23 Films to See This Week: Redford, Bonello, Cassavetes + More

This week, enjoy a ton of great films playing around the city. Check out everything from Robert Redford and Bertrand Bonello at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and BAM’s amazing series The Vertigo Effect to Bruce LaBruce at MoMA. Here are the 23 films you should be seeing in New York from now until Thursday.

***MONDAY, APRIL 27***

PAL JOEY, George Sidney
BAM

One year before Vertigo, Kim Novak starred in another San Francisco-set story about a man caught between a blonde and a redhead. Pal Joey is a cynical showbiz musical about a wise-guy nightclub singer (Sinatra) who falls for a chorus girl (Novak) while wooing a former burlesque queen (Hayworth). Novak does a slinky striptease as Sinatra croons Rodgers and Hart standards like “The Lady is a Tramp” and “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.”

READ MORE 

PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, William Dieterie
BAM

A ghost, a painting, and a love that transcends physical boundaries: this supernatural romance anticipates Vertigo as a New York City painter (Cotten) falls in love with an ethereal young woman (Jones) who may have died decades earlier. The atmospheric camerawork heightens the mystical mood, particularly in the delirious, green-tinted hurricane climax.

READ MORE 

THE DRAGON IS THE FRAME, Mary Helena Clark
BAM

This experimental puzzle film is an elegy for the late queer artist Mark Aguhar that invokes Vertigo in its investigation of absence and loss.

READ MORE 

ORDINARY PEOPLE, Robert Redford
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

In his first foray as a director, Redford adapts Judith Guest’s novel with sensitivity and insight. The picture-perfect Jarrett family of Lake Forest, Illinois, is torn apart by the accidental death of their eldest son and the survivor’s guilt of younger brother Conrad (Timothy Hutton), who believes that their detached mother, Beth (Mary Tyler Moore), wishes he’d been the one to die. Making his feature debut, Hutton offers a shattering portrait of grief and teenage angst, becoming the youngest male Oscar winner to date, and Moore subverts her sunny TV persona with a brilliant rendering of withheld affection. Donald Sutherland, Judd Hirsch, and newcomer Elizabeth McGovern complete the cast in this delicate character study, which earned Oscars for Best Picture, Screenplay, and Redford’s direction. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

READ MORE 

THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, Sydney Pollack
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

In the wake of Watergate, Sydney Pollack and Redford reunite on this consummately executed and all-too-believable thriller. Redford is Joseph Turner (aka Condor), a reader for the CIA whose low-level job involves entering data into computers to see if secret codes have been leaked. Discovering a plot within the agency that leads to the murder of his colleagues, he must go on the lam like so many Hitchcock heroes before him. With stellar support from Max von Sydow as an assassin, Cliff Robertson and John Houseman as deadly government officials, and Faye Dunaway as a woman Turner abducts and who winds up aiding his escape. (In her memoir Dunaway later wrote, “I’m sorry but the idea of being kidnapped and ravaged by Robert Redford was anything but frightening.”)

READ MORE 

THE WAY WE WERE, Sydney Pollack
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

With an Oscar-nominated performance in the Best Picture–winning grifter comedy The Sting, and the leading role in one of cinema’s most beloved tearjerkers, The Way We Were, 1973 was a watershed year for Redford. In Sydney Pollack’s film, Redford plays Hubbell Gardiner, a carefree collegiate WASP who meets coed Marxist firebrand Katie Morosky (Barbra Streisand). She deplores his apathy; his friends find her insufferable. Thus begins a decades-long love affair, spanning World War II and the Red Scare. Marvin Hamlisch won a pair of Oscars for his work on the film—one for his original score, and one for co-writing the immortal theme song, now a Streisand standard.

READ MORE 

HUSTLER WHITE, Bruce LaBruce
MoMA

1996. USA. Directed by Bruce LaBruce, Rick Castro. With LaBruce, Tony Ward, Kevin P. Scott, Ivar Johnson, Glen Meadmore, Ron Athey. Cinematography by James Carman. Hustler White, which LaBruce codirected with famed fetish photographer Rick Castro, begins with a man floating face down in a jacuzzi. It’s an image straight out of Sunset Boulevard, and the film is likewise a tale of obsessive desire on the margins of Hollywood. LaBruce stars in his own film once again, this time as the sardonic, queeny writer Jürgen Anger, who has come to California to pursue research for a book about sex workers. Upon arrival he becomes transfixed by one hustler in particular, whom he pursues throughout the film, and the directors pepper this chase with a series of remarkable vignettes that inventory all manner of sex-for-hire scenarios (cowboy role-playing, amputee fantasies, etc.). Filmed along Santa Monica Boulevard and in iconic hooker hangouts like the Yukon Mining Company, Hustler White is at once an unlikely romance and a raunchy ethnography of trick-turning. 79 min.

READ MORE 

PIERROT LUNAIRE, Bruce LaBruce
MoMA

2014. Germany. Directed by Bruce LaBruce. With Susanne Sachsse, Maria Ivanenko, Boris Lisowski, Krishna Kumar Krishnan. Invited by the conductor Premil Petrovic to stage Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, a musical theater work from 1912 based on the poems of Albert Giraud, LaBruce transposed a strange and tragic episode of true crime onto the composition. Complementing the original atonal score is a narrative about a trans man who is outed by his girlfriend’s father and forbidden from seeing the young woman again. Crestfallen, the protagonist decides to prove the fact of his manhood by castrating a taxi driver and then revealing his newly transplanted member to the two of them. This story, which for LaBruce “serves as a kind of allegory for all gender radicals and outcasts driven to extremes by the disapproval and hostility of the dominant order,” is rendered in a visual style that nods to the era of Schoenberg’s melodrama. LaBruce cheekily appropriates the formal vocabulary of silent cinema with black-and-white photography, irises, and intertitles like “A cock, a cock, my kingdom for a cock!” 51 min.

READ MORE 

***TUESDAY, APRIL 28***

SUGAR COOKIES, Theodore Gershuny
BAM

Vertigo meets 70s sexploitation at its most far out. The lesbian lover (cult star Woronov) of a murdered porn star (Lowry) molds a young actress (also Lowry) into a replica of the dead woman. Oliver Stone associate-produced this soft-core brainteaser, which boasts grimy 70s New York atmosphere galore, an appearance by Warhol superstar Ondine, and a score by electronic music pioneer Gershon Kingsley.

READ MORE 

GLORIA, John Cassavetes
FIAF

A one-time showgirl and sometimes mob mistress, Gloria is tough and loud, just like her wardrobe. Packing a gun alongside her beloved Emanuel Ungaro skirt suits, Gloria and her 9-year-old neighbor find themselves on the run through the gritty streets of 1980s New York in this action-packed drama.

READ MORE

WAY DOWN EAST, Rene Clement
Film Forum

(1952) “Michel! Michel! Michel!” France 1940, and as a refugee column trudges along a country road, a dog makes a break for it, with its tiny blonde mistress in pursuit — and then the German fighters strike. But if 5-year-old Brigitte Fossey’s understanding of death is limited as she strokes her mother’s cold face, at least she can bury the dog discarded by her peasant rescuers, aided by 11-year-old farm boy Georges Poujouly. And as they build a special, secret friendship, their pet cemetery in the midst of death steadily grows, topped by crosses stolen from graveyards, even as the adults play their own games of buffoonish, grotesque peasant feuds… And then Fossey (“in a performance that rips the heart out” – The New York Times) shouts his name again. Adapted by the legendary team of Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost from François Boyer’s successful-in-America novel, with a haunting hit score played by guitar virtuoso Narciso Yepes, the ultimately beautiful, hilarious and disturbing Games initially did so-so box office and screened only on the fringes of the Cannes Festival, then nearly got shut out of Venice — where it promptly won its top prize, the Golden Lion — and then became a worldwide art house smash and Clément’s second Best Foreign Film Oscar winner (following the previous year’s The Walls of Malapaga). Approx. 87 min. DCP.

READ MORE

HARD TO BE A GOD, Aleksi Guerman
Anthology Film Archives

Anthology’s premiere theatrical run of Aleksei Guerman’s ultimate film, HARD TO BE A GOD, was a smashing success this past January, so we’re heeding the call and bringing it back for these special encore screenings. If you missed it the first time around, don’t let it get away again!

READ MORE 

***WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29***

HIGH ANXIETY, Mel Brooks
BAM

Mel Brooks sends up every Hitchcockian trick in the book in this manic satire in which he stars as an acrophobic psychiatrist who discovers sinister goings-on at the Institute for the Very, Very Nervous. Not only does Brooks riff gleefully on iconic scenes from North by Northwest, The Birds, Spellbound, Vertigo, and more, but he also nails the look and feel of Hitchcock’s work, right down to the use of music and dolly shots.

READ MORE

SPECIAL EFFECTS, Larry Cohen
BAM

Pulp auteur Larry Cohen offers a sleazy exploitation take on Hitchcockian malice in this lurid psychosexual thriller about a director (Bogosian) who murders an aspiring starlet (Ms. 45 star Lund) on camera and then creates a movie around the crime, casting a lookalike actress (Lund again) to play his victim. Cohen deploys an intricate film-within-a-film structure to explore the disturbing implications of moviemaking as the ultimate fetishistic fantasy.

READ MORE 

PHOENIX, Christian Petzold
BAM

In postwar Berlin, a disfigured concentration-camp survivor (Hoss), unrecognizable after facial reconstruction surgery, searches ravaged postwar Berlin for the husband (Zehrfeld) who might have betrayed her to the Nazis. Raising troubling questions about identity, self-delusion, and traumas both personal and historical, German auteur Petzold (Barbara, Yella) invokes Hitchcock’s masterpiece to gut-wrenching effect as he guides this spellbinding noir-melodrama to a shattering climax. Courtesy of Sundance Selects.

READ MORE 

SAINT LAURENT, Bertrand Bornello
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Bonello’s latest feature focuses on a dark, hedonistic, wildly creative decade (from 1967 to ’77) in Yves Saint Laurent’s life and career. Over the course of the film, the couturier—convincingly embodied first by Gaspard Ulliel, and later by Visconti stalwart Helmut Berger—becomes a myth, a brand, and an avatar of his era, moving through a string of hothouse ateliers and nightclubs whose centers of gravity all seem to realign around him. Bonello’s primary interest here, however, is cinema’s potential to capture and warp the passage of time. Saint Laurent is a kaleidoscopic torrent of lavish excess, retrospectively pieced together with a Proustian form of fast-and-loose association—and a delirious twist on the modern biopic’s rules and limitations. An NYFF52 selection. A Sony Pictures Classics release.

READ MORE 

PAULINE AT THE BEACH, Eric Rohmer
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

“He who talks too much will damage himself.” Rohmer won Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival for this unforgettable tale of a 15-year-old girl (Amanda Langlet) learning the ways of grown-ups during a summer holiday with her beautiful divorcée cousin (Arielle Dombasle). The unrequited love, idle lust, and general folly of adults are backlit against the sincerity and curiosity of the observant teen. The Brittany misadventures are rendered in Nestor Almendros’s seaside photography, in his final collaboration with Rohmer. The third of Rohmer’s Comedies and Proverbs films also stars Pascal Greggory and Féodor Atkine.

READ MORE 

THE DRIVER’S SEAT, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi
Nitehawk Cinema

Mental instability, sexual deviance, and a whole lot of smeared makeup: Giuseppe Patroni Griffi’s low budget arty film The Driver’s Seat (aka Identikit and Psychotic) shows Elizabeth Taylor giving a whole new meaning to a woman on the edge. Her completely mad character “Lise” travels to Rome in search of men for sex and then for…stabbing her with a knife. Based on the novella by Muriel Spark, this film is an overlooked affair complete with deranged performances, police investigators and even Andy Warhol as a British lord(!). It is without a doubt one in the Liz Taylor cannon of madness to know.

READ MORE 

***THURSDAY, APRIL 30***

FULL MOON IN PARIS, Eric Rohmer
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

“He who has two women loses his soul; he who has two houses loses his mind.” In Rohmer’s fourth Comedies and Proverbs film, Louise, a young interior decorator (Venice Film Festival Best Actress winner Pascale Ogier), keeps two residences—one with her boyfriend, Remi, and one without. She chases the freedom of the single life in her Paris pied-à-terre, while Remi stays in the other residence, seemingly a homebody. Rohmer’s finely drawn characterization brings out the confusions and small devotions that complicate a familiar paradox, rarely rendered with such subtlety and maturity. With Fabrice Lucchini as Louise’s friend. A Film Movement release.

READ MORE 

THE PORNOGRAPHER, Bertrand Bonello
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Bonello emerged as a major filmmaker with this ambitious, tragic meditation on what would become two of his recurring obsessions: the use of sex as economic capital, and the post-’68 state of political radicalism in France. Jean-Pierre Léaud, in a variation on his role in Olivier Assayas’s Irma Vep, plays an aging filmmaker struggling to adapt to a new mode of cinematic production—but in this case, his favored genre is pornography. He’s hoping to reconnect with his estranged son and, at the same time, complete his erotic masterpiece despite the interventions of a crude producer. His inability to realize either hope is, in Bonello’s eyes, a kind of national failure. A film of tough love and great intelligence, The Pornographer laid the groundwork for many of Bonello’s later achievements.

READ MORE 

PRINT SCREEN: CORINA COPP and ‘THE GREEN RAY’
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

In Jules Verne’s 1882 novel Le Rayon Vert, good niece Helena Campbell searches the Scotland Hebrides hoping to see a rare optical phenomenon—a green flash that, when seen as the last ray of color sinks below the horizon line as the sun sets over the sea, affords its viewer a heightened perception, or a deepening of the ability to read “true feeling.” This quest to see, or feel, or love, has generated several avant-gardist green flashes: Raymond Roussel’s “skin of the parting beneath the point of the green pencil” (“le crayon vert”); The Green Box, Marcel Duchamp’s preliminary notes for The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (also known as The Large Glass); a 1965 short story by Alain Robbe-Grillet called “The Shore” (later to become his novel Le Voyeur); and, finally, the wandering, idle Delphine in Eric Rohmer’s 1986 film The Green Ray.

READ MORE 

HOUSE OF PLEASURES, Bertrand Bonello
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

“I could sleep for a thousand years,” drawls a 19th-century prostitute—paraphrasing Lou Reed—at the start of Bonello’s hushed, opium-soaked fever dream of life in a Parisian brothel at the turn of the century. House of Pleasures is, among other things, Bonello’s most gorgeous and complete application of musical techniques to film grammar, his most rigorous attempt to sculpt cinematic space, his most probing reflection on the origins of capitalist society, and his most sophisticated study of the movement of bodies under immense constraint. A shocking mutilation, a funeral staged to The Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin,” a progression of ritualized, drugged assignations and encounters: Bonello captures it all with a mixture of casual detachment and needlepoint precision.

READ MORE 

HE MARRIED HIS WIFE, Roy Del Ruth
MoMA

1940. USA. Directed by Roy Del Ruth. Screenplay by Sam Hellman, Darrell Ware, Lynn Starling, John O’Hara, from a story by Erna Lazarus and Scott Darling. With Joel McCrea, Nancy Kelly, Roland Young, Mary Boland, Lyle Talbot. Roy Del Ruth’s minor contribution to the “comedy of remarriage” cycle casts McCrea as an impecunious horse fancier who finds that his alimony payments to his ex-wife (Nancy Kelly) are interfering with his equine interests—so he tries to marry her off to his boring best friend (Lyle Talbot). Complications ensue at a weekend house party hosted by Mary Boland and populated by supporting stalwarts Roland Young, Cesar Romero, and Elisha Cook, Jr. 83 min.

READ MORE 

LOUIS ARMSTRONG LIVE IN CONCERT, EAST BERLIN 1965
Museum of the Moving Image

In 1965, Louis Armstrong went behind the Iron Curtain as a “Goodwill Jazz Ambassador” and gave an unforgettable performance featuring a show-stopping version of “Hello, Dolly!,” and many other great hits. This is a rare screening of a remarkable two-set concert, introduced by Ricky Riccardi, Archivist of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. The screening will be preceded by a reception featuring Louis Armstrong’s treats courtesy of COFFEED.

READ MORE 

Share Button

Facebook Comments