Elaine May × 2
Screening Dates
New Restoration

One of Hollywood’s most epically maligned films now enjoys a decent measure of critical love, its comic virtues—and writer-director Elaine May’s formidable talents—better appreciated in retrospective. May’s madcap political satire casts Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman as untalented singer-songwriters caught up in a CIA-backed coup in the Middle Eastern country of Ishtar. Vittorio Storaro (The Conformist, Apocalypse Now) shot the film; Paul Williams composed its deliberately bad songs. Beatty had used pull to land May the directing gig, her first in a decade. The film, scandalously over budget and savaged by the press, bombed, ending May’s directorial career. “A loony, loopy bliss-out . . . An adventure that crosses an old Bob Hope and Bing Crosby road movie with a blistering sendup of American empire-building . . . Ishtar is a movie whose time is now” (Manohla Dargis, New York Times).

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