Only Yesterday

The extraordinary 1930s soap operas of John M. Stahl marry a sincere belief in the power of melodrama with an almost Ozu-like stylistic purity. Based on the same Stefan Zweig novel that would later yield Max Ophüls’s Letter from an Unknown Woman, this startlingly pre-Code study of masochistic desire stars Margaret Sullavan (in her film debut) as the “one who does not forget,” a woman whose one-night stand with a callow World War I soldier (John Boles) leaves her with a son and a lifetime of unrequited romantic yearning. In contrast to the florid gestures of Ophüls’s vision, Stahl achieves overwhelming heartbreak through elegant restraint.

Playing on December 13 & 30 in 35mm.