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They get to discussing what state the train is speeding through. When Marco informs Rosie it’s Delaware, she replies, “I know. I was one of the original Chinese workmen who laid the track on this stretch.”
This bizarre encounter in The Manchurian Candidate, John Frankenheimer’s 1962 Cold War thriller, is one of the most enigmatic of all movie moments, one never fully explained. The late Roger Ebert saw it as Rosie testing Marco’s unconscious compliance as part of the film’s programmed assassin narrative; other critics have called the scene a red herring to further rattle an already unsteady audience.
The Manchurian Candidate is a classic of paranoia cinema. So is Bunny Lake Is Missing, Otto Preminger’s 1965 psychological thriller starring Laurence Olivier, Keir Dullea and Carol Lynley, about a mother’s desperate search for her vanished daughter in a London of intrigue and madness.
The two films are highlights of Restored! a TIFF Cinematheque program showcasing painstakingly crafted digital or 35 mm print restorations of beloved films. The series runs April 9 through 26 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Other significant films in the series include: Chantal Akerman’s feminist-minded Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), a modernist classic about three shattering days in life of a single mom turned part-time prostitute; Lino Brocka’s female revenge drama Insiang (1976), the first Filipino film chosen for the Cannes Film Festival; Kon Ichikawa’s Kabuki payback gender-bender An Actor’s Revenge (1963); King Hu’s wuxia epic A Touch of Zen (1971), Ang Lee’s inspiration for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; and the silent German cinema landmark Variety (1925), to be presented with William O’Meara’s live piano accompaniment.