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.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
January and February 2019 Repertory Film Calendar at Metrograph Announced [Pasolini, Kay Francis, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Teshigahara, and more!
January and February 2019 Repertory and Special Events Calendar Announced
Opens January 4
Pier Paolo Pasolini: A Future Life, Part 1 All 35mm!
A retrospective of the cinematic works of Pier Paolo Pasolini, poet, composer, public intellectual, and provocateur, will stretch across three calendars at Metrograph, but when thinking of where to start with this singularly brilliant filmmaker, there was only one logical place—at the end. Pasolini thought constantly of his own demise, and that of the earth, especially as, entering middle-age, he became increasingly influenced by Antonin Artaud and the Marquis de Sade. Setting out to make his film of de Sade’s Salò, Pasolini explained “The most sincere thing I could do at that moment was to make a film about a mode of sexuality whose joyousness is a compensation for repression—a phenomenon that was about to come to an end, forever.” It was, he said, a film that was to make him “A new director. Ready for the modern.” Three weeks before its premiere, however, Pasolini was dead, murdered on the beach at Ostia, a shadowy event believed by many to be politically motivated. Decades later, Pasolini looms larger than ever in in our cultural consciousness as one of the most radical, uncompromising artists who ever lived. “Death,” he once said, “is not being unable to communicate; but no longer being able to be understood.” He is speaking to us still. Titles include La terra vista dalla luna, part of the omnibus film The Witches (1967), Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life": The Decameron (1971), The Canterbury Tales (1972), and Arabian Nights (1974), as well as Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975).
Opens January 11
Kay Francis: The Queen of Pleasure First-Ever Retrospective Celebrating Ms. Francis' Legacy
A top box-office attraction in the 1930s and an idiosyncratic and can’t-take-your-eyes-off-her screen presence, Kay Francis was undisputed royalty on the Warner Bros. lot. The Oklahoma-born Francis was a tall, striking, raven-tressed beauty, the first infamous onscreen clotheshorse, a verifiable superstar whose face decorated scores of gushing fan magazines, though privately her life was far more risqué than the Pre-Code vehicles that established her fame, including comedies like Trouble in Paradise and Jewel Robbery(opposite frequent partner William Powell) or melodramas like One Way Passage, a doomed romance set on a champagne and martini-soaked trip set aloft an ocean liner, in which she was equally effective. Even at the height of her fame, Francis’ magnetism was never without a melancholy lining; she was oft-quoted to say that she couldn’t wait to be forgotten—and indeed her stardom would dim by the end of the ‘30s—but no performer so magnetic, in love, laughter, and tears, could ever really disappear, and so Metrograph is pleased to reintroduce a new generation to the woman who, in imitation of her charming speech impediment, was sometimes called “Wavishing Kay Fwancis.” Titles include Trouble In Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932), Jewel Robbery (William Dieterle, 1932), Wife Wanted (Phil Karlson, 1946), British Agent(Michael Curtiz, 1934), Cynara (King Vidor, 1932), Transgression (Herbert Brenon, 1931), One Way Passage (Tay Garnett, 1932), Stolen Holiday (Michael Curtiz, 1937), The Cocoanuts (Robert Florey & Joseph Santley, 1929), Let's Go Native (Leo McCarey, 1930), The Virtuous Sin (George Cukor & Louis J. Gasnier, 1930), and Girls About Town (George Cukor, 1931).
Opens January 18
Hiroshi Teshigahara 8-Film Retrospective and Shorts Program
A towering crest of the Japanese New Wave, Hiroshi Teshigahara crashed down on the world of art house cinema in the 1960s. He is best known today for his films of this fecund period, particularly the four atmospheric, endlessly beguiling, avant garde-adjacent movies that he made working with novelist and screenwriter Kōbō Abe, unclassifiable works that explore the mysteries and vagaries of identity: Pitfall,Woman of the Dunes, The Face of Another, and The Man Without a Map. Undeniably major as these awesome accomplishments are, however, they reveal only a portion of the creative genius of this multihyphenate artist, who worked as a painter, sculptor, designer, and Noh theater director in addition to his cinematic pursuits, and whose cinema exists at an intersection between the high international modernism of Antonioni, Bergman, and Resnais, and the traditional Japanese fine arts (his father was founder and master of the world-famous Sogetsu School of Ikebana now run by his daughter.) At Metrograph, you can discover the full measure of Teshigahara’s restless genius, including early shorts and extraordinary features about AWOL American GIs (Summer Soldier), a brilliant Catalan architect (Antonio Gaudi), and the famed face-off between a Zen monk and a warlord (Rikyu). The sum total shows a cineaste who is much more than his brilliant ‘60s run, and nothing less than a titan of Japanese cinema. Titles include Pitfall (1962), Woman in the Dunes (1964), The Face of Another (1966), Antonio Gaudi(1984), Rikyu (1989), Basara (1992), The Man Without a Map (1968), Summer Soldiers (1972), and a shorts program. Presented with Teshigahara’s grandson, New York composer and artist Tristan Teshigahara Pollock, in-person.
Opens January 25 Hou Hsiao-hsien In the 21st Century
4-Film Retrospective Includes Imported 35mm Print of Café Lumière
Spending his formative years in Taipei, a distinctly modern city that had swiftly grown into a metropolis in the years following the Chinese Civil War, Hou Hsiao-Hsien has always been principally an urban filmmaker, his view of the life in the concrete jungle perhaps summed up in the title of one of his breakthrough movies: City of Sadness. As the city has changed, Hou the artist has changed with it, producing at the turn of the century one of his most radical departures, Millennium Mambo (2001), a film that found the director searching for the digital pulse of a new era with a new freewheeling style. This daring and still-misunderstood work will play with a trio of 21st century Hou films, movies in which the alienation and exhilaration of life in the anonymous contemporary cityscape is distilled into unforgettable images as only this poet of urban anomie can. Titles also include an imported 35mm print of Café Lumière(2003), Three Times (2005) and Flight of the Red Balloon (2007)
Opens January 26
Produced by David O. Selznick 8-Film Overview of the Legendary Hollywood Producer
More than any single figure, David O. Selznick codified prestige-with-a-capital-P filmmaking during the Golden Age of the Hollywood studios, a creative producer in the truest sense who was renowned for his attention to detail, as exemplified by his novel-length memos. Selznick began his life in movies working for father Lewis J. Selznick’s production companies before moving to MGM, where he filled the enormous shoes of the studio’s legendary second-in-command, Irving Thalberg, and eventually became the son-in-law of studio head Louis B. Mayer. Selznick had the keys to the kingdom at MGM, but soon he was bucking for independence, and in 1935 went his own way with Selznick International Pictures, throwing himself into worrying and willing a string of enduring classics into being, including Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940), and the highest grossing American film ever, Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939). Overseeing every aspect of the filmmaking process on his movies, from writing to casting to editing to directing, Selznick in his brilliant career garnered ten Academy awards nominations. He also brought Hitchcock to America; gave his second wife, Jennifer Jones, her greatest roles; and, in the words of biographer David Thomson, “cared for every facet of making a film and had a greater sense of how to photograph individuals, how to use sets and music, and how to construct picture than many directors.” Let this retro stand as incontrovertible evidence that the “Selznick touch,” though hard to classify, was nevertheless very real—and close to a guarantee of movie magic. Titles include What Price Hollywood?(George Cukor, 1932), Dinner at Eight (Cukor, 1933), Spellbound (Hitchcock, 1945), Duel in the Sun (King Vidor, 1946), The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949), and Portrait of Jennie (William Dieterle, 1948).
Opens February 8
Valentine's Day at Metrograph
Colliding cars, cannibalism, and a sentimental song at Rick’s Café—these are just a few of the ways that lovers have of expressing their emotions in our wild ride of a Valentine’s Day series, which finds space for loves queer and straight, spiritual and carnal, and everything in-between. A great date for a special someone, someones, or just yourself—and don’t forget, The Commissary will be serving an especially romantic prix fixe menu. Reserve in advance. Titles include Heaven Can Wait (Ernst Lubitsch, 1943),Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016), Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942), Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001), Crash (David Cronenberg, 1997), and Querelle (R.W. Fassbinder, 1982).
Throughout January and February
Playtime is Metrograph’s regularly-recurring weekend matinee series of studio standards, animated adventures, and foreign-language frolics, kid-friendly in content but selected because their quality has been proven plain to moviegoers of all ages. This time around we’ve got adventures galore on the agenda, so come on down with Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (Charles Lamont, 1955), munch some marmalade with Paddington (Paul King, 2014)and Paddington 2 (King, 2018), and take a few hacks at the plate with Wonderboy (The Natural, Barry Levinson, 1984). Revisit the movies you know by heart, take a chance on something you’ve never heard of—and be sure to hang around to talk about your favorite scenes over brunch in the upstairs Commissary. Titles also include Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946), Shaun the Sheep Movie (Mark Burton & Richard Starzak, 2015), Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore, 2014), and Inside Out (Pete Docter & Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015).
Throughout January and February
Late Nights at Metrograph
Introducing Late Nights at Metrograph, new to this calendar and a staple to every calendar going forward. A combination of established favorites, movies we’ve been dying to find an excuse to book, and cult curios playing every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, it’s a new way to end your day on a voluptuous cinematic experience—and don’t worry, the Commissary will still be serving food and lots of drinks from a special late night menu when you get out, so no need to go to bed hungry. Titles include Mind Game (Masaaki Yuasa, 2004), Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995), News from Home (Chantal Akerman, 1977),Weekend (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967), Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972), Branded to Kill (Seijun Suzuki, 1967), and Kaili Blues (Bi Gan, 2015).
Throughout January and February
Academy at Metrograph
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Continues its Residency at Metrograph with Upcoming Winter 2019 Programming
Stephen Bogart Presents The African Queen on January 12 and Eve's Bayou with Director Kasi Lemmons on February 9
ACADEMY AT METROGRAPH continues in January and February of 2019, with upcoming programming that includes The African Queen presented byStephen Bogart on January 12, and Eve's Bayou, with director Kasi Lemmons on February 9.
The African Queen will be presented by Stephen Bogart, son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, on January 12. One of John Huston’s best-loved films and one of the most entertaining odd-couple pictures ever made, this action-comedy-romance, shot in Uganda and the Congo, teams Humphrey Bogart as a crass Canadian supply boat skipper and Katharine Hepburn as his bluestocking cargo, a prudish missionary who he’s transporting through c. 1914 German East Africa when war breaks out and all hell breaks loose.
On February 9, Eve's Bayou will be presented by director Kasi Lemmons. One of the essential works of African-American cinema of the 1990s, and just selected for the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, Eve's Bayou is a film of rich, steamy sexuality and an incredible sense of place, that follows the loss of innocence that occurs when the daughter of a well-to-do Louisiana family (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) catches her father (Samuel L. Jackson) in a moment of infidelity. Boasting an impressive line-up of actresses, including living legends Lynne Whitfield and Diahann Carroll, Debbi Morgan, and Meagan Good, it’s a seductive tour de force in an atmosphere thick with voodoo, other Creole legends, and household magic.
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.
Nico Baumbach Presents Jean-Luc Godard's Film Socialisme
Godard: “This movie was titled Socialism, at first, but it seemed to have too many connotations. Film Socialism is different: a philosopher wrote me 12 pages saying how wonderful it is to see ‘film’ alongside ‘socialism,’ since that has another meaning altogether, even hope.”
"His twin obsessions: film in its relation to the history of twentieth century politics, but also the possibility of an equality of images or images of equality, a film manifesto in the tradition of Vertov, “a smile that dismisses the universe.” Godard’s first feature shot entirely on video is about the death of both film and socialism and the signs of their persistence and potential. It features Patti Smith and Alain Badiou on a cruise ship, an intrigue about gold Stalin stole from Spain, a llama, a YouTube cat video, and ends with an attack on the idea of intellectual property. Required viewing for everyone living in the 21st century, whether or not you wish to participate in the promotion of my book, Cinema/Politics/Philosophy published by Columbia University Press." —Nico Baumbach, who will be on hand to present the film and sign copies of Cinema/Politics/Philosophy after the screening.
The Unholy Three with Live Store by Gary Lucas
Maestro of the macabre Tod Browning (Freaks, Dracula) directs frequent collaborator Lon Chaney to a masterfully sinister—and occasionally quite moving—performance as a warped ventriloquist masterminding an underhanded Christmas Eve crime along with dastardly dwarf Harry Eales and strongman Victor McLaglen. This sinful syndicate will stop at nothing, including a cross-dressing turn by Chaney, to get what they want in this sleeper sickie, remade five years later as Chaney’s first talkie but never surpassed in this visually ingenious sideshow thriller, which has the added inducements of Mae Busch as a pulchritudinous pickpocket and a maniacal chimpanzee. Featuring live performance by Gary Lucas accompanying the film.
Hilton Als on James Baldwin
In conjunction with God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin at David Zwirner in January in February, the curator of that exhibition, author and scholar Hilton Als will present a selection of films and visual excerpts of Baldwin on screen.