AJFF Recommends: What to Watch in March


From the big screen to the small, we have some ideas about what to watch this month. Among our recommendations is a TCM Fathom Special Event, a new documentary about Hollywood's finest directors during WWII, a Mel Brooks classic, and two Natalie Portman features.

In Theatres

All About Eve
TCM Big Screen Classics, Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Twentieth Century Fox are bringing this iconic film to select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day event, which also includes an introduction by a TCM host. The 1950 American drama film, written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, an ambitious young fan who insinuates herself into Channing's life, ultimately threatening Channing's career and her personal relationships. It was based on the 1946 short story "The Wisdom of Eve" by Mary Orr, although screen credit was not given for it. 


Blazing Saddles
Not so long ago, during our Gene Wilder In Memoriam series, AJFF screened this 1974 satirical western comedy, directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was also written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. It is one of Wilder's most memorable roles, and a classic of Jewish comedic cinema, but for all its laughs, Brooks has stated the film was written from a place of anger "white corruption, racism, and Bible-thumping bigotry."

You can always find out more about the film from our previous article, Things You May Not Know About: Blazing Saddles, but best of all, you can view the classic on Netflix starting this month.

Five Came Back
This new Netflix original documentary series, landing on March 31, is based on the book of the same name by Mark Harris. Directed by Laurent Bouzereau, it tells the story of how some of Hollywood's leading directors ended up dispatched by the U.S. military to capture what was going on in combat zones during World War II. John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra and George Stevens – each sent back home movies that shaped American perceptions of the war, and affected the films they'd make going forward.

The series, narrated by Meryl Streep, draws on over 100 hours of archival footage and turns to filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo Del Toro, Paul Greengrass and inaugural  AJFF Icon honoree Lawrence Kasdan to speak to the legacies of the five. 

DVD & Blu-Ray

A Tale of Love and Darkness
Natalie Portman's directorial debut is based on Amos Oz's acclaimed memoir. The Israeli writer is considered by  many as the country's greatest living author, and certainly the most famous. The film covers his early life growing up in 1940s Jerusalem, his relationship with his mother (played by Portman, who steps in front of the camera as well), and his beginnings as a journalist and novelist. After optioning the film rights to the book (over tea with Oz and his wife), Portman took eight years to write the script adaptation and secure funding.

Want more Natalie Portman? This biographical drama stars the actress, in an Oscar nominated and confident performance, as the former first lady. Following her life after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963, Jackie also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, and John Hurt. After scoring accolades at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals, it also picked up Oscar nominations for its score and period-perfect costume design (the category it won a BAFTA for).