Capsule reviews of what's at the Cinematheque this weekend

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The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque is showing several great movies this weekend. We reviewed a few of them in this week's paper. In case you missed them, here they are again:

8760/1242316859-top_plays_87.jpg Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 (US, 2008) You don’t have to be a football enthusiast to enjoy Kevin Rafferty’s (The Atomic Cafe) terrifically entertaining documentary about the storied gridiron match-up between Harvard and Yale on November 23, 1968, that ended in a 29-29 tie after underdog Harvard scored 16 points during the game’s final 42 seconds. Disarmingly candid, frequently hilarious interviews with many of the former players, including Crimson alumnus Tommy Lee Jones are interspersed with the footage of the game. By contextualizing the game within the political maelstrom that was 1968 — the two teams included SDS as well as ROTC members — Rafferty makes this more than just an amusing footnote in the annals of college sports history. As a time capsule of a recent period in American history, Harvard Beats Yale is both inspiring and profoundly moving. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 7 p.m. Thursday, May 14. *** (Milan Paurich)

eec5/1242317275-mishima-1-450.jpg Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (US, 1985) Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader’s knotty biopic juxtaposes the life of Japanese writer Yukio Mishima with stories from three of his novels. It’s a neat and sometimes confusing trick, since Mishima’s books were mostly autobiographical affairs that explored his obsessions with beauty and death. Schrader does his best to juggle his ambitious film by framing the biographical narrative in black and white and the stories in color. It gets complicated at the conclusion, when Mishima’s ritual suicide inside a military academy bleeds into one of his idealistic political tales. But Mishima makes its point: The line between art and real life is a thin one. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 9:15 p.m. Friday, May 15, and 6:45 p.m. Sunday, May 17. *** (Michael Gallucci)

3f43/1242317156-triplets-of-belleville_l.jpg The Triplets of Belleville (France/Belgium/Canada/Britain, 2003) You don’t have to speak French (or any language) to be drawn into Belleville Rendezvous, the dazzling, fantastical animation that was first feature by Sylvain Chomet and a brief rally (hopefully not the last hurrah) for singularly eccentric hand-drawn cartoons. The sublimely imaginative plot concerns a diminutive, mute, indominatable grandma of a would-be Tour de France bicyclist. After her grandson is kidnapped, the heroine (with faithful hound Bruno) pursues the square-shouldered perpetrators all the way to distant Belleville, a sprawling metropolis - named for, but not resembling, a district of Paris. The title Triplets are three key allies she makes along the way, 1930s star night-club entertainers (a la the Andrews Sisters) now living in reduced circumstances as an occasional stage novelty act but persevering in happy subsistence on an all-frog diet. Yes, some of the absurd riffs on French stereotypes and culture here would probably bring a smile to Dr. Goebbles’ face, but don’t let that prevent you from enjoying Chomet’s uniquely fantastical flights of whimsy, sound and vision. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 15, and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16. *** 1/2 (Charles Cassady Jr.)

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