Lubitsch’s last film, Cluny Brown, closed out a career of insouciant brilliance with one of his most delightful romantic comedies — albeit one that darkens slightly with the looming spectre of figuring out how to live in a changed world post-World War II. A sparkling Jennifer Jones portrays the titular character, an orphan who finds a gig as a maid at an upper-class British estate and who also just so happens to possess an unusual genius that transgresses all expectations of class and gender. Faced with the disapproval of proper English society, Cluny makes an alliance of outcasts with Adam Belinksi, a Czech intellectual played by the always elegant Charles Boyer. You can only imagine what hijinks ensue.
Paired with Janie Geiser’s shorts – The Secret Story and Babel Town – Cluny Brown reveals the strange, funny, and sublime work of female genius — along with the perils that come with trying to express it fully in a world that’s ambivalent to it at best and hostile at worst.
We will be showing a 16mm print of Lubitsch’s film lent to us by our friends at Kinonik, with the permission of distributor Criterion Pictures. The 16mm prints of the Janie Geiser come to us from Filmmakers Cooperative.
This very special show has been guest curated by Hannah Kinney-Kobre.