The Best Film Events, Series, and Retrospectives Happening in New York This May

Film

Although the weather may be toying with your hearts and wardrobes, May is but a few days away. As we begin to shed our late spring layers, a new cinematic year begins to unfold as some of the most highly-anticipated films of 2015 screen at the Cannes Film Festival come May 13. Stateside, the spring and summer season is also rife with premieres we’re excited to experience. But amidst all the new films on the horizon, it’s a treat to slip away into the past for a bit and catch up on a wealth of rare and fantastic work that isn’t playing at your local multiplex. From IFC Center and The Film Society of Lincoln Center to BAM and Anthology Film Archives and more, April is the perfect month to indulge in myriad retrospectives, screenings, and events.

So whatever your film fancy, peruse our list and start planning out your viewing schedule now. Enjoy.

***IFC CENTER***

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Celluloid Dreams, Ongoing

With the rise of digital technology, 35mm film prints have become an increasing rarity. IFC Center’s new ongoing series offers the chance to see classics and rediscoveries projected exclusively on their original celluloid format on the big screen. “Celluloid Dreams” hopes to stem the digital tide, and remind viewers there really is emotion in the emulsion. Don’t miss the chance to see these great films on film before it’s too late! Series programmed by C. Mason Wells.

The Comfort of Strangers

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Queer/Art/Film: Black Summer Nights, May 11th through August 17th

“This summer Queer/Art/Film is excited to present “Black Summer Nights,” a celebration of queer African-American artists and their unique role in shaping American culture and history. We’ve handed the reins over to our special guest curators, filmmaker Stephen Winter and poet Pamela Sneed, who have selected four luminary African-American New York queer artists and will lead audiences in rousing and riveting post-screening discussions.”

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Waverly Midnights, Ongoing

A rotating selection of some of our most popular midnight movie offerings. All shows free for Auteur-level members.

Mad Max
Blue Velvet
House

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Deneuve x 8, through June 7th

“Imperious, perverse, remote, and radiant, Catherine Deneuve is a monument to French poise and pulchritude. Francois Truffaut, Luis Bunuel, and Roman Polanski are among the Continental auteurs who have been captivated by her. Now, the IFC Center honors her with ‘Deneuve x 8′, a program of her best-known films.” – The New York Times

The Young Girls of Rochefort
Repulsion
The Last Metro

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***BAM***

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3D in the 21st Century, May 1st through 17th

The unprecedented resurgence of 3D in the last decade has expanded the visual and emotional possibilities of cinema in frequently wondrous—and sometimes divisive—new ways. At its best, the technology creates almost hallucinatory immersive landscapes and retina-dazzling surprises with an immediate visceral impact. From big-budget blockbusters to high-concept mind-benders by arthouse icons, this first-of-its-kind series surveys recent films that showcase the full range of stereoscopic cinema’s expressive potential.

Goodbye to Language
Pina
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Step Up 3D

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Artists, Amateurs, Alternative Spaces: Experimental Cinema in Eastern Europe, 1960-1990, May 19th through 28th

Amid postwar disillusionment in the system and waves of enthusiasm for socialism, experimental filmmaking in Eastern Europe flourished from the 1960s through the 1980s. Defying genre conventions despite the risk of censorship, artists used alternative spaces such as amateur film clubs, festivals, and funded studios to create independent work and experiment with early video practices.

Innocence Unprotected
Reminisces of a Journey to Lithuania
Shorts

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John Schaefer presents The Man Who Fell to Earth, May 7th

Soundcheck host John Schaefer joins philosopher Simon Critchley (author of the recently published book Bowie) for a conversation about the film that made David Bowie a screen icon. A human-like alien (played by alien-like human Bowie) crash lands on Earth to retrieve water for his planet, but instead discovers pain, loneliness, and the sick soul of American society. Nicolas Roeg’s science fiction mind-bender is a provocative parable about diseased capitalism in a television-obsessed culture told in a swirl of hallucinatory imagery.

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Arun Venugopal presents I Vitelloni, May 8th

Micropolis creator Arun Venugopal presents an early-career triumph by one of his favorite filmmakers, Italian cinema legend Federico Fellini. This bittersweet buddy film follows five aimless young men dreaming, scheming, and chasing girls in a small seaside village. Featuring music by Nino Rota, this semi-autobiographical character study is full of Fellini’s robust humor and poetic touches, all cloaked in a poignant haze of nostalgia. “It’s my favorite Fellini film, possibly his most personal effort and by far his funniest.” —Andrew Sarris

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David Garland presents Naked Lunch, May 6th

Movies on the Radio and Spinning on Air host David Garland comes to BAM to discuss the work of three-time Academy Award-winning film composer Howard Shore, who wrote the music for this brilliant mind-melter. A writer and cockroach exterminator (Weller) gets hooked on his own insecticide, accidentally kills his wife, and winds up in the frighteningly surreal Interzone, where typewriters transform into giant talking bugs and shadowy agents peddle a drug called The Black Meat. William S. Burroughs’ bizarro Beat novel finds its perfect interpreter in David Cronenberg, who brings it to the screen with all its weirdness and melancholy fully intact.

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***ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES***

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Written by Philip Yordan, May 15th through 24th

From 1945, when his script for a Monogram gangster flick was nominated for an Academy Award, until the early 1960s, when he wrote a series of overbaked Europudding epics, Philip Yordan was one of the most prominent screenwriters in Hollywood. Capable of turning out multiple scripts a year, Yordan worked in every genre from science fiction to melodrama, and with everyone from Anthony Mann to Joseph Mankiewicz. He was also a total fraud.

Johnny Guitar
Blowing Wind
The Big Combo

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Rain the Color of Blue With a Little Red In It, May 8th through 10th

Anthology is very pleased to welcome filmmaker Christopher Kirkley to present three screenings of his film AKOUNAK TEDALAT TAHA TAZOUGHAI. Alongside these special screenings we’re showcasing some of the film’s influences including PURPLE RAIN, THE HARDER THEY COME, and two Jean Rouch films: MOI, UN NOIR and JAGUAR.

Purple Rain
The Harder They Come
Moi, Un Noir

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Downtown New York Theater: Behind the Scenes, May 14th through 17th

For this weekend-long program, Anthology celebrates three of NYC’s most acclaimed and important avant-garde theater companies – Elevator Repair Service, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, and The Wooster Group – with screenings of several behind-the-scenes documentaries chronicling the creation of some of their most extraordinary productions. Taken together, the films demonstrate the astonishing creativity and inventiveness of these three companies in particular, as well as the craft of theater in general: the grindingly hard work, the endless repetition, the collaborative effort, the balance between spontaneity and discipline, and the mysterious relationship between onstage and off, all of which culminate in the heightened moment of live performance.

The Wooster Group
Elevator Repair Service
Nature Theater of Oklahoma

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This Is Celluloid: 35MM, May 29th through June 21st 

As the medium of celluloid (or more accurately but far less evocatively, polyester) is rapidly pushed towards obsolescence, and the new digital standard, DCP, continues to invade not only the world’s multiplexes but also those repertory theaters and museums devoted to screening movies from the art form’s first century, Anthology stands fast in its commitment to keeping 35mm and 16mm and 8mm alive! Though our devotion to screening films in their original formats holds true throughout our programming, we’ve decided the moment is right to present a series designed specifically to highlight the unique beauty (which DCP can approximate, but never equal) of celluloid, and to celebrate the exquisite textures, glorious colors, and unique qualities of light that are becoming a tragically rare sight on our cinema’s screens in the 21stcentury.

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The Masque of Red Death
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

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Journey to the West, May 5th through 7th

Following his 2013 feature film STRAY DOGS, Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang (VIVA L’AMOUR, THE RIVER, THE HOLE) threatened to retire from filmmaking. Happily, that sad state of affairs has been postponed, with the appearance of JOURNEY TO THE WEST, the latest and longest in Tsai’s series of films focusing on the figure of the Walker. Previously seen in six short films, the Walker is a carmine-robed monk, played by Tsai’s perpetual lead actor and muse, Lee Kang-sheng, and loosely based on the life of Xuanzang, a seventh-century Buddhist monk who painstakingly traversed Asia for seventeen years in search of “the void.” Moving through various landscapes, both urban and natural, with eyes downcast and palms upwards, the Walker proceeds at an excruciatingly slow, nearly imperceptible pace, his brilliant red vestments and near-stillness transfiguring the environments through which he travels. Taking slow-cinema to its logical extreme, and embodying with utter conviction Buddhist notions of time and existence, the Walker films are profoundly serene and contemplative, and highly revealing in their depiction of the reactions of innocent passersby to Lee’s radically detached presence.

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***MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE***

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Horror Mother’s Day & Horror Father’s Day, May 10 through June 21st

The primal bond between parent and child are undeniable, and are at the heart of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which are observed on Sundays in May and June as though they are national holidays. For anyone looking for an alternative to Hallmark sentimentality, or for those parents—or non-parents—with great taste in movies and an appetite for horror, here are six classic movies to mark the occasions.

Psycho
Rosemary’s Baby
Eyes Without a Face

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O Brazil: Contemporary Brazilian Cinema, May 8th through June 19th

O Brazil continues witha slate of recent films about musicbut not the kind you would expect from Brazil. Whether as a source of inspiration for the story, such as the music by Legiao Urbana in Brazilian Western; or a part of the everyday soundtrack in a film about everyday life (She Comes Back on Thursday); or as a vehicle for profound change, such as the Brazilian punk in After the Rain; music is ever-present and profoundly bound to narrative in these films.

After the Rain
She Comes Back on Thursday

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Portraying the Human Condition: The Films of Masaki Kobayashi and Tatsuya Nakadai, May 15 through 24th

Legend has it that the director Masaki Kobayashi (1916–1996) discovered the young actor Tatsuya Nakadai working as a shop clerk in Tokyo and, casting him in a small part in his film The Thick-Walled Room (1953), gave Nakadai his first role, initiating one of the most legendary collaborations in all of Japanese cinema. “Nakadai embodied postwar individualism and youth culture—in his clear enunciation and strong, deep speaking voice and in his expressive body movements, facial mobility, and willingness to convey deeply felt emotions, rather than repressing them on behalf of an outworn notion of samurai dignity,” wrote film historian Joan Mellen. This perfectly suited Kobayashi, a pacifist who had suffered for his convictions during World War II. Summarizing his work, he said “All of my pictures are concerned with resisting entrenched power. I suppose I have always challenged authority.” Nakadai, returning to Museum of the Moving Image for the third time, now realizes a dream of revisiting his collaborations with Kobayashi, including their anti-war masterpiece, the ten-hour trilogy The Human Condition.

Black River
The Inheritance
Kwaidan

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***THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER***

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I Put a Spell on You: The Films of Bertrand Bonello, through May 4th

Few filmmakers working currently are as skilled as Bonello at grounding wide-angle social critiques in the physical movement of bodies through space: a couple trapped in winter gridlock; an aging pornographer and his much younger stars; a commune of revolutionary hedonists; a house of 19th-century prostitutes; a psychotic aesthete and the object of his desire; a fashion designer and his rotating coterie of friends and admirers. A trained composer, Bonello approaches his movies like pieces of music, allowing competing tonal elements to collide and rearrange themselves in bracing configurations. The result is a body of work that consistently pushes viewers into new and surprising territory.

Saint Laurent
The Pornographer         

House of Pleasures 

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Print Screen, Karl Ove Knausgaard and ‘The Idiots

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Sounds Like Music: The Films of Martín Rejtman, May 13th through 19th

With Rapado, his 1992 debut feature, Martín Rejtman single-handedly revitalized Argentine narrative film. The five movies he’s made since—including his poker-faced new work Two Shots Fired, receiving a one-week run as part of this retrospective—are models of stylistic precision, narrative structure, and comic pacing. From his early studies of young people drifting in and out of financial solvency (Silvia Prieto, The Magic Gloves) to his recent excursions into nonfiction (Copacabana) and hybrid filmmaking (Elementary Training for Actors, co-directed with the playwright Federico Léon), Rejtman has developed a canny, wholly original serio-comic voice. Romantic confusion, investment troubles, unemployment, youthful aimlessness, the numbing rush of city life, and the revivifying power of music and dance: in Rejtman’s movies, the business of modern urban living—and specifically, of living in Argentina during the country’s millennial economic crisis—comes off as both familiar and thrillingly strange. Programmed by Dennis Lim with Isa Cucinotta.

Elementary Training for Actors
The Magic Gloves
Two Shots Fired

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***NITEHAWK CINEMA***

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The Works: Jeff Goldblum

The evolution of who we know as Jeff Goldblum is on display in our very special two-part series of THE WORKS: JEFF GOLDBLUM. Featuring a carefully considered selection of films and divided into two categories, Barely Goldblum and Full Goldblum, we trace the trajectory of his early “blink and you’ll miss it” career all the way up to his now iconic roles in which we see him embrace the “Goldblum-ness” we all know and love. We’ll begin with Death Wish, The Sentinel, and Annie Hall and will then move up through Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fly, Buckaroo Banzai, Earth Girls Are Easy and Jurassic Park.

Death Wish 
Annie Hall 
Jurassic Park

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Nitehawk Brunch Screenings

The Hunt for Red October
Dr. Strangelove
Rocky IV

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***FILM FORUM***

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Satayajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy, May 8th through 28th

In the early 1950s, commercial artist Satyajit Ray was determined to film a novel by Bibhutibhushan Banerjee that he had previously illustrated, shooting on weekends, commuting to the location by bus, and eventually pawning his wife’s jewelry until a providential government grant enabled the work to go on. The result, along with the two continuations that followed, was the beginning of one of the screen’s greatest works, perhaps the cinema’s greatest bildungsroman ever.  

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Felix Moehller’s FORBIDDEN FILMS – The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film, May 13th through 19th

From filmmaker/film historian Felix Moeller (director of HARLAN – IN THE SHADOW OF THE JEW SÜSS) comes this thoughtful, provocative analysis of the 40 Nazi-produced movies still banned from broadcast or public screening in Germany (except in a scholarly context) because they are considered too inflammatory or offensive. The Third Reich’s anti-Semitic films are well-known (among them THE ETERNAL JEWTHE ROTHSCHILDSJEW SÜSS), but less famed are their anti-British and anti-Polish dramas, featuring heroic young Germans, mercilessly bullied by greedy, deranged foreigners. Nearly 70 years after the demise of the Nazis, do Joseph Goebbels’s notorious propaganda movies still pose a threat to civil society? See this galvanizing documentary and judge for yourself. 

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Beggars of Life introduced by William Wellman, Jr., May 4th

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***MOMA***

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MoMA Presents: Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky, April 9th through May 3rd

This is a weeklong run of MoMA’s recently struck 35mm print of Mikey and Nicky, the third of Elaine May’s brilliant contributions to 1970s American cinema, after A New Leaf and The Heartbreak Kid. (Ishtar, from 1987, also has its fierce partisans.) In this noir chamber piece, set over a long, tense night in some of the seedier redoubts of Philadelphia, a jittery John Cassavetes becomes convinced that a local mobster has put a price on his head. As he looks to childhood friend and small-time crook Peter Falk for salvation, old wounds and new treacheries arise.

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MoMA Presents: Tudor Christian’s Jurgiu’s The Japanese Dog, May 21st through 27th

A standout of New Directors/New Films 2014, Tudor Cristian Jurgiu’s feature debut returns to MoMA for a weeklong run. A striking departure from the gallows humor of the Romanian New Wave, Jurgiu’s Chekhovian The Japanese Dog instead pays loving homage to the tender and gently comical family dramas of Yasujiro Ozu, Late Spring and There Was a Father in particular. Victor Rebengiuc, a legendary veteran of stage and screen, imbues the elderly Costache Moldu with a stoic yet fragile dignity, as he reunites with his estranged son after losing his wife and home in a devastating flood. Exquisitely attuned to the rhythms of nature and rural life—and the melancholy beauty of transient things—The Japanese Dog comes by its emotions honestly and poignantly.

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Barbara Hammer’s Welcome to This House, a Film on Elizabeth Bishop, May 26th through June 1st

With her latest work, Barbara Hammer, who is known for films about lesbian life, history, and sexuality that draw upon avant-garde tradition, examines the little-known aspects of the life of the Pulitzer Prize–winning American poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979). Hammer’s film, shown here in its New York premiere, explores Bishop’s inner life through the homes in which she lived and wrote—from childhood to her final days—and through the more private and sensorial poems that were published after her death. Featuring music composed and performed by the experimental singer and musician Joan La Barbara; Bishop’s intimate poems read by Kathleen Chalfant; three actors representing Bishop’s physical presence at different stages of her life; and interviews by historians, poets, and students, Welcome to This House sensitively portrays a complex, private, and challenging writer whose poetry continues to inspire.

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Jean-Francois Caissy’s Guidelines, May 26th through June 1st

Guidelines is the second in Jean-Francois Caissy’s series of five documentary features exploring distinct stages of life, from old age, to the teenage years, to young adulthood, and to early childhood. (La Belle visite [Journey’s End, 2009], which focused on old age, was the first in the series.) Guidelines uses long, observational takes to record teens attending a rural Quebec secondary school. Daily activities on school grounds—studying, practicing cheerleading moves, riding bikes in gym—are contrasted with their “external” activities at play in the vast Canadian landscape—burning rubber on back roads, climbing and diving off of bridges over streams in summer, snowmobiling through the snowy woods in the winter. The film respectfully records both authority figures and the teens while school counsellors respond to students’ various misdemeanours, from disturbing other class members or hitting a sibling to bullying and more. The teens’ social discomfort dissolves beyond the walls of the institutional atmosphere, and their nervous energy is absorbed by the great outdoors.

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Japan Speaks Out! Early Japanese Talkies, May 6th through 20th

“During the early years of the Showa period (1926–1989), while Japan’s silent cinema reached new artistic heights, Japanese filmmakers took the first steps towards sound film. Whereas in the West the transition to sound was abrupt and practically complete by around 1930, in Japan it stretched over almost a decade, although a considerable number of films (part-talkies, films shot silent with added music or sound effects, etc.) made limited use of sound technology. it was not until 1936 that the majority of films produced in Japan were full talkies. This retrospective focuses on this transition period, showing how the Japanese cinema gradually adopted the techniques and exploited the potential of sound film.

Seiyukai sosai Tanaka Giichi-shi enzetsu (The Speech of Prime Minister Tanaka) 
 Tonari no Yae-chan (Our Neighbour, Miss Yae)    
Kagayaku ai (Shining Love)

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26 Films To See in New York This Weekend: Kubrick, Rohmer, Buñuel + More

26 Films, Film

Sundays may be a “wan, stuff shadow of a robust Saturday” or a day of “forced leisure for folks who have no aptitude for leisure,” but a weekend is still a weekend. We wait for the pleasure of a Friday night, knowing the burdens of the work week have a brief respite, and what better way to indulge seeing some great films—be it new to you treasures or your favorite classics. And this weekend from BAM and MoMA to The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Nitehawk Cinema there are more than enough wonderful films showing for you to happily disappear into. Here are 26 films that have us running straight to the theater.

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***FRIDAY, APRIL 24***

TWELVE MONKEYS, Terry Gilliam
BAM

Terry Gilliam’s grungy, gonzo riff on Chris Marker’s La Jetée stars Bruce Willis as a convict who’s zapped back in time to save the human race from a deadly virus. Only trouble is, everyone thinks he’s nuts. Peppered with allusions to Vertigo (the eerie Muir Woods scene is reenacted wholesale), this post-apocalyptic head-trip is Gilliam at his most cracked and brilliant.

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THE JOY OF LIFE, Jenni Olson
BAM

San Francisco, sexuality, and suicide come together in Jenni Olson’s entrancingly minimalist essay film. Over static shots of eerily depopulated Fog City locales, the filmmaker muses on queer desire and identity; legendary poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti recites “The Changing Light”; and the Golden Gate Bridge’s history as a suicide landmark is explored via Meet John Doe and Vertigo. The result is an overwhelmingly moving meditation on love and loss.

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THE SHINING, Stanley Kubrick
IFC Center

Kubrick meets Stephen King: in the deserted off-season at a massive, isolated resort hotel, new caretaker Jack Nicholson descends into madness, with wife Shelley Duvall and their son the only witnesses. “Critic’s pick! Gloriously diabolical.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times

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THE CANDIDATE, Michael Ritchie
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

The unsung Michael Ritchie, responsible for some of the most trenchant satires of the 1970s (including the beauty-pageant send-up Smile), helms this on-point study of Nixon-era political machinations. Redford is Bill McKay, an idealistic lawyer persuaded to run for Senate on his principles, convinced he has no chance of defeating the incumbent. As his campaign gains traction, he’s forced to rethink his platform. Redford commissioned the project and served as uncredited producer, hiring Ritchie (a former technical advisor on various political campaigns) and screenwriter Jeremy Lartner, who wrote speeches for presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy in 1968. Lartner’s script, capped by a closing line that perfectly echoed the national mood, earned an Academy Award. Contemporaneous to the film’s release, the fictional McKay received write-in votes in the California Presidential primary!

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DOCUMENTEUR, Agnes Varda
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

In 1979, 10 years after her first California sojourn and during a period of separation from her beloved husband, Jacques Demy, Varda returned to L.A. for what would turn out to be a decidedly more dejected, minor-key stay. Documenteur, like several of Varda’s movies, follows an essentially fictional character (played here by Varda’s editor Sabine Mamou) through a more or less real environment. Unlike most of Varda’s movies, it’s a frank and often painful reflection on estrangement, loneliness, and loss. Certain settings and subjects from Mur Murs recur here (the two films were paired for their initial U.S. runs), but Documenteur was, per its title, more of “an emotion picture”—a revealing dispatch from a wounded heart. An NYFF ’81 Selection.

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ALTERED STATES, Ken Russell
Nitehawk Cinema

You know the story…a brilliant, unconventional and totally mad scientist uses himself as the subject for his highly experimental project and ends up, well, a little worse for the wear. Here we have 1960s Harvard professor of abnormal psychology Eddie Jessup who revisits an experiment from his graduate school days in which he uses untested hallucinogens in his sensory deprivation tank to prove his theory that other states of consciousness are as real as our waking state. Unfortunately the side effects just might be genetically regressive which is not only harmful to his own self but to those around him. Side note, this is the film debut of William Hurt and Drew Barrymore!

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FORBIDDEN GAMES, 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.

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NO SKIN OFF MY ASS, Bruce LaBruce
MoMA

1991. Canada. Directed by Bruce LaBruce. With LaBruce, Klaus von Brücker, G.B. Jones. Hailed by the critic Amy Taubin as “sweeter than Warhol, subtler than Kuchar, sexually more explicit than Van Sant,” LaBruce’s debut feature emerged during the efflorescence of queer cinema in the early 1990s. Shot in grainy Super-8, the picture centers around a hairdresser who falls for a handsome, taciturn skinhead, and their peculiar courtship is punctuated by memorable sequences with the skin’s sister, a lesbian underground filmmaker with plans to make a movie about the Symbionese Liberation Army. No Skin Off My Ass is like That Cold Day in the Park replayed as a punk rock daydream, yet here Robert Altman’s idiosyncratic thriller has become a lo-fi love story, featuring LaBruce as a swishy stand-in for Sandy Dennis. Now a homocore classic, No Skin is a complex exploration of how subculture is articulated through style, and a poignant study in erotic fascination. 73 min.

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WHAT TIME IS IT IN THERE?, Tsai Ming-Iiang
Museum of the Moving Image

Dir. Tsai Ming-liang. 2001, 116 mins. 35mm. With Lee Kang-sheng, Chen Shiang-chyi, Lu Yi-ching. Hsiao-kang, now selling wristwatches on the streets of Taipei, has a fateful brief encounter one day with Shiang-chyi, a young woman about to leave for France. Things are messy at home, with Hsiao’s mother seeing his father’s reincarnated spirit everywhere, so he escapes by fantasizing about the stranger he barely knows, and the film details their parallel stories. While he sets Taipei clocks to Paris local time, she wanders a strange city alone; while he watches The 400 Blows, she has a chance meeting with star Jean-Pierre Léaud in a Parisian cemetery. “Filled with purposeful, if absurd, activity rendered gravely hilarious through Tsai’s deadpan, distanced representation of extreme behavior.” (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice).

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***SATURDAY, APRIL 25***

OBSESSION, Brian De Palma
BAM

Nearly twenty years after his wife’s tragic death, a guilt-ridden man (Robertson) meets her exact lookalike (Bujold)—cue obsessive makeover and intricate series of double crosses. With a script by Paul Schrader, endlessly swirling camerawork, and a deliriously romantic score by Vertigo composer Bernard Herrmann, De Palma’s florid tribute to Hitchcock creates a spellbinding mood all its own.

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4 VERTIGO, Les LeVeque
BAM

Hitchcock’s film is sped up, compressed, and jumbled into a nine-minute, kaleidoscopic hallucination.

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ALIEN, Ridley Scott
IFC Center

“Critic’s pick! Scott’s sexually radical, chest-bursting horror landmark features H.R. Giger’s obscenely phallic beastie stalking a remarkably tony cast, including Ian Holm, John Hurt, and Sigourney ‘Hell, I’ll battle this thing in my skivvies’ Weaver. Forget the vastly overrated Blade Runner; this is Scott’s best film, period.” – Time Out New York

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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.

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NIGHTHAWKS, Ron Peck
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Ron Peck and Paul Hallam raised funds for their groundbreaking feature debut piecemeal, relying in part on confidential gifts from gay public figures. No film had shown what it was like to be an openly gay man in 1970s London: the keeping-up of daily appearances; the tiring, often demoralizing work of club-hopping and cruising; and the difficulties of making—and finding—lasting romantic commitments. Nighthawks is, quite simply, a priceless artifact from a period in British history when love, for many, could only be found furtively and in the dark.

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WILL YOU DANCE WITH ME?, Derek Jarman
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

In 1984, Derek Jarman was doing research for his friend Ron Peck (Nighthawks, also showing in Art of the Real), who was working on a gangster movie to be set within London’s nightclub scene. The chief product of that research was this haunted, transfixing study of one night at a gay bar in East London’s Mile End district. Jarman was one of the earliest British filmmakers to experiment seriously with digital video, and in Will You Dance with Me? he found the format’s ghostly blurring of light and color perfectly matched to his subject. (The chiseled young man whom Jarman studies reverently in the movie’s last minutes would become an actor in his Super-8 work The Angelic Conversation.) “I don’t know that I’ve seen dance better filmed,” BFI curator William Fowler has said of the footage.

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SUPER 8½, Bruce LaBruce
MoMA

1994. Canada. Directed by Bruce LaBruce. With LaBruce, Stacy Friedrich, Mikey Mike, Chris Teen, Vaginal Creme Davis, Richard Kern. LaBruce’s quasi-autobiographical sophomore effort tells the story of “Bruce,” a porn auteur with avant-garde ambitions. Though he’d made a name for himself with movies like Pay Him as He Lays and My Hustler, Myself, Bruce finds his star fading and his career on the wane; like Marcello Mastroianni in Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2, he’s a frustrated director, and like Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8, his passions are the stuff of his undoing. Offering Bruce his last chance at fame is Googie, an up-and-coming art-film darling with designs to exploit his ailing reputation as a way to cement her own. LaBruce delivers this decline-and-fall saga with insouciant wit, all while aggressively lifting elements from film history (“There’s no copyright on a good line,” Bruce muses). Acutely self-aware and replete with hardcore action, this may be the most meta-cinematic blue movie ever made. 100 min.

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JOURNEY TO THE WEST, Tsai Ming-Iiang
Museum of the Moving Image

Dir. Tsai Ming-liang. 2014, 56 mins. Digital projection. Tsai’s latest is a study in defiant serenity amid chaos. In the daytime hustle-bustle of Marseille, Lee Kang-sheng, dressed in the orange robes of a Buddhist monk, inches his way along the street at a snail’s pace, his head hung down and eyes fixed on the pavement, to the mystification of the passersby not too busy to notice. Journey to the West is one of a series of films Tsai made with Lee’s Walker character, drawing inspiration from the life of a seventh-century monk who traveled China in search of Buddhist scriptures. Preceded by Walker (2012, 27 mins), in which Lee’s monk makes his way through frantic Hong Kong.

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STRAY DOGS, Tsai Ming-Iiang
Museum of the Moving Image

Dir. Tsai Ming-liang. 2013, 138 mins. DCP. With Chen Shiang-chyi, Lee
Kang-sheng, Lee Yi-cheng. Tsai’s most majestically desolate feature stars Lee Kang-sheng as a father caring for two young children despite dire poverty, all living in a shipping container while he works as a human signpost to advertise luxury real estate. Keeping the exact nature of interrelationships willfully vague—Why does a female grocery store clerk take a matronly attitude towards the children? How do they land in this bleak, waterlogged apartment with their mother?—Tsai proceeds with a sort of dream-logic to a mysterious, cathartic conclusion that seems to summarize his body of work from Vive L’Amour to Goodbye, Dragon Inn.

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***SUNDAY, APRIL 26***

SANS SOLEIL, Chris Marker
BAM

This sublime essay film journeys across time and space—from a cat temple in Tokyo to the streets of Guinea-Bissau to the San Francisco of Hitchcock’s Vertigo—as an unseen narrator reads aloud letters sent to her by a fictional globetrotting cameraman. One of the towering achievements of Marker’s career, Sans Soleil is at once a mesmeric travelogue and a profound and poetic rumination on life, death, and consciousness.

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BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE, Richard Quine
BAM

Stewart and Novak reteamed just after Vertigo for this enchanting romantic fantasy in which a modern-day witch (Novak) living in Greenwich Village casts a love spell on her book publisher neighbor (Stewart). There is plenty of frothy fun—the witches are portrayed as kooky beatniks and Ernie Kovacs steals scenes with his surreal, oddball shtick—but also a poignant undercurrent of real romantic longing that makes this a fascinating companion to Hitchcock’s film.

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TRISTANA, Luis
IFC Center

“Luis Buñuel’s 1970 masterwork, adapted from a novel by Benito Perez Galdos. Catherine Deneuve is a young woman unhappy with the constraints of turn-of-the-century Spanish society; her mild revolt is rewarded by an amputated leg. Buñuel conjures with Freudian imagery, outrageous humor, and a quiet, lyrical camera style to create one of his most complex and complete works, a film that continues to disturb and transfix. With Fernando Rey and Franco Nero.” – Dave Kehr

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THE AVIATOR’S WIFE, Eric Rohmer
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

“It is impossible to think of nothing.” Rohmer’s Comedies and Proverbs series begins with the misunderstandings of youthful obsession, the vagaries of chance encounters, and Paris, always. When a law student (Philippe Marlaud) sees his girlfriend (Marie Rivière) step out of her apartment with her ex, he trails the man around the city, fearing the worst. But his private fears in public places are put into delightful perspective by an impish younger student (Anne-Laure Meury) he runs into. Shot in 16mm and featuring a song sung by Arielle Dombasle (as well as a vintage ’80s man purse). An NYFF19 selection.

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BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIENDS, Eric Rohmer
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

“The friends of my friends are my friends.” Rohmer uses the amorous misadventures of two girlfriends in the Paris suburbs to test the old adage in the final episode of his Comedies and Proverbs series. Taking an identifiable stab at a yuppie(ish) set, Rohmer’s witty Shakespearean roundelay involves two friends, buttoned-up Blanche (Emmanuelle Chaulet, in a superb debut) and free-spirit Lea (Sophie Renoir), and their current amours. The pair are tempted by each other’s love interests, testing both their friendship and their understanding of matters of the heart. An NYFF25 selection.

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BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, George Roy Hill
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

George Roy Hill’s classic Western made Redford and Paul Newman one of cinema’s iconic duos. Butch (Newman) and Sundance (Redford) are gentleman outlaws, robbing banks and trains across a rapidly civilizing frontier. When things get too hot, they flee to Bolivia, where “you get a lot more for your money”—and get a lot more than they bargained for. Co-starring Katharine Ross (The Graduate) as Redford’s love interest, schoolteacher Etta Place, the film won Oscars for William Goldman’s endlessly quotable script, Conrad Hall’s lyrical cinematography, and Burt Bacharach’s score and original song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” which accompanies a memorable bicycle interlude. Redford named his Park City film festival after his character here, and Newman’s summer camp for children with serious illnesses shares a name with Butch and Sundance’s Hole in the Wall Gang.

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A GOOD MARRIAGE, Eric Rohmer
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

“Who has not built castles in Spain?” Art-student Sabine (Béatrice Romand, the teenager in Claire’s Knee) swears off affairs with married men in favor of finding a good husband. But there’s a small problem with her selection process: she decides to pursue lawyer Edmond (André Dussollier) after meeting him just once at a party (thanks to matchmaker friend Clarisse, played by Arielle Dombasle). And dashing Edmond is not exactly on board with the program… The second of Rohmer’s Comedies and Proverbs films goes out to anyone who ever made a decision and stuck with it to the tragic end.

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THE ROYAL ROAD, Jenni Olson
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

The docks of Oakland; roadside marker bells in Pasadena; the Spanish king Carlos III; expansionism in 19th-century America; the Franciscan mission-founder Junípero Serra; The Golden Gate Bridge; Casanova’s Story of My Life; Jules Laforgue’s “Solo By Moonlight”; William Wyler’s Roman Holiday. The essential San Francisco filmmaker Jenni Olson’s latest essay film is an associative, inquisitive meditation on love, remembrance, and California history structured around a trip down El Camino Real. The Royal Road riffs often and exquisitely on Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil—both films include key, lengthy discourses on Hitchcock’s Vertigo—but this movie’s voice, alternately dispassionate, confessional, and melancholic, is entirely Olson’s own.

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PAST PRESENT, Tsai Ming-Iiang
Museum of the Moving Image

Dir. Tiong Guan Saw. 2013, 76 mins. Digital projection. With Chen Shiang-chyi, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Ang Lee. Preceded by Walking on Water (Dir. Tsai Ming Liang, 2013, 30 mins). With Shiang-chyi, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Ang Lee. Malaysian filmmaker Tiong Guan Saw’s documentary creates perhaps the most intimate filmed portrait of Tsai by asking him to tell his story from the very beginning—the city of Kuching, where he was raised, and the cinemas where he religiously consumed kung-fu movies with his grandparents—before following him to Taiwan, where he relocated in the 1970s. Tsai’s recollections are combined with testimonials from longtime collaborators like Lee Kang-sheng and Chen Shiang-chyi, as well as admiring colleagues like Ang Lee and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Preceded by Walking on Water (Dir. Tsai Ming-liang, 2013, 30 mins.), in which Lee’s Walker monk traverses the Kuching housing block that Tsai grew up in.

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GOODBYE, DRAGON INN, Tsai Ming-Iiang
Museum of the Moving Image

Dir. Tsai Ming-liang. 2003, 82 mins. 35mm. With Lee Kang-sheng, Chen Shiang-chyi, Kiyonobu Mitamura. It’s the last night for a crumbling Fu-Ho movie theater in Taipei, and the film is Dragon Inn (1966), the seminal wuxia by Taiwan-based filmmaker King Hu. The kinetic soundtrack contrasts the theater’s melancholy, slow-moving denizens, including a female box-office attendant with a limp, a cruising Japanese tourist, and two of the stars of Hu’s film. Filled with expertly timed sight gags, Goodbye, Dragon Inn is Tsai’s rueful backwards glance at the disappearance of the filmgoing culture of his youth—and one of the seminal films of the 21st century. “Its simple, meticulously composed frames are full of mystery and feeling; it’s an action movie that stands perfectly still” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times). Preceded by The Skywalk Is Gone (2002, 25 mins. 35mm), a return to the characters of What Time Is It Over There?

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The Best Film Events and Retrospectives Happening This February in New York

Now that we’ve begun our descent into the bottomless frozen hell of late winter, it’s a comfort to know that there’s always a warm cinema somewhere in close proximity. And amidst a slew of Hollywood features debuting in the past month, and those Oscar contenders still hanging around theaters, it’s a delight to slip away into the past for a bit and catch up on a wealth of rare and fantastic work that may have fallen through the cinematic cracks of your personal collection. From IFC Center and Lincoln Center to BAM and Anthology Film Archives, it’s the perfect month to enjoy their various retrospectives, screenings, and events—and even some dark Valentine’s Day treats.

So whatever your film fancy—from the dark glamour of Hollywood musicals to lovesick thrill—peruse our list and start planning out your viewing schedule now. Enjoy.

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THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER

Film Comment Selects (February 17 through 27th)

Our Sunhi
We Are the Best!
Top of the Lake
Me and You
Betrayal
+ more

Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema (February 5th through 16th)

Blind Chance
The Hourglass Sanatorium
The Last Day of Summer
A Short Film About Killing
+ more

Nancy Buirski’s AFTERNOON OF A FAUN: TANAQUIL LE CIERCQ
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FILM FORUM

Jean-Luc Godard’s ALPHAVILLE (February 7th through 13th)
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Alain Resnais’S JE T’AIME JE T’AIME (February 14th through 20th)
read more

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BAM

Vengeance is Hers (February 7th through 18th)

Ms. 45
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
The Lady Eve
The Match Factory Girl
+ more

River of Fundament (February 12th through 16th)
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Kino Polska: New Polish Cinema (February 19th through 23rd)

Floating Skyscrappers
The Closed Circuit
Loving
+ more

Black Audio Film Collective (February 24th through 27th)

Handsworth Songs
The Stuart Hall Project
+ more

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ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES

Millennium Film Journal at 35! (February 7th through 9th)
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Valentines Day Massacre (February 14th through 17th)

We Won’t Grow Old Together
Modern Romance
+more

Beyond Cassavetes: The Lonely Sex (Wednesday, February 19th)
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Russ Meyer & Roger Ebert (February 21st through 23rd)

Beyond the Valley of Ultra-Vixens
Up!
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
+ more

Motion(less) Pictures (February 20th through 4th)

La Jetee & Chaffed Elbows
Letter  to Jane
+ more

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NITEHAWK

Music Driven: Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains  (February 6th)
read more

February Brunch: Lovers and Fighters (February 8th to February 23rd)

Say Anything
The Karate Kid
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MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE

See It Big! Musicals (Until February 28th)

Cabaret
An American in Paris
The Pajama Game
New York, New York
+ more

Peter O’ Toole Tribute (February 9th)
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The Soundtrack Series (February 8th)

Saturday Night Fever
Pulp Fiction
read more

Mad as Hell: The Making of Network (February 23rd)
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MoMA

Roadshow: The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s (Until February 7th)

Cabaret
Camelot
Gigi
Finian’s Rainbow
Funny Girl
+ more

Critical Reverie: The Films of Isaac Julien

Derek
Young Soul Rebels
+ more

Roman Polanski’s REPULSION
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Documentary Fortnight 2014: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media

The Mother and the Sea
A Dream of Iron
Pine Ridge
+ more

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Vienna Unveiled: A City in Cinema (February 27–April 20, 2014)

An Evening with VALIE EXPORT
La Ronde
Eyes Wide Shut
The Marriage Circle
Bad Timing
The Third Man
+ more

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IFC CENTER

Stranger Than Fiction (Until March 18th)

Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart
Monterey Pop
Brother’s Hypnotic
A Great Day in Harlem
+ more

American Hustlers: Grifters, Swindlers, Scammers & Cheats (February 14th to May 4th)

Double Indemnity
Paper Moon
Trouble in Paradise
The Lady Eve
The Grifters
+ more

Weekly Events Nov. 22-25

Gallery hopping, film screening, concert-going, and partying: check out what’s coming up with this week’s BlackList.

Friday, November 22nd

Psychic Night: Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington’s DARKSIDE will grace the stage in Brooklyn, for what is sure to be a danceable night of fun. The show will be held at Glasslands and feature the duo alongside Justin Miller.
Tickets: $20.00 Location: 289 Kent Ave in Williamsburg.

Pinter Winter: The Film Society of Lincoln Center brings the biting cinematic world of Harold Pinter to life with a retrospective of the film adaptations of the playwright’s staggering work, as well as films based on his own original screenplays. From Joseph Losey’s The Servant to William Friedkin’s The Birthday Party, get your Pinter fill at Lincoln Center.
Tickets: $13 Location: 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, NY.

Drawn Together: ISSUE and The Drawing Center present an evening of works by William Engelen and Aki Onda. Head down to Boreum Hill to see percussion ensemble Talujon perform Engelen’s recent work Falten—”a hybrid of score and sculpture, in conjunction with the exhibition William Engelen: Falten, on view at The Drawing Center through January. In addition, Eli Keszler and the Ashcan Orchestra’s Pat Spadine will be performing Aki Onda’s Damaged, an “ongoing series of New York street photography serve as visual cues for improvisation.”
Tickets: $ 15 Location: 22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn.

Saturday, November 23rd

Mysterious Chat: Novelist Doug Dorst, J.J. Abrams, and Lena Dunham will all sit down for chat to unwrap S., a new multi-layered novel that interconnects four different tales through handwritten letters, newspaper clippings, postcards, an old napkin and even a decoder ring.
Tickets: $25 Location: Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space, NY.

Ravishing Retelling: Head over to BAM to see Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon’s La Belle et la Bête, a unique and beautiful recreation of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. With an original score by Michel Smith, their version “transforms an ageless story into a mercurial dream world charged with eroticism.”
Tickets: $14 Location: BAM Howard Gilman Opera House – Brooklyn, NY.

A Clocktower Farewell: To celebrate the closing of the historic Clocktower building, they will be holding a final public event. To say goodbye to the space, artists of all generations will be there to share post-Clocktower programs and share stories of the gallery’s achievements.
Tickets: Free Location: 108 Leonard Street, NY.

Sunday, November 24th

Movie night: The Museum of the Moving Image will host a preview screening of Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners on Sunday at 7:00pm. Actors Melissa Leo and Jake Gyllenhaal will also be there in person alongside the director and screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski.
Tickets: $25 public / $15 Museum members Location: 36-01 35th Avenue, in Astoria.

Play/Pause: As part of the 2013 Next Wave festival, head down to BAM to see a night of post-modern dance theater from Susan Marshall & Company. With music by David Lang, the show examines our complex relationship with the media we consume, through choreography that echoes the what we see in our everyday pop culture music landscape.
Tickets: $20 Location: BAM Fisher – Brooklyn, NY.

Monday, November 25th

The wonder of Nihls Frahm: The brilliant Nihls Frahm will head to Le Poisson Rouge on Monday to play a highly-anticipated show this Monday. Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin (w/ music of Bartók, Enescu, and Kurtág) will be the opening act for a surely memorable night of incredible sound.
Tickets: $15/$20/$25 Location: 158 Bleecker Street, NY.

The BlackList: Weekly Events Nov. 22-25 – BlackBook.

TV Party at the Museum of the Moving Image

The exhibitionists, fameballs, and attention-seeking weirdos of today don’t know how good they have it. To get exposure, all they need to do is shoot a video of themselves doing something kooky and upload it to the internet, where it can potentially be viewed by 6.9 billion people. A mere two decades ago, you either had to be famous enough to work with a major broadcaster, or do it the hard way by producing your own public access TV show. The latter group of DIY entertainers is being celebrated at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens beginning tomorrow with TV Party: A Panorama of Public Access Television in New York City, a retrospective of public access TV shows and discussions with the pioneers of the medium.

The retrospective begins on Friday at 7pm with a public access reunion featuring some of the original hosts from the access galaxy. A collection of public access shows will be screened throughout the week, from wildly unpredictable telephone call-in programs to avant-garde late-night talkfests with “stoned, sexy hosts” working blue thanks to immunity from FCC decency laws.

My recommendation: Shindig, which features screenings of two classic music shows, Wild Record Collection (with Snuffles the Bear and his dancing zoo review) and the Scott & Gary Show (pictured at top), a twisted take on American Bandstand hosted by artist Scott Lewis (whose paintings are now on display at Jungle Science) and playwright Gary Winter that featured one of the first television appearances of the baby-faced Beastie Boys (and girl) and the lead singer of the Butthole Surfers interviewing a mole on his own leg while tripping on acid.

Take a look at the schedule of events and check out this unique look at New York TV history. The retrospective runs through February 20.