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.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Opens May 4 at the Metrograph Paul Schrader x 4 The "Man In a Room" Quartet with Schrader Appearing In-Person!
An untamed and fiercely independent figure, unreconciled to and still undefeated by the forces of corporatized cinema, Paul Schrader has through his long career remained almost perversely loyal to his guiding preoccupation with the figure of a lonely man wrestling with his soul and with himself, driven towards a moral crucible. Branded by his early encounters with the films of Robert Bresson, about whom he wrote passionately as a critic, Schrader has through his career as director and screenwriter returned to what he calls the “man in a room,” subject of four of the finest films to bear his imprint. In Taxi Driver it’s Robert De Niro’s brooding Travis Bickle; in American Gigolo and The Walker, paid male escorts played by Richard Gere and Woody Harrelson; in Light Sleeper, Willem Dafoe’s insomniac high-end drug dealer. To this body of work we can now add the searing, sublime First Reformed, an apotheosis of sorts, in which Ethan Hawke gives the performance of his career as a clergyman pursued by guilt, driven towards a startling reckoning. To mark its release, Metrograph will be welcoming back the greatest of New York cineastes beginning May 4, good company in which to celebrate a superlative cinema of solitude.
Light Sleeper (1992/103 mins/35mm) Willem Dafoe, understated and unbelievably gentle, plays John LeTour, a recovering drug addict who still deals to a high-end New York clientele maintained by boss Susan Sarandon, who’s looking to move on from the business. LeTour’s professional crisis and midlife muddle become something much more acute—and dangerous—when he re-encounters an old flame from his user days. Marvelously melancholic, with a mighty, rolling suite of songs by The Call’s Michael Been. Friday, May 4 - 7:00pm - Followed by Q&A with Paul Schrader
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese/1976/113 mins/DCP) “Suck on this!” A pure distillation of needling isolation, inadequacy, and anguish, all roiling in the tortured gut of Robert De Niro’s insomniac cabbie Travis Bickle, who cruises all night through a stygian, steam-choked Manhattan, nursing his fears and hatreds. A defining picture of New York City in 1976, and a movie that is wrenched straight from the unquiet psyche of its screenwriter, exorcising his personal demons. Saturday, May 5 - 6:30pm- Followed by Q&A with Paul Schrader
The Walker(2007/108 mins/35mm) A droll, wry, and altogether perfect Woody Harrelson plays Carter Page III, a pure, corrupt creature of the Beltway whose impeccable manners make him an ideal paid companion to Washington D.C. socialites, the fact that he’s gay notwithstanding. Everybody loves Carter—until, that is, he runs afoul of a murder, and finds himself suddenly on the outside of the high-society clique that he has so long cultivated. Saturday, May 5 - 9:30pm- Introduced by Paul Schrader
American Gigolo(1980/117 mins/35mm) Richard Gere, Lauren Hutton, Blondie, Giorgios Armani and Moroder, “visual consultant” Ferdinando Scarfiotti: this is the movie where Schrader found a new alchemy of style and soul, fusing Italian design and west coast cool, queer aesthetics and religious art from the 12th century to Robert Bresson. Quite simply one of the most visually influential films of the 80s… though imitators often forget the humanity at its core, and its keen sense for the agony of aloof detachment. Sunday, May 6 - 6:30pm