtesy Film Forum via Photofest. Playing August 12-18.

Night of the Shooting Stars (1982)
Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Sensing German betrayal, half a Tuscan town’s villagers strike out at night for the front, hoping to evade their untrustworthy occupiers and reach the incoming American troops. Sculpted from memories (their own and those shared with them) and set into motion by an opening-scene wish, the Taviani brothers’ La Notte de San Lorenzo weaves a magical, seamlessly incongruous yarn: melodramatic, tragic, folksy, hyperbolic, and comic. The humorous glides directly into heartache, as in a fantastical, vaudevillian scene when, closely tending to each other’s wounded, one party asks the other for water, until their fatal partisanship is recalled and the groups take aim. Here and there the acting runs a bit mannered, but La Notte de San Lorenzo carries on, a vividly impossible tale that remembers and invents and accepts bewilderment. Jeremy Polacek (August 12-18 at Film Forum; showtimes daily)

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