Tired of summer movies? Me neither. But to stretch your tastes a little, you may want to check out the movies that the UW Cinematheque (4070 UW Vilas Hall) has on tap. On Thursday nights, La Ville Africaine will offer recent looks at life in Algeria, Tunisia, Gabon and Cameroon - countries once ruled by France but now free to make their own way in the world. And on Friday nights, Sparkling Celluloid will offer programming culled from the archives of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.
That includes a rare screening of 1943's Mission to Moscow (July 12), which may have been Comrade Stalin's favorite Hollywood movie of all time. A rather blatant piece of pro-Soviet propaganda, it was designed to warm Americans' hearts toward our World War II allies, later to be known as the Evil Empire. And the movie might have been forgotten a long time ago if it hadn't been made by the same writing-directing team that delivered 1942's Casablanca. To paraphrase Bogie, "Play it again, Uncle Sam."
There will also be an evening devoted to classic episodes of "The Defenders" and "East Side, West Side" (July 26), two '60s TV shows with illustrious reputations, and an evening devoted to Chang Cheh's Brave Archer (Aug. 2), a late-'70s martial-arts epic. But before running out of space, I want to mention July 18's screening of Un été à La Goulette, a nostalgic Tunisian comedy in which three men - an Arab, a Jew and a Christian - would be living in harmony if not for the burgeoning sexuality of their teenage daughters.