State of Siege is far and away the best movie playing in Cambridge this weekend. Costa-Gavras, who made his mark with Z, follows his political understandings to their logical conclusion in this film about the kidnapping of an AID official in Latin America and comes up with a brilliant and controversial ideological statement. The movie was supposed to open in the United States at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, but the center's film director pulled it at the last moment because he thought it was too "anti-American." When the film opened in New York it won acclaim from most critics, but it was also blasted as out-and-out propaganda. Although Costa's latest effort clearly has its polemical dimensions, the film's picture of the effects of American involvement in Latin American affairs proved pretty true to the mark when the Chilean military overthrew the government of Salvador Allende just a few months after the movie's American premier. Costa's portrayal of the Tupamaros, Uruguay's urban guerilla group, is far from simple and far from idyllic. The movie, despite the charges of propaganda, is relatively hardnosed and intelligent compared to some of the documents that come out of Hollywood. Yves Montand, star of Z, takes on the new role of villain in this movie. The film was scripted by Franco Salinas, who also wrote the screen play for The Battle of Algiers. The film will be shown at the Science Center tonight and tomorrow at 7 and 9. Danny Schechter, BCN's politically-wise news dissector, will be on hand to talk about the reality of U.S. involvement in anti-revolutionary struggles in Latin America.
Love and Anarchy, Lina Wertmuller's new film about an ill-fated assassination attempt against Mussolini, is playing this week at the Allston Cinema on Harvard Ave. The film is extraordinarily, good on all counts, and it manages to be uplifting and heart-wrenching all at once. The would-be assassin, played wonderfully by Giancarlo Giannini, is a not too politically astute anarchist who takes on his task after seeing a friend of his murdered by the Fascists. While waiting to take his shot, he is cared for in a bordello where the film's best scenes take place. Wertmuller's movie works both as human drama and as a vehicle for raising political issues. The human elements are finely portrayed, the politics--primarily involving the question of personal sacrifice--often become confused and issues are never successfully resolved. But this is an important movie, one well worth seeing.
Mutiny on the Bounty begins a run at the Orson Welles on Sunday. This is the Brando version, and somehow he seems more comfortable on a motorcycle than he does on a ship. In any case Brando is as stunning as ever and the movie is a beautifully filmed epic. Considering what it could have been, the film is quite a decent historical account of despotism and rebellion.
Magical Mystery Tour, the Beatles not so great movie version of paradise, is back at the Welles for another weekend of midnight showings, but this time it's playing with a film record of an old-time Beatle's concert at N.Y.'s Shea Stadium.