For this week’s selection of movies, go back into the past and experience things in a new and different way. Pablo Larraín has audiences reimagine the assassination of John F. Kennedy through Jackie, a film about Jackie Kennedy after John F. Kennedy dies. 13th, directed by the Ava DuVernay, breaks down the 13th Amendment and what it means to be black in the U.S. Lastly, flashback to the 1950s and watch James Dean play in Rebel Without a Cause, a film he wouldn’t live to see released.
Dir. Pablo Larraín
Natalie Portman takes on one of her more drastic transformations in Jackie, the biographical drama of Jackie Kennedy and the days following the assassination of her husband, John F. Kennedy. The director, Pablo Larraín, does an amazing job of mixing together vintage film stock with the contemporary. The film itself is a touching look into the psyche of Jackie. In one scene, Portman has the titular character changing into multiple glamourous outfits, reminiscing to the tune of “Camelot (Reprise)” from the musical production of Camelot. While Oscar nominations haven’t come out yet, Indiewire predicts Portman will be nominated for Best Actress. Jackie is currently playing at Pickford Film Center.
Dir. Ava DuVernay
This American documentary focuses on systemic racism found in the U.S. around the time the 13th Amendment was introduced. Ava Duvernay is known for her 2014 film Selma. 13th was released at the 2016 New York Film Festival and according to Vulture, Duvernay was the first black woman to have a film open at the festival in its entire 53 year history. 13th features multiple interviews with different political activists, such as Angela Davis. As Vogue points out, the film starts with a clip of President Obama, who reminds viewers 25 percent of the world’s prisoners reside in the U.S. DuVernay’s documentary looks at how the nation got to this point and what changes can be made in the future. 13th can be found on Netflix.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Dir. Nicholas Ray
In one of James Dean’s last roles before his death, Rebel Without a Cause lives up to its icon status. Dean plays Jim Stark, a new kid in town who catches the eye of Buzz, Dawson High School’s bad boy. Jim befriends loner Plato, played by Sal Mineo, and their unlikely friendship helps Jim define what it means to be masculine. The film came out during the time of the infamous Hay’s Code, when much of cinema was censored. According to Indiewire, during filming, the Motion Picture Production Code sent a memo to Warner Brothers warning against any “inference of a questionable or homosexual relationship between Plato and Jim.” Rebel Without a Cause can be rented on Amazon Prime.