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.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
November/December Repertory and Special Events Calendar Announced at the Metrograph
Spring Dreams: The Cinema of Yang Lina and Huang Ji
The mainstream Mainland film industry remains largely a boy’s club, but a few independent female directors are working outside of the rigged system, determined to tell women’s stories by any means necessary. Enter Huang Ji and Yang Lina, two stubbornly self-sufficient artists doing things their own way. Ji, drawing from her own life experience, has become the foremost cinematic chronicler of the daughters of the “left-behind” generation, negotiating a hostile environment that extends few protections to women. Yang, a dancer-turned-documentarian who had a small role in Jia Zhangke’s Platform (2000), broke through with the independent nonfiction classic Old Men, and more recently has turned to fiction with the sensual ghost story Longing for the Rain. “It’s difficult work because the authorities do not intend to give you the good soil to grow,” says Yang of her outsider’s practice, but the work of these remarkable filmmakers is proof that their sheer determination has brought forth a remarkable harvest. Part of the Creative China Festival 2018 and supported by the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation.
Wang Bing Five-Film Retrospective with Bing Appearing In-Person!
The films of Wang Bing fix their sights on those left behind by the much-publicized story of China’s 21stcentury prosperity—the migrant workers traveling to the big cities and the rural poor left behind—but they sternly discourage the touristic eye or casual, cheap “compassion.” Wang makes films that, with their emphasis on duration and attention to the hard physical facts of poverty disallow such noncommittal approaches; if you want to see hardship, he seems to tell us, you will have to pay a price of admission. Described by Film Comment as “A director intent on swallowing reality whole,” Wang generally works far from Beijing, remote Yunnan province being a favorite locale, but his body of work altogether gets at something central to modern China, seen straightforwardly and without sentiment by this radically original artist, totally steadfast in his vision and moral purpose. Titles include Ta'ang (2016), Bitter Money (2016), Three Sisters (2012), 'Til Madness Do Us Part (2013), Fengmeng (2007), and a selection by Wang, Old Men (Lina Yang, 1999). Supported by Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation.
November 17 & 18
Bill Duke 8-Film Retrospective with Duke Appearing In-Person
As a director, Bill Duke has contributed a handful of tough, smart, and essential modern classics, including the duo of A Rage inHarlem (1991) and Deep Cover (1992). As a mentor and humanitarian, he has cultivated young, black talent on the grassroots level through his Duke Media Foundation. As an actor, the enormous Duke, looming of stature and somber of visage, needs only to walk into frame to take over a movie, notable recently for his one scene standout in Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018) From playing a regally elegant gay pimp in Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo to anchoring some of the biggest and bloodiest action spectacles of the 1980s, Duke has had an extraordinary career in front of the camera, and a no less unforgettable one behind it—a towering screen presence, of towering accomplishments. Titles include Predator (John McTiernan, 1987), Commando (Mark L. Lester, 1985), Menace II Society (Albert and Allen Hughes, 1993), The Killing Floor (Duke, 1984), and Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018). With special thanks to Brandon Bernath and Aaron Stewart-Ahn.
Opens November 19
Darius Khondji Retrospective with Khondji Appearing In-Person!
Born in Tehran to Persian-French parentage, raised from a young age in France, and educated in the United States, Darius Khondji’s international upbringing would prepare him for an equally international career, working with some of the greatest living directors and helping them to express their visions through the language he knows best, that of the cinematic image. Khondji through the years has worked with talents that include David Fincher (Se7en), Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro (Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children), Wong-Kar Wai (My Blueberry Nights), Michael Haneke (Funny Games, Amour), and James Gray (The Lost City of Z), and while his work for each is as distinct as the worlds that they create, he brings to every film a painterly eye and a peerless attention to minute qualities of atmosphere, gifts which allow him to pick and choose his collaborators. To see his finest work together, as it will be in Metrograph’s vital retrospective, is to experience nothing less than the gallery of a modern master. Titles include Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (Douglas Gordon/Philippe Parreno, 2006), Okja (Bong Joon-ho, 2017), Alien: Resurrection (Jeunet), Evita (Alan Parker, 1996), The Beach (Danny Boyle, 2000), as well as shorts and music videos shot by Khondji, including Jay-Z’s Marcy Me, directed by Josh and Benny Safdie.
November 30 to December 2
Double Exposure: Portraits and Parallels Across the Diaspora
Twenty-three years ago, the Creatively Speaking Film Series was founded with the mission of elevating the work of highly regarded independent filmmakers of color. This brand-new program premiering at Metrograph, “Double Exposure” highlights work from across the African Diaspora - African American, African and Caribbean films - reaffirming Creatively Speaking’s commitment to changing the cultural narrative, one image at a time. The wide-ranging program of new political drama, little-known history lessons and speculative fiction includes Double Play, the latest from Ernest Dickerson, King of Stage, a biography a living legend Woodie King Jr. directed by Juney Smith, the thrilling story of Ghana’s liberation Footprints of PanAfricanism directed by Shirikiana Gerima, Sharon Lewis’ debut feature Brown Girl, from South Africa Uprize!, Sifiso Khanyile’s doc on the Soweto uprising of June 16, 1975, and a program of shorts including Darius Clark Monroe’s Black 14. Screenings to be followed by in-depth conversations with filmmakers. Curated by Michelle Materre and the Creatively Speaking team. Titles include Teza (Haile Gerima, 2009), Footprints of Pan-Africanism (Shirikiana Gerima, 2017), Double Play(Ernest Dickerson, 2017), King of Stage (Juney Smith, 2017), Brown Girl Begins (Sharon Lewis, 2017),Uprize! (Sifiso Khanyile, 2017), Where the Water Runs (Ashtong DuBois, 2018), GIVE (David de Rozas, 2017), Black 14 (Darius Clark Monroe, 2018), Respect and Love (Angelique Webster, 2018), and Into My Life (Ivana Hucíková, Sarah Keeling, Grace Remington with M. Elaine and Cassandra Bromfield, 2018), and Mandabi (Ousmane Sembene, 1968).
Opens December 1
Holidays at Metrograph
Now an annual Metrograph tradition, the holiday season also provides the subject matter for a great many magnificent films—for all sorts of adventures and romances can happen when regular work schedules don’t have to be attended to, and there is just something cinematic about the twinkle of Christmas lights. Under the Metrograph tree, we’ve heaped up plenty of seasonal goodies, from warm-and-cozy studio era standards to modern masterworks—because chestnuts roasting on an open fire are nice, but there’s no substitute for the glow of the silver screen. Titles include Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017), Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015), and Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999) in 35mm; Trading Places(John Landis, 1983), Remember the Night (Mitchell Leisen, 1940), Christmas in Connecticut (Peter Godfrey, 1945), Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944), 3 Godfathers (John Ford, 1948), Bad Santa (Terry Zwigoff, 2003), Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984), and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964).
Opens December 6
Mario Ruspoli: Prince of the Whales and Other Rarities
Florence Dauman Appearing In-Person to Present US premiere of Doc Portrait
Mario Ruspoli was a prodigiously gifted documentarian, as well as photographer, writer, gastronomist, zoologist, jazz nut, student of prehistory, painting enthusiast, amateur entomologist, and all-around adventurer. Born in Rome but resident in Paris for much of his adult life, the breadth of his curiosity and free-ranging intelligence was as great as that of his good friend Chris Marker, whom wrote the commentary for Three Cheers for the Whale (1972), and innovations to the documentary form that are still due for proper recognition and appraisal. With sterling new restorations of his major works and the first ever English translation of Florence Dauman’s Mario Ruspoli: Prince of the Whalesand Other Rarities(2011), Metrograph is thrilled to present this extraordinary program, including the masterworks The Earth's Forgotten (1961), A Look at Madness (1961), Prisoner's Day (1961), The Whalers (1958), Chavel(1970) and Chavalanthrope (1972) and The Last Drink (1964). Metrograph will tour this retrospective across North America in 2019.
Opens December 14
In the Year of the Grifter
That “Fake it ‘til you make it” has become the unofficial motto of these United States isn’t an unexpected development—way back in 1857 Herman Melville’s satirical The Confidence-Man: His Masqueradeproposed a vision of the Republic as a ship of fools, lured in by a shapeshifting flim-flam artist. American and the world gets older but wiser, and yesteryear’s snake oil salesmen and false prophets seeking actual profits give way to a new breed of fakers, art world hustlers like Anna Delvey and born-rich real estate swindlers who turn a long history of bankruptcies into a campaign for public office. The real-world results aren’t anything to celebrate today, but cinema, based as it is on feats of audio-visual deceit, has long had a kind of love affair with fabulous frauds, and we’ve brought some of the rogues, rakes, mountebanks, and outright bastards together. It’s a special, and perhaps especially insightful, collection of movies—and that’s no lie. Titles include Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932), The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola, 2013),Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955), F For Fake (Welles, 1973), The Grifters (Stephen Frears, 1990), Scarlet Street (Fritz Lang, 1945), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Frank Oz, 1988), The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941), Chameleon Street (Wendell B. Harris, Jr, 1989), Femme Fatale (Brian DePalma, 2002), Desire(Frank Borzage, 1936), Yolanda and the Thief (Minnelli, 1945), Corsair (Roland West, 1931), The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013), The Color of Money (Scorsese, 1988),, The Talented Mr. Ripley(Anthony Minghella, 1999), The Spanish Prisoner (Mamet, 1997) and House of Games (Mamet, 1987).
Throughout November and December
Coming this weekend, next weekend, and ongoing every single Saturday and Sunday, Playtime is a new creatively-curated Metrograph matinee series featuring studio standbys, animations from yesterday and yesteryear, and foreign fare. The content will always be kid-appropriate, but the main criteria for selection is excellence—these are movies for film lovers of all ages, from those just learning to love the cinema to longtime fans revisiting old favorites. This fall's offerings include The Secret of NINM (1982), A Shot in the Dark (1964), Dr. Doolittle 2 (2001), Playtime (1967), The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen (1988), Sidewalk Stories (1989), Explorers (1985), and Mad Hot Ballroom (2005).
Throughout November and December
Academy at Metrograph
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Continues its Residency at Metrograph with Upcoming Fall and Winter Programming
Karina Longworth Presents The Barefoot Contessa on November 16
ACADEMY AT METROGRAPH continues in November and December, with upcoming programming that includes The Barefoot Contessa presented by Karina Longworth on November 16.
The Barefoot Contessa,presented by Karina Longworth will take place on Friday, November 18th. The screening of Joseph H. Mankiewicz's fiercely intelligent masterpiece will be introduced by Longworth, the writer and host of the You Must Remember This podcast, followed by a signing of her new book, Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood, a rumination on sex and power in Tinseltown. Copies of the book will be available for purchase prior to and after the screening.
A program for December will be announced very shortly.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) began a yearlong residency at Metrograph in July 2017, bringing exciting and entertaining programs to the big screen. Programs in ACADEMY AT METROGRAPH have and continue to feature onstage conversations with filmmakers and scholars of motion pictures, tributes, newsreels, rarely seen clips from past Oscar® ceremonies, and home movies from Hollywood legends. This monthly series highlights unique archival elements, including recent restorations and film prints from the Academy Film Archive by celebrating classic moments from the Academy’s 90-year history.
"Animal Kingdom: Tales of the Sweet & Bitter" Presented by Marie Losier
Between owls and dogs, masters and owners, ice cream and lipsticks, between sleep and disco, between archives and surprises, between celluloid and colors, filmmaker Marie Losier presents an evening of pure celebration and joy, pure laughter and marvels. "Coming back to NYC is a celebration and showing films is a way to celebrate and share with my NY family of friends and cinephiles." – Losier. Titles include Tony Ganz and Rhody Streeter’s Honeymoon Hotel (1971), DA Pennebaker visiting the home of Robert and Ethel Kennedy for their annual fair of local pets Hickory Hill (1968), Rohmer’s video Bois ton café (1986), Sucksdorff’s A Divided World (1948)and Marie Losier’s own The Blessing of the Animals (2003), shot at St. John the Divine. Special thanks to The Cinematheque de Toulouse, Francesca Bozzano and Dominique Auzel, Frazer Pennebaker.
Thy Kingdom Come Presented by Eugene Richards
Thy Kingdom Come—a collaboration between photographer/filmmaker Eugene Richards (currently subject of a career retrospective at ICP in New York) and actor/producer Javier Bardem—was conceived of following the filming of Terence Malick’s To the Wonder. As part of that production's "third unit," Richards introduced Bardem, who was portraying a parish priest in Malick’s film, to the real life residents of a small Oklahoma town. What had been intended as brief episodes for inclusion in the feature film grew in scope, as the townspeople, wholly aware that the priest was a fictional priest, chose to share personal details of their lives. Filmed in a dozen homes, a trailer park, a county jail, a local nursing facility, Thy Kingdom Come is a melding of truth and fiction, in which unscripted conversations, shot by Richards in beautiful widescreen, come to reveal the complexity of life in this small oil town.
Ghosts of Mars Presented by A.S. Hamrah
"John Carpenter’s desert western distills his core themes and style into a stripped-down action film set on a colonized red planet where possessed miners become face-painted killers and women run the police force from “the Matronage” back on a newly female-run Earth. Shot on an LA soundstage and in the Sovereign Indian Nation of the Pueblo of Zia in New Mexico, with a synth-metal score by Carpenter (performed with Anthrax and Buckethead), Ghosts of Mars came out three weeks before 9/11 and bombed. A true late work, it has he feel of a final film into which Carpenter has built on the implicit issues of race and gender present in his films since Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). Ghosts of Mars is also a late work of the 20th century, haunted by the encroaching pixel horde of digital cinema, a fear that also permeated films by other directors at the same time; Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, Godard’s In Praise of Love, and Rohmer’s The Lady and the Duke. That’s one reason I chose it to represent my book, The Earth Died Streaming, an anthology of my writing since 2002, published by N+1." – A.S. Hamrah. A book signing will follow.
Game 6 Reunion Screening Director Michael Hoffman, Actor/Producer Griffin Dunne and Producers Amy Robinson, Christina Lurie and Leslie Urdang Appearing In-Person
It’s 1986. Frantic playwright Nicky Rogan (Michael Keaton) has a Broadway opening ahead of him, and is wondering if he shouldn’t knock off infamous hatchet man critic Steven Schwimmer (Robert Downey, Jr.) before the critic kills his career, but nothing concerns him half so much as the fate of his beloved Red Sox in the World Series, who have a chance to put it all away on his opening night… A superb supporting cast including Griffin Dunne, Bebe Neuwirth, anchor this study in the masochism of fandom from an original Don DeLillo screenplay, with Yo La Tengo providing an original soundtrack a gripping descent into paranoiac delusion. A one night only engagement, with Hoffman, Dunne, and producers Amy Robinson, Christina Lurie and Leslie Urdang in person!
Anna Sui's Dream Double Feature
Since winning international acclaim with her first runway show in the Meatpacking District in 1991, Anna Sui has consistently been a high-profile innovator and trendsetter in the fashion world, each season finding fresh intersections between the vintage and futurist, rock n’ roll and Romanticism, all while building an international empire of 50 boutiques. A cultural omnivore, Sui draws her eclectic inspirations in both clothing and interior design from a vast array of sources, the cinema not least of these—and it is with pleasure we announce the icon herself will be visiting Metrograph with two hand-selected favorite films: Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (Robert Bresson, 1945) and Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967).
Sara Berman's Dream Double Feature
At 60, Sara Berman left her husband in the middle of the night with just one suitcase. Saying goodbye to everything she owned, she moved to New York City. It was a liberation. She went to MoMA every week. She was wild about Fred Astaire and Danny Kaye and watched all their movies. After her death, her daughter Maira Kalman and grandson Alex Kalman recreated her immaculate closet at Mmuseumm as an exhibition exploring how a life is formed and how meaning is found. The exhibition then traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and continues around the world. On October 30th, Sara Berman’s Closet, a lyrical memoir of her life from Belarus to New York by Maira and Alex Kalman will be available, published by HarperDesign. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Norman Z. McLeod, 1947) andTop Hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935) will screen, with a book signing with Maira and Alex.