The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, August 19-25

secret ceremony

Secret Ceremony (1968)
Directed by Joseph Losey
Almost a two-hander, Losey’s claustrophobic chamber dramedy provides the spectacle of two very different actors (Elizabeth Taylor and Mia Farrow) trying to figure out precisely what sort of movie they’re in. As in Michael Powell’s Age of Consent and Louis Malle’s Black Moon, there’s a hair-letting-down quality, as Taylor and Farrow enjoy free rein. Eventually, an incestually menacing Robert Mitchum lopes in to detonate the fragile female ecosystem, explaining his unruly beard with “I grew up in the City of Brotherly Love.” With its shades of Sunset Blvd., Buñuel and Polanski, the film defies its “camp” reputation. Losey’s is an oeuvre that keeps on giving. Justin Stewart (August 24, 8pm as part of IFC Center’s “Celluloid Dreams,” followed by Q&A with Queen of Earth director Alex Ross Perry)

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