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.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Metrograph May and June 2019 Repertory Calendar Announced
Opens May 10
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi First-Ever U.S. Retrospective with Hamaguchi In-Person!
When Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s Happy Hour (2015), an over-five-hour-long drama about four middle-class thirtysomething Japanese women living in Kobe that at once managed to recall Rivette and seem like nothing anyone had seen before, made a splash on the film festival circuit in 2015, it seemed to many as though a massive talent had suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Now, with the confirmation of his importance signaled by the arrival of Hamaguchi’s Asako I & II (opening May 17)—a film every bit as accomplished and original, but a very different animal—it’s a good time to look back and see where this thrilling new force has come from, to retrace the steps to his present eminence. Metrograph will be home to Hamaguchi’s first U.S. retrospective—an opportunity to catch up with one of the most exciting young careers in world cinema, and to trace his consistent preoccupations with performance and the function of storytelling in our daily lives. Titles include The Depths (2010), Intimacies (2012), The Sound of Waves(2012), Touching the Skin of Eeriness (2013), and Storytellers (2013).
Opens May 17
Northern Ireland: Battle of Images
The images that have come to define the thirty-year conflict in Northern Ireland known as “the Troubles” have been primarily those of television and fiction: news reports and talking head docs, or gritty crime movies and human-interest dramas. But there is another visual history of the conflict preserved in a lesser-known, diverse group of international, politically militant and formally experimental films of the ‘70s and ‘80s. While most could be classed as documentaries, their innovative formal approaches discourage any complacent acceptance of the “real,” and often highlight how images of Northern Ireland have been manipulated and weaponized by the state and the media. Coming from various radical and artistic milieus in New York, London and Paris, the filmmakers tend to focus on, and advocate for, the marginalized “republican” or nationalist minority in the North who seek a united Irish republic free of British occupation, as opposed to the British-identifying “loyalist” or “unionist” majority. Many collaborated with locals eager for representation outside of the narrow frames of Irish and British media, which often emphasized the conflict’s religious dimension over its more decisive colonial and class factors, providing a necessary counter-narrative. Opening on the occasion of the May 17 NY theatrical premiere run of Dónal Foreman's The Image You Missed, with two films by the director's father, Arthur MacCaig (The Patriot Game and Irish Ways). Additional titles include The Writing on the Wall (1982), Welcome to Our Battle of Images (2009), The Black and the Green (1983), The Irish Tapes (1975), Ireland: Behind the Wire (1974), and A Sense of Loss (1972) Series programmed and notes by Foreman.
Opens May 31
Jim Jarmusch Career Retrospective and Members Screening of His Cannes-Opening The Dead Don't DieJarmusch To Appear In-Person!
Steeped in Americana and yet unquestionably a citizen of the world, renowned for the cool of his characters and his deadpan style, the diverse-yet-consistent films of Jim Jarmusch are tied together by a tone, a feeling, that’s both hard to define and, once encountered, unmistakable. While his films evince a fascination with variation amidst repetition, he never does the same thing twice, displaying a wanderlust that extends to his settings, his characters, and the sorts of films that he makes, from minimalist microdramas to full-on genre exercises. Witness his latest, The Dead Don’t Die from Focus Features, a zombie comedy with the “greatest cast ever disassembled.” Most of Jarmusch's feature films will be screened, including Stranger than Paradise (1984), Down by Law (1986), Mystery Train (1989), Dead Man (1995), and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013).
Juleen Compton x 2
The 1960s were lean years for female filmmakers working in narrative features, and in this context the Juleen Compton’s accomplishment in mounting two independent, idiosyncratic films during the decade stands in even sharper relief. Relocating to New York City from Phoenix as a teenager, Compton started out as an actress, studying first with Lee Strasberg, then with The Group Theatre’s co-founder Harold Clurman, later her husband. Through her successful sideline in real estate and interior design, the fiercely free-willed Compton was able to finance her own films, and to make them without having to kowtow to an interfering producer, censor board, or studio. Exercising her hard-earned agency, Compton was able to make movies touching on the struggles for self-determination women faced in their own lives, legitimately liberated films in both content and style. To view or revisit her 1960s output is to encounter a titanic talent, producing tough-minded, enduring cinema against all odds. Titles include Stranded (1965) and The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean (1966).
Opens June 18
"I consider Delany not only one of the most important SF writers of the present generation, but a fascinating writer in general who has invented a new style." —Umberto Eco
“One of the most profound and courageous writers at work today.” - Michael Cunningham
“A genius.” - Jonathan Lethem
Best known for towering masterpieces like Dhalgren and Babel-17, Samuel R. Delany is a true polymath, working not only in speculative fiction, but as a memoirist, social historian, and occasional filmmaker. While the films themselves are somewhat incidental in his essential memoir of theater-going on the Deuce in the 1960s-90s, Time Square Red, Time Square Blue, his interest in cinema is as wide-ranging as his writing. Asked to contextualize the series, Delany wrote, “They're films I liked early, and they contributed to my own appreciation of science fiction, films and writing (Thief of Baghdad, This Island Earth, Mighty Joe Young), and an appreciation of the cost of difference (The Boy with Green Hair, Touch of Evil), and what I wanted to do with the movement of bodies in The Orchid (Gold Diggers of 1937, Fanny and Alexander, The Seventh Seal). The Magnificent Ambersons I saw in the same weeks that I saw Citizen Kane, and Agnes Moorehead's intense performance on the stairs just hypnotized me and has stayed with me forever.” Program notes by Nellie Killian
Throughout May and June
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. With summer on the way, we have Jacques Tati’s Mr. Hulot (M. Hulot's Holiday) and Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Hobbs (Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation) on hand to remind us of the perils of vacation; some astonishing long-range voyages with Fievel Mousekewitz (An American Tail), Pee Wee Herman (Pee Wee's Big Adventure), and the avian stars of Winged Migration; and one great big ol’ talking rabbit named Harvey. 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.
Throughout May and June
Late Nights at Metrograph
Welcome back to Late Nights at Metrograph, the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday series that’s rapidly become a weekend tradition, dedicated to the after-hours denizens of this insomniac town who want to wind down with a movie and a bite. This time around we’re serving up epic kitchen showdowns in God of Cookery and a very different life-and-death contest in Battle Royale, Michael Mann’s magisterial Thiefand a harrowing work by acolytes Josh and Bennie Safdie (Heaven Knows What), and a helluva lot more besides. A series for connoisseurs of cocktails and nocturnal film freaks to hobnob, clink glasses, and see some of the best and most bizarre in cinema, with the Commissary serving drinks and a special late-night menu into the wee hours. Additional titles include Akira (1988), The Quiet Earth (1985), Eyes Without a Face (1960), My Own Private Idaho (1991), and Lilya 4-Ever (2002).
Throughout May and June
Academy at Metrograph
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Continues its Residency at Metrograph with Upcoming Spring 2019 Programming
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Costa Gavras's Z on May 4 and The Creature from the Black Lagoon Presented by Mallory O’Meara on June 6
ACADEMY AT METROGRAPH continues in May and June of 2019, with upcoming programs that includes a 50th anniversary screening of Costa Gavras's legendary Z on May 4 and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, presented by author Mallory O'Mearaon June 6.
Costa-Gavras’s Z (Saturday, May 4), a fictionalized, semidocumentary-style retelling of the 1963 Greek political assassination known as the “Lambrakis Affair” stars Yves Montand (himself a dedicated leftist) as the targeted pro-peace political agitator and Jean-Louis Trintignant as the magistrate who investigates the shy circumstances surrounding his death. A breathlessly-paced thriller red with political passion (and Mikis Theodorakis’s stirring score) that exposes the operations of fascist dirty tricks; like the disclaimer says: “Any resemblance to actual persons or events is deliberate.”
Before The Shape of Water, there was the The Creature from the Black Lagoon (Thursday, June 6)—the so-called “Gill-man,” the amphibious terror of the Amazon that was the last of the great Universal monsters, designed by Disney animator Milicent Patrick, realized by make-up artist Bud Westmore, and portrayed underwater by stuntwoman Ginger Stanley. All hell breaks loose when a group of scientists led by ichthyologist Dr. David Reed decide to capture this prehistoric creature for study, only to find it taking a King Kong-like fancy to the doctor’s girlfriend, Kay. The missing link between classic Universal horror and Jet Age sci-fi, and an absolute scream. Best-selling author, screenwriter, and film producer Mallory O'Meara will present the screening, and sign copies of her sensational The Lady from the Black Lagoon.
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.