Burn! is playing at the Greek Action Group's Political Film Festival this weekend instead of La Guerre Est Finie because of scheduling conflicts, and the switch is a fortuitous one. Gillio Pontecorvo made Burn! in 1970, five years after making Battle of Algiers, and although this latter fictional account of 19th century colonialism is a different sort of film than the realistic 1965 classic, it exhibits signs of the same intelligence and the same cinemagraphic beauty. Marlon Brando stars as an Englishman who inspires revolution in a Carribean Portuguese colony in order to open up the island to British trade. The film is hardly doctrinaire, but it does take a few clean and effective swipes at capitalist-based liberals. This isn't great movie, but it is a damned good one. Playing tonight and tomorrow at the Science Center at 7 and 9:30, admission is $1.50.
La Guerre Est Finie isn't playing at the Science Center because it's playing at the Brattle, and it's really too good and too intelligent a movie to miss. Alain Resnais directed and Yves Montand starred in this account of the trials and tribulations of the Old Left revolutionary, and the sympathetic understanding they convey about politics as a vocation surpasses a lot of the stuff sociologists have written on the subject.
The Chase, one of Arthur Penn's earliest films, moves into the Orson Welles complex on Sunday after The Roaring Twenties moves out. The Penn film has been pretty much ignored and underrated since it was made over 15 years ago, but it shows signs of Penn's later brilliance and is probably better than some of his more popular work. The cast for this laconic look at class conflict in the rural South includes Marlon Brando--playing the archetypal Southern sheriff--and young versions of Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. It's playing with G-Men, a film in which Jimmy Cagney switches from hood to FBI agent. Well, out of the pan and into the fire.
Animal Crackers, one of the earliest and funniest of the Marx Brothers movies, is playing at the Cheri in Boston after 18 years of being stored in the can. If you want to treat yourself to a nice, but expensive, present, definitely go see it.