Cinematic specificity

The Oak Street Cinema screens the greatest films of all time

by Tom Horgen

This can never be said enough: Movie-going in the Twin Cities wouldn’t be the same without the Oak Street Cinema.

Since 1995, the little movie palace has given film-lovers the chance to see classic, independent and foreign films in the way they were meant to be seen: on the big screen.

To celebrate its 10 years in existence, the theater is screening some of its favorite films. Many are considered some of the best films ever made. The movies span the gamut from old-school masterpieces such as “Yojimbo” and “Rio Bravo” to 1970s works like “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Manhattan.”

While the retrospective has already started at Oak Street Cinema, there are still two weeks left and 14 more films to see. Here are A&E’s must-see picks:

“Jules et Jim”
7:30 p.m. Friday – Sunday

Francois Truffaut’s 1962 film is universally acclaimed by critics but often misunderstood. While many of these experts will tell you this is a love story about two men lusting after the same woman, “Jules et Jim” really isn’t that straight-forward. The real couple in this French New Wave breakthrough is – as the title suggests – Jules and Jim.

9:45 p.m. Friday – Sunday, 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Fans of Quentin Tarantino would be smart to catch this maverick film. Tarantino wasn’t the first to redefine Hollywood with its own tools. Jean-Luc Godard’s 1959 film first criticizes Hollywood’s formulaic conventions and then uses them to carve out an edgy gangster drama that pokes fun at everything, including itself. Sound familiar?

“Nights of Cabiria”
7:20 p.m. Monday and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday

Federico Fellini has been called a master for giving us such films as “8 1/2” and “La Dolce Vita” but rarely for this overlooked 1957 gem. In it, a prostitute named Cabiria endures the viciousness of patriarchy but still manages to find her humanity. From a director who prided himself on visual grandeur, “Nights of Cabiria” is one of his most beautiful films. It also contains one of the best shots in cinema history. Look for it; Alfred Hitchcock ripped it off threes years later in “Psycho.”

“The Bicycle Thief”
9:40 p.m. Monday and 7:30 Tuesday

Not many films are both this painful and this life-affirming. You’ll want to be a better person after watching Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 master work. It’s the story of a poor man who must steal a bicycle to get to work and feed his young son. The look on his son’s face – after seeing his father caught and condemned by an angry mob for stealing the bike – will stay with you forever.