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The Age of Innocence 

When: Aug. 9-10 2014
The antiheroes of Martin Scorsese’s movies often inhabit a world where everybody else but them seems to belong: It’s as true of Travis Bickle or Rupert Pupkin as it is of Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), the mockingly named protagonist of Edith Wharton’s novel, an upper-crust 1870s Manhattanite whose nonconformist yearnings are stirred by a dishonored countess (Michelle Pfeiffer) until the social ranks close around him with icy finality. The mid-19th century timeframe is roughly the same as that of Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, and so is the intensity of the tribalism — except the tribe here maintains the hierarchy with cold silences and withheld invitations instead of brickbats and cleavers. Regardless, the violence that registers in these gestures is no less devastating, even as suppressed passion seethes in cinematographer Michael Ballhaus’ every exquisitely lit frame. Each gesture carries weight and consequence — one reason the unbuttoning of a glove in this PG-rated film remains the most potently erotic sequence in the director’s career. I’d count it among the four or five most gorgeous movies I’ve ever seen: Don’t miss this digital restoration on the big screen, where the eruptions of Michael Powell-esque color suggest the sudden onset of spring — before the hero is sent abruptly to his fall. JIM RIDLEY


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