Dark Ages

Volker Schlöndorff, filmmaker and proponent of the New German Cinema, might be best remembered for his Oscar-winning turn as director of The Tin Drum in 1979, but 1976's Coup de Grâce, filmed in black and white and set amid post-revolutionary turmoil in the Baltics, avoids that film's crazy bombast for subtler but equally dark messages.

Schlöndorff's onetime wife, Margarethe von Trotta, helped write the screenplay and skillfully plays the rebel Sophie in this story, which pits Czarist and Bolshevik parties against one another. What's left in the end is perhaps a foreshadowing of things to come in Europe in the following decades.

Coup de Grâce screens at 2 p.m. today at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, as part of the Tattered Cover's ongoing monthly series offering free classic films curated and introduced by Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz; though there is no admission fee, tickets are required and can be reserved at the box office beginning one hour before showtime. Go to denverfilm.org or call 720-381-0813 for details.
Sun., Feb. 2, 2 p.m., 2014

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd