Scientific examination takes on a strange, sensual quality in Augustine, a daring French drama about the rocky clinical relationship between 19th-century neurologist Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon) and his star teenage patient. Director Alice Winocour's intense focus on the human body allows this tone to flourish, whether it's the way legs contort during a seizure or how the back stiffens when stricken with paralysis. Roving up and down limbs in suffocating close-ups, the camera studies every inch of the conflicted housemaid Augustine (Soko) as she experiences both of these physical maladies caused by what Charcot labels "female hysteria."
Suffering is a consistent theme in Augustine, which screens for one week at the Ken Cinema, starting Friday, June 28. It's most brutally expressed in the film's frank opening shot of crabs attempting to crawl out of a boiling pot of water. Seconds later, while serving guests at a posh dinner party, Augustine keels over and starts flopping around on the ground, seemingly possessed by an unseen demon. The onlookers stand motionless, as if their humanity has been completely buried under the hierarchy of class. Later, when Charcot presents Augustine to his scientific colleagues as a kind of patient zero for his scientific thesis, we get the same impression that the act of observing the less fortunate is something of a sport for the wealthy.
The division between rich and poor is further explored, albeit more specifically, in the intense relationship between the two lead characters.
"You use big words to say simple things," Augustine tells Charcot, lambasting him for his pretentious and obscure description of her disease. This is just one of the many moments when a character hides behind the disguise of understanding, opting to present a questionable truth rather than publicly admit they might be faking it. Augustine's great triumph is that she realizes this before her body becomes completely objectified for the good of science.
Augustine: A young French housemaid is admitted to an experimental hospital for mentally ill women after she is stricken with bouts of sexual hysteria. This 19th-century period piece screens for one week at the Ken Cinema.
Byzantium: Director Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire) returns his attention to the lives of bloodsuckers in this elegant and stylish thriller about two immortal women forced to reconcile their past and present. See our review on Page 22.
Free the Mind: This documentary follows Professor Richard J. Davidson, one of the world's leading neuroscientists who explores compassion and kindness with the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety.
La Camioneta: This documentary follows the journey of decommissioned American school buses repaired, repainted and resurrected for daily use in Guatemala. Screens through July 7 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
The Heat: Yet another riff on the classic buddy comedy, this time starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as polar-opposite cops tasked with capturing a brutal drug lord. From Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.
The Lesser Blessed: A singular coming-of-age story, co-starring Benjamin Bratt, that follows a teenager in Canada attempting to resolve his internal rage caused by a dark past. Screens through July 4 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Redemption: Jason Statham's ex-soldier punches and kicks his way through London's criminal underworld and becomes an avenging angel in the process.
Unfinished Song: A bitter curmudgeon (Terrence Stamp) is encouraged by his wife (Vanessa Redgrave) to join a local seniors choir and find his inner song in this charming comedic drama from director Paul Andrew Williams.
White House Down: Yippy-ki-yay, Magic Mike! Channing Tatum does his best John McClane impersonation when terrorists storm the White House and take the president (Jamie Foxx) hostage. Helmed by disaster-movie-director extraordinaire Roland Emmerich (Independence Day).
One Time Only
Carnival of Souls: A mysterious abandoned carnival becomes an attractive asylum for a broken woman traumatized by an accident. Screens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at the Mission Valley Library.
A Bucket of Blood: Roger Corman's classic horror film, about an artist whose lust for fame leads him to madness. Presented by Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, it screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
The Goonies: Join Chunk, Sloth and the rest of the rag-tag gang in this playful 1980s adventure tale. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido.
Sex and the City: All the world's a fashion runway in this movie adaptation of the popular HBO comedy series starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Munch: Munch 150: Go behind the scenes at the National Gallery and Munch Museum in Oslo as art curators and professionals put on a massive exhibition celebrating the famous painter behind The Scream. Screens at various area theaters at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 27. Check fathomevents.com for details.
Drive-By Cinema @ Space 4 Art: A selection of short films originally curated by the San Diego Asian Film Festival and The Film Consortium will be presented on a mobile screen in the Space 4 Art back lot. It starts at 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 28.
Raising Arizona: Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter star as desperate baby-snatchers on the run from insane bounty hunters in this screwball comedy by directors Joel and Ethan Coen. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Hotel Transylvania: In this animated children's film, classic horror monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein run a ghoulish resort in peace until a young boy disrupts their routine. Screens at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Santa Clara Recreation Center at Mission Bay.
Double Indemnity: Watch gullible insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) fall prey to a beautiful serpent (Barbara Stanwyck) in Billy Wilder's classic film noir. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Kung Fu Panda: Jack Black's titular panda practices the way of the gut in this clever play on the classic kung-fu story. Screens at 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, July 2 and 3, at Reading Grossmont and Town Square Cinemas.
Shaun of the Dead: The zombie apocalypse has never been as darkly comic as it is in Edgar Wright's wonderfully inventive genre hybrid debut. Starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, at Stone World Brewing Bistro & Gardens in Escondido.
Top Gun: Maverick and Goose need you to be their wingman and play some suggestive beach volleyball. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
The Amazing Spider Man: High school is rough, even for Spidey (Andrew Garfield), who gets all angsty in this action-packed reboot of America's classic web-slinging hero. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, on the U.S.S. Midway.
Jaws: See the iconic man-eating shark wreak havoc the way Steven Spielberg intended: on the biggest screen possible. Presented by Forty Foot Films it screens at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas. Check back at readingcinemasus.com for times.
The Bling Ring: Sofia Coppola takes aim at our celebrity-obsessed culture in a film based on true events surrounding a string of high profile thefts in Beverly Hills.
Dirty Wars: Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill documents the brutal secret war being waged by U.S. special forces in Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.
Midnight's Children: This lush visual epic from Indian director Deepa Mehta follows the stories of two boys switched at birth. Screens at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Monsters University: Professional frighteners and quibbling buddies Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) are back for Pixar's first-ever prequel set during their wild college days.
Much Ado About Nothing: The Avengers director Joss Whedon steps out of his comfort zone and updates the Bard's classically romantic skirmish of wits with this jazzy black-and-white ensemble piece.
The Painting: Director Jean-Francois Laguionie explores class division and inequality in this inventive animated parable about the lives of multiple characters living inside a painting. Ends June 27 at the Ken Cinema.
Stolen Seas: An unflinching and complex documentary about the Somali piracy trade and culture. Screens through June 27 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
World War Z: The zombie apocalypse is in full swing as Brad Pitt attempts to save the world from certain demise. It's based on the popular graphic novel by Max Brooks.
The East: Brit Marling leads an impressive cast of indie-film regulars, including Ellen Paige and Alexander Skarsgård, in this story about a covert eco-terrorist group aiming for high-profile corporate targets.
Man of Steel: Director Zach Snyder (300, Watchmen) attempts yet another reboot of the Superman origin story with Henry Cavill sporting the famous tights and Amy Adams cracking wise as Lois Lane.
This is the End: It's the end of the world as we know it, and the Judd Apatow reunion tour feels just fine. Directed by Seth Rogen, this comedy apocalypse is sure to include multiple plumes of ganja smoke.
Fill the Void: An 18-year-old Orthodox woman in Tel Aviv sees her imminent arranged marriage fall to pieces when her older sister dies during childbirth.
The Internship: Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson try to re-train themselves in the digital age with a Google internship. Prepare yourself for Lewinsky jokes.
The Kings of Summer: Three teenage boys, sick to tears of their parents, build a house in the woods and run away for the summer.
The Purge: In the not-too-distant future, the government declares all crime legal for a 12-hour period, hoping to thin the herd of humanity. That's too bad for married couple Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, who, along with their children, are taken hostage by some seriously bad guys.
Wish You Were Here: Joel Edgerton stars in this smart, well-told Aussie drama about a vacation gone seriously wrong.
After Earth: In M. Knight Shyamalan's movie, it's 1,000 years since humanity was forced off of Earth. Now, a father (Will Smith) and son (his son Jaden) are forced to return, as the son has to undergo a dangerous journey to save the father.
Before Midnight: Almost two decades after Richard Linklater teamed up with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy on the romantic fantasy Before Sunrise, the trio comes together for the final film of the trilogy. Jessie and Celine aren't as young as they used to be, and that makes it the best of all of them.
Now You See Me: Four illusionists—Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco—pull off amazing heists against the 1 percent and give the money to the rest of us.
Epic: Animated flick about a young girl who teams up with a ragtag collection of characters to save the world. It features the voices of folks like Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Beyoncé, Colin Farrell and the guy who voiced Bender on Futurama.
Fast & Furious 6: Surprisingly, No. 5 was the best of the bunch. This time, Dwayne Johnson brings Vin Diesel and Paul Walker on board to try to take down a former special-forces guy (Luke Evans) who's all about vehicular warfare. There's already a No. 7 in the works.
Frances Ha: The new one from Noah Baumbach stars Greta Gerwig as a New Yorker who couch-surfs, apprentices for a dance company without being a dancer and is generally an odd duck. Ends June 27 at the Ken Cinema.
The Hangover Part III: Drink, drank, drunk.
Star Trek: Into Darkness: The sequel to J.J. Abrams' rollicking reboot feels more like a summer blockbuster than a vital part of the Trek universe. Still, it's always good to see Benedict Cumberbatch on the big screen.
The Great Gatsby: Baz Luhrmann, who made Moulin Rouge, takes on the American literary classic. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in this tale of class warfare.
Love is All You Need: A Danish hairdresser (Trine Dyrholm) who's lost her hair to cancer travels to Italy for her daughter's wedding, where she meets Pierce Brosnan, an angry widower and the father of her soon-to-be son-in-law.
Iron Man 3: The summer blockbuster season kicks off with that snarky Tony Stark saving our ungrateful hides once again.
Kon-Tiki: New film about Thor Heyerdal's 1947 ocean adventure, in which he sailed across the ocean on a balsa raft to prove that South Americans were able to cross in pre-Columbian times.
42: Biopic about the baseball player who wore that number, which has been retired by every single Major League team. Spoiler: It's Jackie Robinson.
Rocky Mountain Express: The IMAX theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center was recently overhauled. This latest entry takes viewers through the Canadian Rockies without leaving San Diego.
Cosmic Collisions: So, that asteroid that might smash into Earth in 20 years is much bigger than previously thought? Awesome. This new IMAX movie at the Reuben H. Fleet looks at what happens when things bash into each other in outer space. On the bright side, if we go the way of the dinosaurs, at least future species will have a new source of fossil fuels.
Flight of the Butterflies: It turns out Monarch butterflies are much like SDSU students—every year, thousands of them head to Mexico. This IMAX film captures their beautiful trip. The butterflies, that is.
To the Arctic 3-D: Cute-animal-movie alert No. 2. Meryl Streep narrates this new IMAX movie about a mama polar bear and her two cubs.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.