David Lynch’s 1984 film noir classic Blue Velvet will celebrate its 30-year anniversary with a rerelease to select cinemas in the United States and United Kingdom. Starting March 25th through March 31st, the Kyle MacLachlan-led movie is scheduled to be shown at NYC’s Film Forum, with more screenings coming to theaters before its big September birthday. With a freshly designed poster, above, and an official reissue trailer, below, Blue Velvet is getting the accolades a Lynchian standard deserves.
From IFC Center and BAM to Film Forum and The Film Society of Lincoln Center, check out the 15 films to see this week around the city.
**MONDAY, MARCH 30**
AMERICA, D.W. Griffith Film Forum
(1924) Griffith’s epic of the American Revolution, complete with Bunker Hill, Paul Revere’s Ride, and Carol Dempster, until Neil Hamilton has to make a tough moral decision, even as Lionel Barrymore’s Captain Walter Butler (historical turncoat and renegade) steals the show. Approx. 140 min. 35mm.
THE ADVENTURES OF JUAN QUIN QUIN, Julio García Espinosa BAM
This infectiously picaresque parody chronicles the comic escapades of Juan Quin Quin (Martínez) as he goes from altar boy to farmer to bullfighter to revolutionary in pre-Castro Cuba. Laced with playful reflexive touches—spoofs of every movie genre imaginable, cartoon thought bubbles over characters’ heads, tongue-in-cheek intertitles—this breezy, comic book-style adventure was the most popular Cuban film of its era.
ALEXANDER MACKENDRICK’S ‘A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA’, Alexander Mackendrick Anthology Film Archives
A rare instance of a great work of literature whose Hollywood adaptation is a masterpiece in its own right, A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA is based on the 1929 novel by Richard Hughes, a peerlessly entertaining high-seas tale that is both a delightful children’s adventure story and a disturbing portrait of youthful destructiveness. No one could have been better suited to film Hughes’s novel than Alexander Mackendrick, whose versatility and deft handling of tone had already been amply demonstrated by his work making classic (often dark) comedies for England’s legendary Ealing Studios (THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT, THE LADYKILLERS) as well as the caustic SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, one of the greatest films to emerge from 1950s Hollywood. Mackendrick nails both the rollicking enjoyment of Hughes’s novel, as well as its increasingly dark undertones, which deepen but never interfere with the ebullient storytelling. HIGH WIND tells the story of a group of British children whose return from colonial Jamaica hits a major snag when they’re inadvertently captured by a band of pirates led by Anthony Quinn and first-mate James Coburn. What appears at first to be a story of vulnerable innocents in danger slowly but surely transforms into a much more complicated, subversive portrait of childhood, as the kids’ ruthlessly anarchic spirit shifts the power dynamic in their favor.
“Looser, more expansive and certainly more scatological than Hartley’s earlier work, this very funny, finally touching fable focuses on the way Henry Fool (Ryan) – a bawdy, rebellious, intellectually gifted drifter, and quite possibly a charlatan – transforms the lives of the inhabitants of a small town: notably, shy, put-upon Simon Grim (James Urbaniak), who under Fool’s auspices becomes both celebrated as a writer and demonised as a pornographer; his promiscuous sister (Posey) and depressive mother (Porter). For all its outrageous black humour, however, it remains a Hartley movie, with its wittily stylised dialogue, droll performances, crisp camerawork and its profoundly ironic musings on the nature of art and its status in society – musings which surely reflect on Hartley’s own status as an ambitious but marginalised film-maker.” – Time Out (London)
“Hartley’s eight-years-on sequel to HENRY FOOL finds the abandoned wife (Posey) of the scumbag anti-hero of the earlier film trying to find out what became of him; as theories and revelations to his true identity, activities and whereabouts emerge, it posits a past for him that embraces and evokes political turmoil worldwide… There are good gags, nice turns from Goldblum and Ryan, and an excellent lead in the dependable Posey.” – Time Out (London)
THE FIRST CHARGE OF THE MACHETE, Manuel Octavio Gomez BAM
Cuban farmers turn their machetes against Spanish colonialists in this highly experimental recreation of an 1868 battle for independence. Told in a gritty, cinéma vérité style, The First Charge of the Machete uses swirling handheld camerawork, authentically aged-looking, high-contrast black and white photography, and pseudo-documentary interviews with participants to create the impression of an artifact unearthed.
FLAHERTY NYC: PROGRAM 6: THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES: IRENE LUSZTIG, Irene Lusztig Anthology Film Archives
Irene Lusztig’s film, THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES, explores the history of efforts to discipline and control the body of pregnant women. Lusztig spent five years assembling an extraordinary archive of over 100 educational, industrial, and medical training films and, in her inimitable style, editing this material into THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES, a hidden history of childbirth in the twentieth century. Through the process, Lusztig highlights the uncomfortable and little-discussed ambivalence that many women feel about producing children, those most precious of objects.
In Harris’ dreamlike, erotic puzzle film, a melancholic jazz musician (King) purchases a real life Sleeping Beauty (Farrow) from a carnival sideshow and whisks her away to his Gothic pleasure palace. Adding to the strangeness, the inimitable Richard Pryor appears in a remarkably twitchy turn as a rambling junkie jazz cat. “Unmissable for anyone with an open mind and a sense of cinematic adventure” (Time Out London).
1935. USA. Directed by Josef von Sternberg. Screenplay by John Dos Passos, Sam Winston, based on the novel The Woman and the Puppet by Pierre Louys. With Marlene Dietrich, Lionel Atwill, Cesar Romero, Edward Everett Horton. 80 min.
1943. USA. Directed by George Stevens. Screenplay by Robert Russell, Frank Ross, Richard Flournoy, Lewis R. Foster, from a story by Russell and Ross. With Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Richard Gaines, Bruce Bennett. The wartime housing shortage in Washington, D.C., forces government worker Jean Arthur to share her small Georgetown apartment with McCrea, an army officer awaiting reassignment, and Charles Coburn, a cantankerous consultant who acts both as chaperone (for the Production Code) and Cupid (for the rest of us) to the young couple. McCrea’s easygoing delivery finds directorial reinforcement from George Stevens, who allows whole scenes (including the famous front stoop seduction) to ramble on with happy abandon. 104 min.
(1940) In the wake of the murder-suicide of Prince Rudolph at Mayerling, John Lodge’s stiff, but broad-minded Archduke Franz Ferdinand becomes the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian empire, to the distinct unhappiness of its emperor, Franz Josef. But then Franz Ferdinand wants to marry Edwige Feuillère, a mere countess – and a Czech! In Ophüls’ romantically aristocratic world you know where you stand when the morgantically (their children can’t inherit) married couple are about the arrive at their first imperial ball together; a functionary murmurs Feuillère must use the Minor Stairs. Made in France and premiering just before it fell to the Nazis, this was Ophüls’ last picture before Hollywood and a surprisingly faithful, and lavishly produced, account of a Romeo and Juliet passion hindered not by family enmity, but by levels of nobility, a way of life to be wiped out by the events then only 25 years in the past – the same distance in time we have to the fall of the Berlin Wall. (Historical footnote: This would be the last film of American actor Lodge – of the Boston Lodges; he’d been co-star to Katharine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, and Shirley Temple before eventually becoming congressman and governor of Connecticut, as well as U.S. ambassador to Spain, Argentina, and Switzerland). Approx. 97 min. 35mm.
WOJCIECH BAKOWSKI: SOLILOQUIES, Wojciech Bakowski Anthology Film Archives
“This is the first New York retrospective of Polish visual artist, musician, and poet Wojciech Bąkowski, whose camera-less films and animated video works explore the disturbance, absurdity, and pathos of human existence. Bąkowski’s dry but lyrical and, at times, grotesquely humorous monologues bring to light the ways in which we struggle to perceive reality. He reacts to his surroundings without evaluating them, but describes his inner landscape – the states of his thought and spirit. His work employs minimalist but laborious means of production, and takes on Optical-kinetic Art abstraction: moving patterns, warping geometric forms, animated objects, and reversible perspectives. Cellphones, clocks, magnetic tapes, cassette recorders, and trains become distorted, tyrannical noises that incisively permeate the private space. The austerity of a Bauhaus and Vkhutemas (the Soviet-era art and technical school) approach to aesthetic and socio-economic design and intellectualism pervades Bąkowski’s ‘degenerate art.’ The lack of emotion and intonation in his voice, the pauses, and the inexorable image-sound repetitions are doomed signs of metaphysical and political fate. With dismayed breath, he hopes for the creation of a new world built upon social interconnectivity, and the essential role of memory. The program combines a representative selection of his collage-films, which emphasize boredom as a transgressive attitude, and of his SPOKEN MOVIE series – Moholy-Nagy-like videos that represent personal experiences at the edge of a mental space where light and darkness collide.” –Mónica Savirón
THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MISS OSBOURNE, Walerian Borowczyk Film Society of Lincoln Center
Taking its cue from the legend that Robert Louis Stevenson’s cocaine-fueled first draft of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was burned by his prudish American wife on account of its sexual excess, Borowczyk sets up a chamber piece spanning just one night, in which Henry Jekyll (Udo Kier) plunges into a bath of chemicals only for him to emerge as the monstrously endowed Mr. Hyde. A masterpiece of surrealist cinema, Borowczyk’s film mischievously flits between violent farce, bloody delirium, and erotic frenzy. Note: contains explicit sexual content.
A DAZZLING IMAGINATION, Walerian Borowczyk Film Society of Lincoln Center
This program of documentaries—all directed by series co-curator Daniel Bird—sheds light on the life and sui generis career of Borowczyk, ranging from his early animations, his erotic feature films, and his artwork beyond the realm of cinema. An edifying portrait of Borowczyk not just as a pioneering animator and a wildly imaginative stylist but also as an utterly unique and versatile artist.
2010. Germany/Israel. Directed by Yael Hersonski. In May 1942, just two months before the commencement of deportations to Treblinka, German cameramen entered the Warsaw Ghetto to film staged vignettes with its Jewish residents, alternatively portraying them as vile, dirty animals, or as greedy, selfish money grubbers. Either way, the images made amply clear that the Jews were a pestilence to be exterminated. After the war, several reels of this unfinished “documentary” were discovered buried in a film vault; remarkably, a missing reel was unearthed decades later. Israeli director Hersonski offers a sober and methodical vivisection of the Nazi footage, setting it in stark contrast to the harrowing reality of life and death in the Ghetto. Holocaust survivors, along with readings from diaries of people who were there (as well as testimony from a Nazi cameraman), establish the truth behind the fictionalized images. In Hebrew; English subtitles. 89 min.
2007. Brazil. Written and directed by Chico Teixeira. With Carla Ribas. In a working-class district of São Paulo, Alice, a fortyish manicurist, lives in a cramped apartment with her unfeeling taxi-driver husband of more than 20 years, two of her three adult sons, and her elderly mother. Tempted to have an affair with the husband of one of her clients, and suspicious of her own husband’s fidelity, she lets her tumultuous thoughts provide grist for dreamy fantasies. Carla Ribas’s effortless, earthy performance anchors this compassionate look at ordinary people’s extraordinary buoyancy in the face of daily disappointments. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 94 min.
WESTERN, Bill and Turner Ross The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Drug cartel violence and border politics threaten the neighborly rapport enjoyed for generations between Eagle Pass, Texas, and Piedras Negras, Mexico. In their trenchant and passionately observed documentary, Bill and Turner Ross render palpable the unease and uncertainty of decent, hardworking folk as they are buffeted by forces beyond their control, including senseless acts of torture, murders committed just outside their homes, and the temporary USDA ban on livestock trade. Drawing on archetypes of rugged individualism and community, Western focuses on Mayor Chad Foster, who presides over Eagle Pass with a winning, conspiratorial smile; José Manuel Maldonado, his kindly Piedras Negras mayoral counterpart; and Martin Wall, a cattle rancher whose Marlboro Man stoicism melts away in the presence of his young daughter, Brylyn. Western firmly positions the Ross brothers at the frontier of a new, compelling kind of American vernacular cinema.
Tim Burton put the goth back in Gotham for his hit 1992 sequel BATMAN RETURNS, which features a villainess who finds her strength through kinky black bondage wear, a theme song by goth queen Siouxsie and the Banshees and a script by black comedy genius Daniel Waters (HEATHERS). Though it was criticized by parental groups for being too dark, BATMAN RETURNS nonetheless struck a chord with a generation of “middle-American, tortured oddballs” like our guest presenter, performance artist and goth opera wunderkind Joseph Keckler, who remembers being “entranced by the deformed and power-hungry Penguin (Danny DeVito) and even more by the revelation of Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer): undergoing a vampire-like interspecies resuscitation, she transforms from the scattered, apologetic and subservient Selina Kyle to an oversexed vigilante, whip in hand. Still floating around in the collective unconscious of my generation, like trash in the sewers of Gotham, are fantasies of being with her and being her, of coming back to life with claws.” Join us for a fabulously fun screening!
DEATH LAID AN EGG, Giulio Questi Anthology Film Archives
Giulio Questi’s giallo-on-acid, a pop art manifesto against mass production, takes the plot of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s DIABOLIQUE and turns it into something truly bizarre. Marco (Jean-Louis Trintignant) occupies the center of a love triangle involving his wife (Gina Lollobrigida) and her luscious niece (Ewa Aulin), at the high-tech chicken farm they run – and this busy man still finds the time to kill prostitutes on the side. This is poultry art at its best!
FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET, Dario Argento Anthology Film Archives
A musician accidentally kills the stalker who had been menacing him over the phone. The killing is witnessed by a masked figure, and soon the musician is being blackmailed. One by one everyone around him turns up dead, making him the prime suspect. In this final installment of the ANIMAL TRILOGY, Argento takes his visual stylistics and set pieces to another level. Long unavailable, the film is presented in a rare archival 35mm print. Starring Michael Brandon and Mimsy Farmer.
PARABELLUM, Lukas Valentina RInner Film Society of Lincoln Center
A Buenos Aires office worker finishes his day, visits his father in a rest home, lodges his cat in a kennel, and cancels his phone service. (Did you overhear the news report of riots and social unrest on the radio?) The next day, he and 10 equally nondescript individuals are transported up the Tigre delta in blindfolds and arrive at a secluded, well-appointed resort for a vacation with a difference. Instead of yoga and nature walks, the days’ activities range from hand-to-hand combat and weapons instruction to classes in botany and homemade explosives. Welcome to boot camp for preppers, the destination of choice for the serious Apocalypse Tourist. Austrian filmmaker Lukas Valenta Rinner handles his material in his home country’s familiar style, with cool distance, minimal dialogue, and carefully composed frames, interpolating the action with extracts from the invented Book of Disasters, a must-read for anyone warming up for the collapse of civilization as we know it. People, are you in?
CHRISTMAS, AGAIN, Charles Poekel Film Society of Lincoln Center
A forlorn Noel (Kentucker Audley) pulls long, cold nights as a Christmas-tree vendor in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. As obnoxious, indifferent, or downright bizarre customers come and go, doing little to restore Noel’s faith in humanity, only the flirtatious innuendos of one woman and the drunken pleas of another seem to lift him out of his funk. Writer-director Charles Poekel has transformed three years of “fieldwork” peddling evergreens on the streets of New York into a sharply observed and wistfully comic portrait of urban loneliness and companionship. While Christmas, Again heralds a promising newcomer in Poekel, it also confirms several great young talents of American indie cinema: actors Audley and Hannah Gross, editor Robert Greene, and cinematographer Sean Price Williams.
ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (aka THEY ARE COMING TO GET YOU), Sergio Martino Anthology Film Archives
Jane (the queen of giallo, Edwige Fenech) is plagued by a recurring nightmare after losing her unborn child in a car accident. Her busy husband Richard (George Hilton) deals with it by plying her with pills, while her sister books sessions for her at the doctor. Things take a turn for the worse when the creepy blue-eyed man from her nightmares materializes in real life, and the upstairs neighbor enlists her in satanic rituals. Set in Swinging London, ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK is graced by Sergio Martino’s impeccable camera work and Bruno Nicolai’s terrific score.
Adynata and Mayhem, two crucial works of experimental film from the 1980s, pursue a radical aesthetic agenda not merely on the level of content, but of form. They stand as living, moving arguments for a film language that is not only critical but generative. Rejecting all manner of constricting binaries—East and West, male and female, heterosexual and homosexual—this is not merely a deconstruction of cinema but its reconstruction. “Film has depended on voyeuristic active/passive mechanisms,” Mulvey notes in the final lines of her essay. “Women, whose image has continually been stolen and used for this end, cannot view the decline of the traditional film form with anything much more than sentimental regret.”
An American writer travels to Rome to present his new novel only to find himself implicated in a killing spree whose perpetrator is taking cues from his book. In one of his most personal films, the master of horror fires back at the wave of criticism that he was facing at the time. Featuring an outstanding score by Goblin (DEEP RED, SUSPIRIA), an infamous crane shot, and one of the most memorable chase scenes between man and dog ever filmed, this rare uncut 35mm print of TENEBRAE is not to be missed!
This retina-dazzling agitprop masterwork is Soviet filmmaker Mikhail Kalatozov’s delirious dream vision of the Cuban revolution, in which the Felliniesque decadence of Batista-era Havana gives way to the explosion of Castro’s guerrilla uprising. A head-spinning mix of Constructivist aesthetics and sensuous photography, I Am Cuba pulses with “some of the most exhilarating camera movements and most luscious black-and-white cinematography you’ll ever see” (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader).
THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER, Nadav Lapid Film Society of Lincoln Center
Nadav Lapid’s follow-up to his explosive debut, Policeman, is a brilliant, shape-shifting provocation and a coolly ambiguous film of ideas. Nira (Sarit Larry), a fortysomething wife, mother, and teacher in Tel Aviv, becomes obsessed with one of her charges, Yoav (Avi Shnaidman), a 5-year-old with a knack for declaiming perfectly formed verses on love and loss that would seem far beyond his scope. The impassive prodigy’s inexplicable bursts of poetry—Lapid’s own childhood compositions—awaken in Nira a protective impulse, but as her actions grow more extreme, the question of what exactly she’s protecting remains very much open. The Kindergarten Teacher shares the despair of its heroine, all too aware that she lives in an age and culture that has little use for poetry. But there is something perversely romantic in the film’s underlying conviction: in an ugly world, beauty still has the power to drive us mad.
SPRING BREAKERS WITH 35MM TRAILER PRE-SHOW, Harmony Korine Nitehawk Cinema
Four sexy college girls plan to fund their spring break getaway by burglarizing a fast food shack. But that’s only the beginning. During a night of partying, the girls hit a roadblock when they are arrested on drug charges. Hungover and clad only in bikinis, the girls appear before a judge but are bailed out unexpectedly by Alien, an infamous local thug who takes them under his wing and leads them on the wildest Spring Break trip in history. Rough on the outside but with a soft spot inside, Alien wins over the hearts of the young Spring Breakers, and leads them on a Spring Break they never could have imagined.
A BAY OF BLOOD (aka A TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE), Mario Bava Anthology Film Archives
A wheelchair-bound heiress is murdered, and a chain of killings ensue, as everyone who has a stake in the pie struggles to eliminate anyone standing in the way of the inheritance. The situation is complicated by a group of teens who decide to go camping by the lake on the estate. Widely regarded as a pioneer of the slasher sub-genre, Bava’s high-body-count murder mystery is one of his most influential works.
DIRTY PICTURES (aka AN IDEAL PLACE TO KILL), Umberto Lenzi Anthology Film Archives
Dick (Ray Lovelock) and Ingrid (a teenage Ornella Muti) finance their carefree lifestyle by smuggling pornography from Scandinavia into Italy, but when they run out of money they resort to selling dirty pictures of themselves. Soon they are arrested and ordered to return to their country, but car troubles force them to make a pit stop at a villa where the apprehensive lady of the house (Irene Papas) is alone awaiting her husband. DIRTY PICTURES begins as a road film but slowly morphs into a chilling cat-and-mouse game. The result is a standout Giallo from prolific genre master Lenzi.
MERCURIALES, Virgil Vernier
The Film Society of Lincoln Center
With an eclectic assortment of shorts, documentaries, and hybrid works to his name, Virgil Vernier is one of the most ambitious young directors in France today, and one of the hardest to categorize. Taking a cue from Godard’s 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, Vernier’s most accomplished film to date trains his camera on the Parisian suburb of Bagnolet, shadowing two receptionists (Ana Neborac and Philippine Stindel) who work in the lobby of the titular high-rise. As the girls drift from one enigmatic situation to the next—going to the pool, visiting a maze-like sex club, hunting for new employment—Vernier’s visual strategies and narrative gambits grow ever more inventive and surprising. Beautifully shot on 16mm by cinematographer Jordane Chouzenoux and set to James Ferraro’s haunting electronic score, Mercuriales is that rarest of cinematic achievements: a radical experiment in form that also lavishes tender attention on its characters.
Named the Best Film of the 1990s by Cahiers du Cinema “’30s-style gangster tragedy about a man doomed to an early grave by his society and his own code. Carlito (Al Pacino) wants out of the rackets, but to get there he has to ‘play Bogart’, running a discotheque, and even then he can’t escape his friends — lover Penelope Ann Miller and lawyer Sean Penn… Pacino looks every inch a movie star, and De Palma provides a timely reminder of just how impoverished the Hollywood lexicon has become since the glory days of the ’70s.” – Time Out (London)
FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON (aka PRIMAL IMPULSE), Luigi Bazzoni Anthology Film Archives
Florinda Bolkan (INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION, DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING) plays an interpreter tormented by a recurring dream about two astronauts stranded on the moon. She soon travels to a distant seaside town and checks in at a dilapidated hotel where, to her surprise, she runs into a series of strangers who seem to know her. Beautifully lensed by the great Vittorio Storaro, this psychological giallo from Luigi Bazzoni not only delivers in terms of style and mystery, but is also an intriguing character study thanks to Bolkan’s inspired performance. Also starring Klaus Kinski and familiar giallo child-star Nicoletta Elmi (DEEP RED, DEMONS).
THE PSYCHIC (aka SEVEN NOTES IN BLACK), Lucio Fulci Anthology Film Archives
Following a premonition, a clairvoyant woman (Jennifer O’Neil) tears down a wall in her husband’s country house and discovers a skeleton. Preyed upon by terrifying visions, she sets out to find the truth with the help of a psychologist (Marc Porel), only to realize that her own life might be in danger. One of Fulci’s tightest works, this rare parapsychic horror gem features a score by Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi, and Vince Tempera.
1956. USA. Directed by Arthur Lubin. Screenplay by Devery Freeman, Stephen Longstreet. With Ginger Rogers, Barry Nelson, Carol Channing, James Arness, Clint Eastwood. After 10 years as a freelancer, Rogers returned to her former home base, RKO, for this pleasantly feminist comedy Western—which suitably proved to be the last film released by the battered studio. Under Arthur Lubin’s direction, Rogers returns to her plucky, career-girl persona of the 1930s, complete with squeaky voice: she’s a saleswoman with the unenviable assignment of peddling barbed wire to the open-range ranchers of Texas. Carol Channing, in her first credited movie role, is her comically gangly assistant; as her love interest, Lubin cast his personal protégé, an impossibly handsome young Clint Eastwood. This is likely to be the last public performance of this vintage 35mm IB Technicolor print, which suffers from “vinegar syndrome” and displays some warping in its final minutes. 92 min.
Next week, Manhattan’s wonderful Film Forum will host a retrospective of photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber’s stunning collection of work. From his feature films and shorts to commercials and music videos, you’ll be able to enjoy a look back on some of the iconic artist’s most renowned and beloved work. And this year, one of his most powerful and beguiling features Let’s Get Lost celebrates its 25th anniversary.
So to mark the occasion, next Friday you’ll be able to see the film in all its glory, with a beautiful new black and white 35mm print of the documentary, that explores the complex life of jazz legend Chet Baker. As one of the most iconic and talented musicians to ever play, Baker’s sound is as distinct and resounding as it is emotional and full of melancholy. But before the film screens next week—alongside Broken Noses, Chop Suey, and A Letter to True—let’s take this chilly evening to sink into the cool, smooth sounds of Baker’s tunes. From his live albums to his most heartbreaking hits, dim the lights and get lost for the night.
With the TIFF coming to a close and NYFF gearing up, film lovers are anxiously awaiting some of the season’s best films to make their theatrical release. And although we’ve only just begun to dive into fall, there are plenty of reasons to put your own life on pause and disappear into the world of another from the comfort of your cinema seat.
This weekend theaters throughout the city will be premiering interesting and noteworthy features like Blue Caprice and Wadjda, but it’s their series of classics that really takes the forefront this time around. From Louis Malle’s melancholic and sensual dream The Lovers and David Fincher’s blood-filled smile of broken teeth Fight Club to Jean-Luc Godard’s iconic Contempt and Chris Marker’s science fiction wonder La Jetée—there’s surely something to please every film fancy.
So to make your weekend choices easier, we’re rounded up the best of what’s playing in New York this weekend—peruse our list, grab yourself an extra large tub of popcorn, and enjoy.
Fight Club Ain’t Them Bodies Saints Blood Simple Blue Caprice Fire in the Blood Frances Ha Il Futuro Hawking Herb & Dorothy 50×50 Museum Hours Our Nixon Passion Terms of Endearment Una Noche
Museum of the Moving Image
Singin in the Rain I Was a Male War Bride Twelve Monkeys, preceded by La jetee Only Angels Have Wings Trent’s Last Case A Girl in Every Port
The Lovers Yojimbo The Young Stranger Witness for the Prosecution The Fabulous World of Jules Verne The Cry The Golden Coach French Cancan
Dragonslayer This Ain’t California The World’s End Blue Jasmine The Grandmaster Dogtown and Z Boys The Motivation Bones Birgade: An Autobiography
The Incredible Shrinking Man In a World Informant The Last Time I Saw Macao
This is England In a World.. Time Bandits Foxy Brown Passion Terminator 2 Short Term 12 Drinking Buddies
Casablanca Short Term 12 Drinking Buddies The Spectacular Now In a World… Good ol’ Freda
Angelika Film Center
Wadja Salinger The Grandmaster Blue Jasmine Mother of George
The weekend is finally almost here and although the weather forecast looks bleak, your weekend doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to hide away from the rest of the world or need a respite on your romantic walk in the rain, there’s plenty of wonderful films playing around the city this weekend. From rare prints to future classics, there’s surely something to please everyone’s cinematic affinities. Whether you and your film-focused lover intend on spending the weekend at Film Forum for an Ozu fest for two or still haven’t caught up with Celine & Jesse in Before Midnight, there’s an exciting array of choices for you this weekend. o I’ve rounded up the best of what’s playing in New York for you to peruse before kicking off your weekend of play. Enjoy.
Cinema Village East
Hey Bartender In the Fog The Purge Wish You Were Here Searching for Sugar Man Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s
With this "historic" blizzard looming over us, there’s quite a good chance that you will not be leaving your house this weekend. But that’s such a shame, considering throughout New York there’s a plethora of incredible films screening and come on, you don’t want to miss out on the chance to see some of these on the big screen. There’s Abbas Kiarostami’s fanscinating Close-Up tonight, David Fincher’s cult-favorite Fight Club at midnight today and tomorrow, Bertolluci’s Before the Revolution—and plenty more. But whatever your preference, there’s still a decent chance that you’ll have to find cinematic solace in the comfort of your own home this weekend. So, in lieu of getting too thrilled about leaving the house, I’ve cooked up a list of not only the best films showing around the city, but the best of what’s streaming on Netflix and Hulu, along with clips from what critics had to say about each picture to give you a taste of what you’re in for. Enjoy.
Close-Up at The Film Society of Lincoln Center
"No doubt the film is disturbing: its portrait of Sabzian, described by one acquaintance as a “mythomaniac,” shows us an eloquent autodidact who is nonetheless deeply troubled, more a prisoner of cinema than an emblem of its salvific power. Yet it is the self-aware, suffering Sabzian of Close-up who touched the world’s imagination and survives as an icon of the Iranian cinema’s humanistic ideals, its faith in the dreams that offer avenues out of the world’s worst oppressions." —Godfrey Cheshire
Reprise Streaming on Netflix
"An exuberant, exhilaratingly playful testament to being young and hungry — for life and meaning and immortality, and for other young and restless bodies — “Reprise” is a blast of unadulterated movie pleasure. Made under the self-knowing influence of the early French New Wave, before Godard discovered Mao and Truffaut lost his groove, the film wears its influences without a trace of anxiety, in part, I imagine, because its precociously talented Norwegian director, Joachim Trier, doesn’t worry about old-fashioned conceits like creative patricide. You don’t have to kill your fathers, just learn from them."— Manohla Dargis
Blow Out at Nitehawk Cinema
"No less a virtuoso than cinematographer Zsigmond told me this year that De Palma “is one of the greatest visual filmmakers around.” He still marvels at the work they did in Blow Out: “Think about the 360-degree circular dolly shot near the end of the movie: we had to light practically the whole seaport of Philadelphia with the July 4 fireworks behind Nancy Allen and John Travolta.” For Kael and for legions of true believers, De Palma has, to use a sixties phrase, “kept the faith.” This man of many parts—realist, fantasist, ironist, tragedian—has never fused them more dynamically or poignantly than in Blow Out." —Michael Sragow
Three Colors: Red Streaming on Hulu
"This feeling of mysterious presence reflects the way Kieślowski spoke of the narrative of Red. He described the story, and particularly the “missed” relationship between Valentine and the judge, in ways that suggest that the world has a hidden design, albeit one prone to flaws. For him, “the essential question the film asks is: Is it possible to repair a mistake that was committed somewhere high above?” The idea that there is an invisible but fallible authority presiding over the world within the film naturally invites us to consider the director himself in that role."—Georgina Evans
The Tenant at IFC Center
"There is then an ironic ending that will come as a complete surprise to anyone who has missed every episode of "Night Gallery" or the CBS Mystery Theater. It turns out that — but never mind, never mind. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard an audience talk back to the ending of a horror film. "The Tenant" might have made a decent little 20-minute sketch for one of those British horror anthology films in which Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Vincent Price pick up a little loose change. As a film by Polanski, it’s unspeakably disappointing." —Roger Ebert
Primer Streaming on Netflix and Hulu
"Whether these will add up to anything more than a cerebral diversion is hard to say. Mr. Carruth has invented something fascinating — a way of capturing, on film, some of the pleasure and peril of scientific inquiry — and you don’t need a time machine to predict that as he goes on, he will discover exciting new ways to put it to use."—A.O.
Fight Club at IFC Center
"Fincher is a visionary who keeps Fight Club firing on all cylinders, raising hallucinatory hell in ways too satisfying toi spoil here. As for the dissenters, "I Am Jack’s Complete Lack of Surprise". Fincher’s refusal to moralize and reassure has possed off the watchdogs of virtue. Let ’em bark. They think anything alive is dangerous. Fight Club pulld you in, challenges your prejudices, rocks your world and leaves you laughing in the face of an abyss. It’s alive, all right. It’s also an uncompromising American classic." —Peter Travers
Wings of Desire Streaming on Hulu
"Is the plot arc of Wings of Desire a cry against cinema, even as it equates watching with love? Or does it suggest, to the choir, only a more engaged participation for us, the give-and-take of art film as opposed to the utterly passive experience of Hollywood dross, the Godardian sense that cinema is not an escape from life but life itself? Once Damiel goes human, awakening in the no-man’s-land between the east and west sections of the wall, we as viewers may have an experience akin to Greta Garbo’s after she’d seen the Beast in Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast transform into the clean-shaven Jean Marais: “Give me back my Beast.”—Michael Atkinson
Killer of Sheep at Museum of the Moving Image
"But there is more to neo-realism than formalist gestures; context counts too, and much like the characters in Rossellini’s “Open City,” Stan and his family are casualties of war. This may be Mr. Burnett’s most radical truth-telling. In “Killer of Sheep,” the characters’ identities as African-Americans are material and existential givens, while poverty is the equal-opportunity destroyer." —Manohla Dargis
The Night Porter Streaming on Hulu
"The Night Porter depicts not only the political continuity between wartime Nazism and 1957 Austria, but also the psychological continuity of characters locked into compulsive repetition of the past."
Before the Revolution at Anthology Film Archives
"What makes the film worth reviving is its stylistic elan, some channeled through Godard, Fellini and Antonioni, but all fresh and vigorous: its jump cuts and dynamic editing; its expressive, freestyling take on neo-realism; its powerful lighting. The soundtrack, by a youngish Ennio Morricone, is limpid. And Aldo Scavardo’s photography, especially during a wonderful ode to the beauty of the River Po, is unforgettable." — Sukhdev Sandhu
Revanche Streaming on Hulu
"Spielmann is interested in aspects of life that exceed simple comprehension. Fathoming the interconnections between disparate people, he emphasizes realistic perception and spiritual discovery. He told an interviewer: “Loneliness is probably an inextricable part of our modern lives, and yet I consider it an illusion. We always think of ourselves as being separate from the world, and in this way we deceive ourselves. This separation is just an invention of our imagination; in many ways, we are constantly and directly interwoven in a larger whole. Loneliness is an attribute of our limited awareness, not of life itself.”—Armond White
The Godfather at Landmark Sunshine
"Although the movie is three hours long, it absorbs us so effectively it never has to hurry. There is something in the measured passage of time as Don Corleone hands over his reins of power that would have made a shorter, faster moving film unseemly. Even at this length, there are characters in relationships you can’t quite understand unless you’ve read the novel. Or perhaps you can, just by the way the characters look at each other."—Roger Ebert
My Night at Maud’s Streaming on Hulu
"Rohmer’s films offer us an exceptionally vivid picture of how we navigate the twists and turns that life throws our way on a daily basis. “All the pleasure of life is in general ideas,” wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes. “But all the use of life is in specific solutions.” No artist has expressed this dichotomy more eloquently, or lovingly, than Eric Rohmer."—Kent Jones
Well, it’s Friday the 13th again and statistically speaking, that means 21 million Americans are spending their day paralyzed by fear, running around like Melancholia-esque Charlotte Gainsbourgs. But what better way to hide from the demons clawing at your brain or the things that go bump in the night than to sink yourself into a cinema seat and enter someone else’s world for a few hours? There’s something about seeing a midnight movie or even a late night film alone that feels like the ultimate escape from all that’s been plaguing you throughout the week, so we’ve rounded up our favorite films showing throughout the city. Now you have somewhere to hide whether you’re in the company of friends after one too many whiskeys or simply alone and on the run.
There are few movie options in New York at the moment more thrilling than the Heist series at Film Forum. What’s great about the series is its dogged insistence on the heist’s dynamic, old-school moralism. Unlike the new Ocean’s era, in which cool and charming heistmeisters succeed in their plots and walk away with the goods, the traditional heist film is ruled by bad luck and a backlash of greed. They’re noirs, after all, and we’ll never tire of noirs.
Quentin Tarantino is nothing if not old school in his tastes, and both Reservoir Dogs, which played last night, and Jackie Brown, playing at series’ end, are all about ferocious, doomed cascades of dominoes. Possibly alone among important young American directors for being thoroughly and outlandishly self-schooled in movie history, Tarantino knew his noir, and could probably recite the majority of the dialogue in the series’ films, going back to Richard Fleischer’s Armored Car Robbery (1950), an unsung policier.
Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (1956) may be the genre’s defining work, a must-see wallow in despair involving an elaborate racetrack heist and exuding a gray sense of doom. Sterling Hayden, Marie Windsor, and the inimitable Timothy Carey head off a cast of soulless predators, and for that it’s something like the sociopathic twin brother to John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle (1950), which also starred Hayden but suffered from Hollywood polish (whereas Kubrick’s film reeked of grime).
The series gives screen time to many must-sees – including Robert Siodmak’s Criss Cross (1948) and Phil Karlson’s Kansas City Confidential (1952), but also to a raft of semi-forgotten hummers, including Jacques Tourneur’s Nightfall (1957), a fast, cheap, and out-of-control sweat session in which the hulking yet quivering Aldo Ray hits the big city on the run from something very, very bad. He crosses paths with Anne Bancroft, a used-and-abused waif. Soon enough Brian Keith, as a blood-spilling, bank robbing anti-Aldo, emerges and pushes the action back to the great wide open of Wyoming, where an oil rig becomes an impromptu torture appliance.
The FF series opens the door wide to the French, who first saw noir for what it was and thought to transform the paradigm into a full-on dark night of existentialist tribulation. Trenchcoats became more than just outerwear. Jacques Becker’s Touchez pas au Grisbi (1954) centers on Jean Gabin as a menopausal gangster living comfortably after a big heist, but who’s sucked back into the world of crime thanks to his devoted partner (Rene Dary) and a goldbricking chorus girl (a positively dewy Jeanne Moreau). Forty years before Tarantino’s crooks-have-kitchens-too reawakening, Becker’s suave scofflaws wear pajamas, brush their teeth, and go to bed early. Fate, nevertheless, deals them the paradigmatic bad hand; no one can keep their mitts off the *grisbi.*
Jean-Pierre Melville was, however, the ultimate Franco-noiriste heist doomsayer, and his Bob le Flambeur (1956) and Le Cercle Rouge (1970) are moody, rich studies in noir’s evolution toward lyrics of modern alienation. The hapless gangsters in Melville’s films don’t know much except two things: their sense of honor is the only thing they can take with them to the grave, and that date with the grave is coming all too soon. The films shouldn’t be missed, and neither should a sentimental date with Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders (1964), the epitome of an anti-heist heist film that, famously, brims with joyful movie-love – which by definition includes passion for women, pulp fiction, Paris, American movies, pop music, and Anna Karina. This perfect gem – from which fanboy Quentin Tarantino cribbed his production company’s name A Band Apart – climaxes with a (badly) plotted crime, but it’s really about hanging out and goofing off and being in love with Karina. As if to prove it, Godard revolves the film around the long central sequence of the three would-be crooks (Karina with Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) killing time, loitering in a café, flirting, drinking, waiting, and eventually performing an infectious syncopated-dance variation on the Madison. Heist? What heist?