(Alfonso Cuarón, US/UK 2006, 109 min., 35mm)
Primal Screen. With an almost prophetic look at the refugee crisis in Europe and the United Kingdom’s retreat into Brexit-style isolationism, Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón (Y tu mama también, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) turned P. D. James’s 1992 dystopian novel into his sixth and most politically charged film, a breathtaking hybrid of fantasy, action thriller, and allegorical tale. The story is set in a world without children, mired in religious violence, authoritarianism, and despair (as denounced by Michael Caine in a memorable scene). This is also a cinematic tour de force of the highest order, an ideal prologue to the weightless camera sequences in the award-winning Gravity (2013), Cuarón’s latest film. Watch out for the long climactic sequence where birth and death collide in an endless single shot with a handheld camera, an inspired masterpiece of poetry and technology from the film’s director of photography, Emmanuel Lubezki. Special presentation by Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator, Moving Image Department.