A collection of reviews of films from off the beaten path; a travel guide for those who love the cinematic world and want more than the mainstream releases.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Metrograph's September and October 2017 Repertory Calendar Announced
Opens September 1
Gotta Light? A Film Series Inspired by Episode 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return Titles Include Eraserhead, Conner's Crossroads, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stalker, and Radio Bikini
David Lynch is that rare artist who unites traditions, often apart or at odds with what is thought to be traditional narrative and avant-garde film. Spurred into filmmaking by a desire to see his paintings move, Lynch’s first efforts were distinctly in the experimental vein. As evidence that the spirit remains alive in Lynch, look no further than Episode 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return, a tangled, visceral multi-megaton blast of invention that brought together personal cosmology and postwar history in a single bravura performance. While The Return continues to unfold, Metrograph selected a program of Lynch’s more far-out productions, alongside a collection of films, non-narrative and documentary, that complement or inform his work. Titles include Lynch's Eraserhead and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me; 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stalker, Kiss Me Deadly, four experimental shorts programs, with work by Bruce Conner, Ken Jacobs, Stan Brakhage, Ernie Gehr, Pat O'Neill, and the atomic-age examination Radio Bikini.
Opens September 8
The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun: Psychedelic Surf Films, 1966-1979 Includes Morning of the Earth, Crystal Voyager, and The Endless Summer
Born from the countercultural, back-to-the-land, free-loving Sixties, and its subsequent swells of disillusion, surfing as a sport and lifestyle spread throughout coastal communities around the beaches of Hawaii, California and Australia. Set to psych-rock soundtracks, with stunning, trippy visuals, films like Albert Falzon’s Morning of the Earth and David Elfick's Crystal Voyager found the moment where time and space cease to exist, and the blissed-out surfer became one with the never-ending wave. Other titles include The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun (George Greenough), The Endless Summer (Bruce Brown), Dalmas (Bert Deling), and Palm Beach (Albie Thoms). Guest programmed by Jeremy Rossen, Harvard Film Archives.
Opens September 15
UCLA Preservation Festival at Metrograph New 35mm Prints of Trouble in Paradise, The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean, and The Murder of Fred Hampton
So much of film history still remains to be discovered, and this is where the heroic work of the UCLA Film & Television Archive comes in. At long last, the fruits of their labor arrive in New York City, with a bi-annual tour of recent restorations and new prints, including the classic Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch), Hollywood gothic The Lost Moment (Martin Gabel), film noirs from America, He Walked by Night (Alfred L. Werker) and Open Secret (John Reinhardt), and Argentina, Los Tallos Amargos, Laurel & Hardy in Sons of the Desert (William A. Seiter), two from independent writer-director Juleen Compton,The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean and Stranded, in which she also stars, and, most thrillingly, a masterpiece of investigative journalism The Murder of Fred Hampton (Howard Alk).
Opens September 22
New Noir: Chinese Crime Films U.S. Premieres of Lethal Hostage, The Confirmist, and Ash
The American gangster flick and noir, the British spiv quickie, the German krimi, the French policier, the Italian poliziotteschi, the Hong Kong triad movie and the Japanese yakuza film. In just about every language you can think of in just about every country in the world there’s a word for crime pictures—with one noteworthy exception. In Mainland China, crime depicted on screen is an admission to the existence of discontent in the people’s paradise. Recently, however, a new generation of up-and-coming auteurs, working independently, have been reworking the tropes of the Chinese spy film to address the country’s endemic corruption and violence, with films that portray drifting killers, frustrated police, and lethal beauties, all enmeshed in a web of vice and desire. Beginning with the US premiere of Cai Shangjun’s The Conformist, Metrograph is pleased to introduce a sampling of these hard-hitting fugitive films, little seen outside of the festival circuit either at home or abroad, which taken together signal the appearance of a Mainland school of noir. Lethal Hostage (Cheng Er) and Ash (Li Xiaofang) will also receive US premieres; The Dead End (Cao Baoping) receives its NY premiere; Berlin Film Festival winner Black Coal Thin Ice (Diao Yinan) will also screen.
Opens September 27
Imaginary Chinatown Titles Include Big Trouble in Little China, The Bowery, Gangs of New York, Year of the Dragon, Once Upon a Time in America, Gremlins, Alice, and Chinatown
The international Chinatown, accessed through red lacquered gates bearing formidable dragon motifs, has been a vital aspect of both history and myth-making in the West for over 200 years and counting. At once a place of yearning for the far-flung homelands of an ever-growing pan-Asian population abroad and a place onto which the West’s collective fantasy of the Orient can be projected, the exotic exteriors and supposedly mysterious, vice-ridden corridors of Chinatown have never failed to stir the imagination of Hollywood. In popular cinema, Chinatown has been rendered as a hyperbolic fantasy space where anything—even Mogwais—can be bought and sold; where one partakes in copious amounts of opium from what a Broken Blossoms intertitle calls “the lily-tipped pipe”; where car chases collide with extravagant dragon dances; where crime and sin are believed to go unpunished because the locals play by their own rules and “Forget it, Jake—it’s Chinatown.” While far too often trafficking in insidious stereotypes, these were among the first films to create roles—albeit caricatured ones—for pioneering Chinese-American actors (when not featuring white actors). Proudly perched on Ludlow at Canal Street, around the corner from storied the Chinatown Dragon Fighters fire station and across from the historic site of the storied Loews Canal cinema, Metrograph will pay tribute to the complex tradition of Chinatown on film.
Opens October 1
Philippe Garrel The Most Extensive Retrospective Staged in North America
The “the child of Cocteau and Godard“ (Rivette), “the proverbial underrated genius” (Assayas), Philippe Garrel began making films at sixteen, fired by a mythopoetic vision and a political fervor that crested and crashed in May ’68, whose turmoil he filmed (the long-lost, newly discovered Actua 1), and re-created from memory (Regular Lovers). In the fallout of this popular uprising the dandy-in-the-underworld Garrel produced a darkly dazzling cycle of what Philippe Azoury called “alchemic and symbolist ﬁlms, a cinema in suede boots.” Then, beginning with 1982’s L’Enfant Secret (“The secret child of French cinema, Garrel has sent us a sign of life. Our answer: we hear you loud and clear” – Serge Daney) Garrel became something of the patron saint of narrative minimalists, making pared-down, cloistered works fascinated with the significance of minute gestures and yet also encompassing the wider world affairs both social and romantic. Garrel’s reflective films draw heavily on his autobiography—the women in his life, including the chanteuse Nico, his companion for a crucial decade-long interlude; his addictions and inner turmoil; a family of politically-engaged artisans, incorporating as actors father Maurice, son Louis and most-recently daughter Esther, alongside comrades Jean-Pierre Léaud, Anne Wiazemsky, Pierre Clémenti and Zouzou. This retrospective, the most complete yet in the United States (including restorations of La cicatrice intérieure, Le révélateur, and L'enfant secret, which will receive a U.S. premiere week-long run beginningOctober 11), will provide a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience fifty years of work from cinema’s foremost poet.
Opens October 7
Anna May Wong Shanghai Express, Toll of the Sea, Daughter of the Dragon, and Old San Francisco Screen in Sidebar to "Imaginary Chinatown"
The sidebar to "Imaginary Chinatown" is a tribute to the Empress of Chinatown herself, Anna May Wong. Born in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, Wong’s early days of working for her father’s laundry made her meticulous about dressing. Since her father wanted a boy, she watched her sister wear masculine clothes to appease him, and this would in time inspire her androgynous onscreen presence, a quality she shared with Marlene Dietrich, with whom she would be glamorously paired in Josef Von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express. Thanks to her preternatural beauty Wong was modeling fur coats by the age of ten, and by the time she was a teenager she had broken into the movie business—not a time exceedingly receptive to screen testing Asian faces. Throughout her career Wong would bridle at the exoticized roles she was handed, even taking off for Europe when Hollywood disappointed her, but she approached every film with incredible grace and dignity, and what remains of her through the years is a seductive, incredibly chic, and startlingly modern screen presence.
Opens October 7
Written by Stephen King Presented by Shudder
Stephen King has ruled popular culture as few writers ever have, a breakout acolyte of pulp genius cult writers like H.P. Lovecraft, Jim Thompson, and Donald Westlake who has kept his mass audience riveted since the publication of his first novel, Carrie, in 1974. Directed with verve by Brian de Palma, Carriewould be a sensation in cinemas as well, and King’s influence on movies has been felt ever since—not exclusively but especially in the horror genre. It is in honor of the fecund, warped mind of the man from Portland, Maine, then, that Metrograph presents a ghoulish parade of cinematic King adaptations. Titles include Christine (John Carpenter), Carrie (Brian DePalma), The Shining (Stanley Kubrick), Misery (Rob Reiner), Maximum Overdrive (Stephen King), and The Dead Zone (David Cronenberg).
Opens October 13
Giallo x 3
When the Sexual Revolution hit the stronghold of Catholicism, there was bound to be a hell of an explosion—and in Italian pop cinema, this explosion was called giallo. The name means “Yellow,” a reference to the color of the covers which traditionally graced cheap paperback mysteries, and it came to refer to an entire genre of indigenous thrillers defined by their dreamlike narrative illogic, bravura cinematography, wall-to-wall scoring, and above all diseased eroticism and sexual hysteria. So slip on the black gloves, stiffen up with a glass of J & B, and come on down to see three of the freakiest entries in a body of film art not exactly known for restraint. Titles include What Have You Done to Solange?(Massimo Dallamano), Your Voice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Sergio Martino), and Death Laid an Egg (Giulio Questi).
Opens October 18
Nanni Moretti 6 Films with Moretti in Person
One of the great international film traditions, the Italian cinema weathered hard years through the late 1980s and 90s, but in the person of Nanni Moretti it has had its great and indefatigable torchbearer. Anxiety over decline—of a leftist resistance, of a non-commercial cinema, of plain old aging and human frailty—is essential to Moretti’s films, which often find him front and center as alter-ego Michele Apicella, but in his hands this becomes the stuff of bittersweet comedy. Documentary and fiction form, ideological seriousness and absolute irreverence—all mix and mingle in these remarkable movies that can only be labelled as “Moretti.” Titles include Palombessa Rossa, Caro Diario, Aprile, The Son's Room, Il Caimano,and the greatest ode to theater operation ever, Opening Day of Close-Up
Welcome to Metrograph: U-V
This is the tenth installment in a (now-longer-than) year-long, alphabetically ordered series that offers films the programmers at Metrograph consider must-sees; a pinnacle of a filmmaker’s career or an overlooked, demands-reconsideration masterpiece. Titles include The Unbelievable Truth (Hal Hartley), Vampyres (José Ramón Larraz), Viva La Muerte (Fernando Arrabal), An Unmarried Woman (Paul Mazursky), Vanishing Point (Richard C. Sarafian), Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Jaromil Jires), Vengeance is Mine (Shôhei Imamura), Viva Zapata! (Elia Kazan), Vertical Ray of the Sun (Tran Anh Hung), Underworld, USA (Samuel Fuller), Ulzana's Raid (Robert Aldrich), Videodrome (David Cronenberg), and more.