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, December 30, 2019
Metrograph's January and February 2020 Repertory Calendar Announced
Opens January 10
Makoto Shinkai x 4
Still relatively early on in his career, Makoto Shinkai has established himself as perhaps the great rising hope for the future of Japanese animation, a potential inheritor to the mantle of Hayao Miyazaki, exhibiting the maestro’s same combination of popular appeal, emotional intelligence, and unmatched artistry. For twenty years now, beginning with the release of his monochrome 1999 short She and Her Cat, Shinkai has produced movies that expertly balance the spectacular and the intimate, made with an artisanal attention to the smallest detail—Shinkai often participating in nearly every aspect of the filmmaking process, including concept designs, music composition, and even voice acting. Sublime, cosmic films, made with a human touch. Titles include 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007) and Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011). A members-only screening of Shinkai's latest, Weathering with You (2019), will be on Friday, January 3. A weeklong engagement of Your Name (2016) begins Friday, February 7.
Opens January 24
Hal Hartley A Retrospective of the American Independent Giant, with Films Starring Isabelle Huppert, Adrienne Shelly, PJ Harvey, Martin Donovan, Sarah Polley, etc. Hartley to Appear In-Person!
Hal Hartley appeared on the scene in the “indie” movie boom of the early ‘90s, but even in these years of mainstreaming, he remained an outsider’s outsider; his independence not a temporarily convenient brand, but an entire ethos. His milieu was a blue-collar, bridge-and- tunnel New York, populated by workaday philosophers expressing themselves in a deadpan, declamatory performance style heavy on aphorism and unusual articulacy. This, combined with Hartley’s austere, geometric mise-en-scene, has invited comparisons to Robert Bresson, but his singular combination of off-kilter humor and throbbing romanticism can really only be called “Hartley-esque.” From breakthrough early works introducing stars Adrienne Shelly and Martin Donovan to latter-day masterstrokes like Ned Rifle, join us in following this remarkable artist through the different-drummer march that his career has been. Titles include The Unbelievable Truth (1989), Trust (1990), Amateur (1994), Henry Fool (1996), and more!
Opens February 1
To Hong Kong w/ ️ (To Hong Kong with Love)
The Hong Kong protests were in the news for the better part of 2019, and the subject of widespread debate, much of it by outside observers with a vested interest in imposing their own narratives. From its days as a British colony to its present status as a Special Administrative Region in China, small Hong Kong’s fate has been largely decided by great powers, without consultation of its citizens—this including the 1997 Handover. As a corrective, To Hong Kong w/ ️ is made up of films that show Hong Kongers speaking for themselves, pairing classic fiction films that explore the soul of the city with new documentaries that give voice to those who are out in the streets, fighting to keep their vision of that soul intact. Narrative features include Comrades: Almost a Love Story (1996), Rouge (1988), Teddy Girls (1969), and Nomad (1982); documentary titles include Yellowing (2016), Lost in the Fumes (2017), Ten Years (2015), and Umbrella Diaries: The First Umbrella (2018). Co-programmed by Katherine Cheng.
Opens February 7
Valentine's Day at Metrograph
Marlene Dietrich tramping off into the desert in burning hot pursuit of her man (Morocco, 1930), Bacall purring “You know how to whistle, don’t you?” (To Have and Have Not, 1944), the plangent longing between Newland Archer and Countess Ellen Olenska (The Age of Innocence, 1993)—these are just a few of the immortal cinematic expressions of amour in our wild ride of a Valentine’s Day series, which finds space for loves spiritual and carnal, animated and live-action, and everything in-between. A great date for a special someone, someones, or just yourself—and don’t forget, The Commissary is now taking dinner reservations for the 14th. Additional titles include Written on the Wind (1956), Casablanca (1942), Trouble in Paradise (1932), and more!
Opens February 21
Climate Crisis Parables Guest Presenters Include Author/Activist Naomi Klein
“I don’t know what the future will bring. We have to choose despite uncertainty.”— First Reformed
Cinema has been reckoning for some time with the question of ecological collapse. In a moment when there is a real, palpable fear that time is really and truly running out, we turn to these visceral depictions of impending crisis. Climate Crisis Parables collects movies that envisage the rough road ahead, depicting humankind’s reckless restructuring of the natural environment, imagining the catastrophic results of this unchecked meddling and what might come after the fall of man.This program is comprised of all but one scripted film, in the belief that the existential threat posed to future generations can uniquely be explained and explored through speculative storytelling. These films are often grave in tone, yet ecstatic and spectacular in scope and scale, and they offer ominous cautions against the dire consequences of the damage done by the unfettered pursuit of profit. Climate change experts will introduce screenings, using these films’ fictional scenarios as entrance points to discuss real-world issues, anchoring our increasingly surreal daily reality with research and perspective, and highlighting the imperative actions that must be taken right now to reverse our path towards the brink. Titles include The Devil, Probably (1977), Stalker (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Red Desert (1964), Interstellar (2014), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Still Life (Jia Zhangke, 2006), Melancholia (2011), Snowpiercer (2013), and more! In partnership with Harper’s Magazine and Extinction Rebellion Lower East Side Neighborhood Group.
Throughout January and February
Welcome To Metrograph A-Z: Round 2
When Metrograph opened its doors over three years ago, we did so with Welcome to Metrograph: A to Z, a way to introduce moviegoers to our particular take on cinema history. It was to be our own idiosyncratic alphabet: one film per director, neither canon nor anti-canon, but rather a selection of our favorite films that serve as life-changing revelations or enduring personal passions, and ultimately films of which Metrograph exists to spread the gospel. And so, in the interest of getting reacquainted and playing some movies we love that we think you’ll love too, we’re taking it one more time from the top—with all new selections. Titles include Bad Lieutenant (1992), Les Bonnes Femmes (1960), Black Rodeo (1972), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Breaking the Waves (1996), Buffalo '66 (1998), and Le bonheur (1965).
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. As we head into the holiday months, we’re getting into the spirit with some of our favorite seasonal standards, movies only a true Scrooge could resist. 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 include The Sound of Music (1965), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Gremlins (1984), Little Women (1933), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), and Where the Wild Things Are (2009).
Throughout January and February
Late Nites at Metrograph
Welcome back to Late Nites 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 through we’re bringing you class warfare thrillers from Kurosawa (High and Low, 1963), Welles (The Lady from Shanghai, 1947), and De Palma (Scarface, 1983); some of the baddest stunts of all time courtesy Jackie Chan (Police Story, 1985) and Zoë Bell (Death Proof, 2007); and identity-blurring psychological mind-benders by Bergman (Persona, 1966) and Teshigahara (The Face of Another, 1966). 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.
Throughout January and February
Academy at Metrograph
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Continues its Residency at Metrograph with Upcoming Winter 2020 Programming
Two Calendar Program Highlighting the 92nd Oscars Governors Awards Honorees
Seven Beauties by Lina Wertmüller, the First Woman Ever Nominated for the Best Director Oscar, Screens January 11 and David Lynch's Mulholland Dr. and The Alphabet Screens February 22
ACADEMY AT METROGRAPH continues in January and February 2020, highlighting the recent 2019 Governors Awards honorees in a two-calendar program. Lina Wertmüller, the first woman ever nominated for the Best Director Oscar, will be honored on Saturday, January 11, with a screening of Seven Beauties (1976), which garnered four Oscar nominations. David Lynch's Mulholland Dr. (2001), for which he was nominated for Best Director, along with his groundbreaking short film The Alphabet (1968) will screen on Saturday, February 22.
The controversial, absurd, and uproarious film that made director Lina Wertmüller the talk of film culture and garnered her the first Best Director Academy Award nomination for a woman, Seven Beauties (January 11) follows a comedy of errors that begins when Neapolitan hustler Giancarlo Giannini inadvertently murders the lover of one of his septet of homely sisters. Worse luck follows bad, and Giannini—also an Oscar nominee—lands in a concentration camp where, in order to survive, the practiced lothario must service the Nazi kapo, played unforgettably by zaftig The Honeymoon Killers star Shirley Stoler. A heady cocktail of comedy and horror.
Voted the best film of the ‘00s by Film Comment and numerous other mastheads, Mulholland Dr. (February 22) began its life as an aborted TV pilot concerning blonde Betty Elms (Naomi Watts, transcendent) and an amnesiac brunette (Laura Harring), then transformed into something strange, sorrowful, and maddeningly mysterious as it was expanded into a film noir-inflected feature, following the sleuthing duo into the enigmatic night club Silencio, and outlining a series of unforgettable incidents and transformations. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and terrifying by turns, while always on the razor’s edge of the inexplicable. With The Alphabet, the anxious short film that gained Philadelphia-based art student Lynch the attention of the nascent American Film Institute, and started him on his way.
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.
Members-only screening of Makoto Shinkai's latest film, Weathering with You (2019).
The world premiere of Alex Ross Perry's new short film Paul Schrader: Man in a Room, produced by the Criterion Channel, paired with Schrader's The Canyons (2013). Schrader and Perry will appear in-person. In the sixth installment of the Criterion Channel’s Meet the Filmmakers series, director Perry (Her Smell, Listen Up Philip) spends time with the iconoclastic director Paul Schraderon the set of his 2017 masterwork First Reformed and at his home, where he reflects on his legendary career, the rewards of slow cinema, and the influences that continue to shape him. The Criterion Channel will be showing a nine-film Schrader retrospective beginning in January 2020, and Paul Schrader: Man in a Room will be available after its preview at Metrograph.
A special Chinese New Year screening of Tsui Hark's The Chinese Feast (1995). 祝大家新年快樂, 萬事如意 ! (Happy Year of the Rat)!
The 92nd Academy Awards Ceremony will screen throughout Metrograph, in both theaters, the Commissary, and Lobby. Dress well and join us in our annual ballot competition. Metrograph Members Only: to reserve a table in the Commissary write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Seating is limited.