1999. USA. Dir: Alexander Payne. With Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon. 102 min. 35mm print.
The search for a new class president takes on all the desperation and intrigue of an actual election cycle when a popular teacher meddles with an overachiever determined to win. As the vote draws nearer and personal lives begin to unravel, Payne’s pitch-black comedy paints a perfect picture of political pettiness.
1964. UK/USA. Dir: Stanley Kubrick. With Peter Sellers. 94 min. 35mm print.
When a trigger-happy general orders a nuclear attack on the USSR, the POTUS and his advisors race against the clock to prevent doomsday. Kubrick’s grimly farcical take on nuclear conflict presents a parade of over-the-top megalomaniacs, including Sellers (of The Pink Panther fame) in three different roles.
1940. USA. Dir: Charles Chaplin. With Paulette Goddard. 125 min.
A Jewish war vet walks out of a hospital for the first time in 20 years to find his shop boarded up, the police replaced with brown-shirted thugs, and his homeland run by a loudmouthed buffoon ranting about making the country great again. Chaplin breaks his career-long silent to speak out against the growing menace of fascism, fusing slapstick with an earnest plea for compassion.