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  • June 17, 2016

    ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMMING: Crooklyn, Cosmos, and At Land.

    REEL 13 may be taking a break for June pledge, but we haven’t taken our eye off of the great films playing around the city. While you’re waiting for us to return to your home theater on June 25th, here are some films to stave off your cinematic ennui. Sticking to the typical REEL 13 lineup, we present you with our favorite classic, indie, and short films playing in a theater near you. And just as a reminder, voting for next week’s short begins this Saturday at midnight.

    A scene from Spike Lee’s Crooklyn.

    A scene from Spike Lee’s Crooklyn.

    CLASSIC FEATURE:
    Crooklyn
    Herbert Von King Park, Brooklyn: 8:30 PM (Showing free as Part of the Movie Under the Stars series)

    “A Tender Domestic Drama From, No Joke, Spike Lee,” read the headline of The New York Times when the film Crooklyn came out in theaters in 1994. Sentimentally looks good on Lee, as his semi-autobiographical coming of age tale highlights the ups and downs of the close knit Bedford-Stuyvesant communities of the 1970s. The film follows Troy Carmichael as she navigates her family’s financial troubles, her taunting brothers, her controlling Aunt Song, and the formation her own identity as an emerging black women in late 20th-century America. Troy is a fiery and astute girl, who seems to be a modern version of another famous Lee’s creation, Scout Finch. For the 2016 viewer, Troy leads a tour of her world with melancholy exuberance. –RO

    Still from Cosmos. Victória Guerra (front), Jonathan Genet (back). Courtesy of Kino Lorber.

    Still from Cosmos. Victória Guerra (front), Jonathan Genet (back). Courtesy of Kino Lorber.

    INDEPENDENT FEATURE:
    Cosmos
    The Metrograph: 12:00 PM, 2:15 PM, 4:30 PM, 7:00 PM, and 10:30 PM

    Don’t call the late Andrzej Zulawksi’s final film, Cosmos, a swan song unless you’re imagining it in the Dionysian key of E major. Adapted from Witold Gombrowicz’s novel of the same name, Cosmos is every bit as erotic and effusive as his other works, the last of which was released 15 years ago. In broad strokes, the film centers on Witold, a fledging (and failing) law student and novelist prone to histrionics, as he and his friend, Fuchs, take up residence in an omen-laden bed and breakfast populated by a family of eccentrics. Evasive and surreal, the film builds a constellation of meaning with its wide-spun allusions (Sartre, Ophüls, Shakespeare, to name just a few) and a slew of mundane-turned-significant objects. As difficult as it is to get through for both its characters and viewers, Cosmos forks lightening with its pure carnal energy. –BS

    A Scene from Maya Deren’s At Land.

    A Scene from Maya Deren’s At Land.

    SHORT FEATURE:
    At Land
    Anthology Film Archives: 4 PM

    Maya Deren’s avant-garde short At Land has stood the test of time: After 60 years it is still piercingly unnerving and aesthetically pleasing. Deren’s vision, who is both the director and the star of this tale, follows a young woman’s journey through hidden crevasses on the shore. The film is silent, yet fully captivating; the cinematography is richly sharp; and the editing is jarringly alluring. At Land is playing as part of Essential Cinema: Maya Deren and will be accompanied by her other films, Meshes of the Afternoon, A Study in Choreography for Camera, and Ritual Transfigured in Time. –RO

    By Rachel Olshin and Brittany Stigler

  • June 10, 2016

    ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMMING: Scarface, Weiner, and Good White People.

    REEL 13 may be taking a break for June pledge, but we haven’t taken our eye off of the great films playing around the city. While you’re waiting for us to return to your home theater on June 25th, here are some films to stave off your cinematic ennui. Sticking to the typical REEL 13 lineup, we present you with our favorite classic, indie, and short films playing in a theater near you.

    A scene from director Brian De Palma’s Scarface. Courtesy of The Metrograph.

    A scene from director Brian De Palma’s Scarface. Courtesy of The Metrograph.

    CLASSIC FEATURE:
    Scarface
    The Metrograph 1:00 PM, 9:30 PM (Showing as part of the Brian De Palma series)

    Before Walter White, the meth-cooking cancer patient dreaming of glory, there was Tony Montana, the cocaine-dealing Cuban immigrant reinventing the American dream. Scarface, the 1983 gangster flick, has been canonized as one of Al Pacino’s most iconic roles: a murderous drug lord with a Gatsby-esque disposition, and a soft spot for his sister, Gina. While the film is often remembered for its gore and X rating (which was also given to classics like Midnight Cowboy and A Clockwork Orange), it is a feature that mirrors the lingering Cold War mentality of the early Reagan presidency. Tony, seeing America as the land of opportunity, goes from rags to riches, which ultimately leads to his demise.

    A scene from Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s Weiner. Courtesy of IFC Center.

    A scene from Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s Weiner. Courtesy of IFC Center.

    INDIE FEATURE:
    Weiner
    IFC Center 10:35 AM, 12:35 PM, 2:35 PM, 3:40 PM, 4:45 PM, 5:50 PM, 7:25 PM, 8:00 PM, 9:40 PM

    “I don’t believe in letting the culture of shame keep me in place,” Anthony Weiner remarked to Alec Baldwin recently in an interview for Here’s the Thing (WNYC).  Perhaps that should be the tagline of the newest documentary, Weiner, about his failed comeback campaign for Mayor in 2013. The film, directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, uses Weiner as a microcosm of the hawkish culture of modern American politics, and in the current political mayhem, viewers may have a new appreciation for Weiner’s frustration with the media’s sustained attention on his scandals rather than on his housing policies. Weiner is the classic story of the underdog who refuses to quit, no matter how many times he beats himself down.

    A scene from Jarrod Welling-Cann and Erick Stoll’s Good White People. Courtesy of Aspen Film.

    A scene from Jarrod Welling-Cann and Erick Stoll’s Good White People. Courtesy of Aspen Film.

    SHORT FILM:
    Good White People
    Territory: Short Films About Terf War -Firefighters Field, Roosevelt Island
    7:30PM Doors Open
    8:00PM Live Music by Free Cake for Every Creature
    8:30PM Films Begin

    Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Good White People, explores a side effect of gentrification beyond the bounty of Starbucks and pet grooming stores. The documentary tells the story of Reginald Stroud Sr., longtime resident and convenience store owner, who is forced out of his home and business due to an influx of hipsters and condos. It is a tale that New Yorkers know too well, and filmmakers Jarrod Welling-Cann and Erick Stoll, bring a rhythmic and jarring look into urban displacement. The film is being featured in a series called Territory: Short Films About Terf War, along with other shorts such as Territory, Jungle, and Red Folder. The event is free and will take place at Firefighters Field, Roosevelt Island.

    By Rachel Olshin

  • June 3, 2016

    ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMMING: The Fallen Idol, The Fits, and Thom Andersen

    REEL 13 may be taking a break for June pledge, but we haven’t taken our eye off of the great films playing around the city. While you’re waiting for us to return to your home theater on June 25th, here are some films to stave off your cinematic ennui. Sticking to the typical REEL 13 lineup, we present you with our favorite classic, indie, and short films playing in a theater near you.

    Bobby Henrey, Sonia Dresdel, and Ralph Richardson in Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol (1948). Courtesy Film Forum.

    Bobby Henrey, Sonia Dresdel, and Ralph Richardson in Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol (1948). Courtesy Film Forum.


    CLASSIC FEATURE:
    The Fallen IdolNew Restoration
    Film Forum – 12:45pm, 6:35pm

    Lavish banisters, a pet snake, and murder make up the world of Carol Reed’s suspenseful tale, The Fallen Idol. Following Reed’s more well-known film, Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol is the first film in a trilogy of noirs created by Reed and author Graham Greene (The Third Man and Our Man in Havana round out the trio).  Currently held over at Film Forum, there’s still a limited time to catch Phillipe, the young son of an ambassador, work his way into a snare of lies and blurry truths, all in an effort to protect (at least in his eyes) his much-adored butler, Baines.

    Scene from Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits. Courtesy Oscilloscope Laboratories.

    Scene from Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits. Courtesy Oscilloscope Laboratories.


    INDIE FEATURE:
    The Fits
    Metrograph – 12:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:30pm, 5:15pm, 7:00pm, 9:30pm, 11:00pm

    As perhaps the most anticipated and buzzed about independent feature release of the year so far, Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits is a carnal exploration of female adolescence. Framed from the point of view of 11-year-old Toni, the film begins as a sort of coming-of-age narrative that follows Toni’s transition from boxer to dancer. Just as all seems to be going well for our young protagonist, the film pivots from Billy Elliot to Picnic at Hanging Rock when an inexplicable illness attacks individual members of the team, working its way, inevitably, to Toni.

    A scene from Thom Andersen’s "The Thoughts That Once We Had." Courtesy of Grasshopper Film.

    A scene from Thom Andersen’s “The Thoughts That Once We Had.” Courtesy of Grasshopper Film.


    SHORT FILM:
    The Films of Thom Andersen: Program 2
    Anthology Film Archives – 4:30pm (Thom Andersen in person)

    Thom Andersen’s new release, The Thoughts That Once We Had, is a feature-length film essay that takes on the cinema writings of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In celebration of this accomplishment, Anthology will show a large collection of Andersen’s films, including a handful of shorts. Saturday’s compilation, collectively called Program 2, features four shorts: Get Out of the Car, The Tony Longo Trilogy, California Sun, and A Train Arrives at the Station. For those unfamiliar with Andersen’s work (which includes Red Hollywood and Los Angeles Plays Itself), these short films are sure to provide a good introduction to his use of history, theory, music, fragmentation, and collage.

  • May 13, 2016

    BULLETIN BOARD: Subjective Reality in Cinema at MoMA, Anthology Film Archives, New Museum, and Metrograph

    AL_1

    Paths of the Soul (2015)
    Museum of Modern Art
    May 13-19

    Against the backdrop of the high Himalayan landscape, the actions of a small group of devout Chinese Buddhists might seem of little significance. The Tibetans walk along nearly deserted roads, repeatedly clapping wooden blocks together, prostrating themselves, and bowing to Buddha every eight or nine steps. As Paths of the Soul documents the pilgrims’ 2,000-kilometer spiritual trek from a native small village in Yunnan province to the capital of Lhasa, individual actions and motives seem beside the point.

    Director Zhang Yang, with wide frames and long takes, paces the pilgrims’ collective experience by capturing natural events within the group, including adaptation to weather and terrain, a death, a birth, a budding romance, and expression of joy through song and dance. The individuals of the group, with their mutually steadfast faith and devotion, move as one community united by something greater than themselves. Yang, with neither a script nor professional actors, imbues this account of true events with cultural history, existential drama, and the resilience of human spirit.

    Paths of the Soul premieres at MoMA Friday evening with a subsequent discussion with Annabella Pitkin, Assistant Professor of Buddhism/East Asian Religions at Lehigh University.

    AL_2

    Les Ordres (1974)
    Anthology Film Archives
    May 13, 6:45pm and May 15, 8:30pm

    As a pioneer of the hand-held camera aesthetic within documentary filmmaking, Michel Brault treated cinema as a medium of intimacy and immediacy while wrestling with contemporary ideologies, technologies, and injustices. Inspired by interviews with citizens falsely imprisoned under Canada’s War Measures Act, Les Ordres depicts the fragility of civil rights and the fallout of misused power through the perspectives of five of those incarcerated civilians.

    Brault mixes footage of the actual victims with actor portrayals to illustrate one of the most traumatic events in Quebec history. The film’s re-enactments of strip-searching, solitary confinement, food and water deprivation, and physical torture might seem like methods of shock value were they not grounded by Brault’s observations and investigations of the political oppression that took place during this historical event.

    Anthology Film Archives will screen Les Ordres as part of their Quebec Direct Cinema series, which commemorates Direct Cinema, a movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s when a treatment of real events coupled with a manipulation of mise-en-scene permeated documentary filmmaking.

    AL_3

    Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: Song, Strategy, Sign
    New Museum
    Through June 12

    For her latest exhibition during her residency at the New Museum, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz explores how an individual remembers, interprets, and deviates from his or her own history. Within the exhibition, a three-channel video displays footage of real women in Caribbean settings, conveying the cultural and societal realities documented in each woman’s environment.

    In making reference to Monique Wittig’s 1969 novel Les Guérillères, the video imagines a post-patriarchal future that questions social and gender norms once thought to be natural, invariable, and clearly definable. In addition to the three-channel installation, the exhibition also includes a 16mm film portraying anthropologists, artists, and activists working in Haiti and Puerto Rico.

    While blending ethnography, art, and history, Santiago Muñoz blurs the boundaries between what is real and imagined. Her work, seemingly achieved through long periods of observation and documentation of behavior and expression, challenges economic, political, and social conditions past and present.

    The themes of Santiago Muñoz’s work fit within the larger context of the New Museum’s Spring 2016 R&D Season: LEGACY exhibitions, which explore “our connections to the past” through different presentational and educational formats.

    AL_4

    L’intrus (2004)
    Metrograph
    May 16, 2:30pm, 7:30pm

    In her body of work, writer and director Claire Denis makes clear that a film need not depict a linear narrative, but rather create a sensory experience that allows viewers to take all the moments and make of them what they will. L’intrus, a film about an aging man with failing health told mostly through nonlinear dreams and flashbacks, explores the physical and mental intrusions created by mortality, culture, and one’s own history.

    Based on a Jean-Luc Nancy essay of the same name, L’intrus meanders like a stream of consciousness flowing through ideas of identity, connection, and alienation. Just as Nancy explored themes of selfhood, community, and multiculturalism, Denis, a child of decolonization in French Africa, deals with themes of assimilation and rejection of cultural norms that came as colonialism morphed into globalization throughout the 20th century. By overlapping the personal with the historical, Denis creates stories of characters defined by their own sense of memory and psyche.

    Metrograph will screen a 35mm print of the film on Monday in their continuing Welcome to Metrograph: A to Z yearlong, alphabetically ordered series.

    By Aaron Linskens

  • May 5, 2016

    Screening Notes: An Evening with Anna Karina at BAMcinématek

    Photo Courtesy of BAMcinématek

    Photo Courtesy of BAMcinématek

    “Are you Woody Allen?,” quipped Anna Karina to an audience member who asked her how she felt about being Jean-Luc Godard’s muse. The question came towards the end of a Q&A that followed a screening of A Woman Is a Woman at BAMcinématek on Tuesday as part of Anna in New York, a city-wide celebration of the French New Wave icon. Karina joined Melissa Anderson (The Village Voice) for a conversation about her life and relationship with Godard.

    “It was a present that he gave me, like a gift. A precious gift,” said Karina of the seven (“and a half”) films that she did with Godard between 1960 and 1966. When asked if she had a favorite, she likened it to having to choose between children: “How can you choose? One year you like this one better, then you like the other one. It’s difficult.”

    Godard famously first came across Karina in a soap commercial. (“I don’t know if he saw me in Monsavon, or if he saw me in Palmolive.” She appeared in both at the same time, underage and without a contract.) He sent her a telegram inviting her to his office to audition for a small part in Breathless. “He looks at me like this,” said an animated Karina, tilting her head to one side then the other, settling into a deadpan stare, “Well, you got the part. You have to take your clothes off.”

    Karina, bristled by the proposal, did not take the part, but she did accept an invitation to play the lead in Le Petit Soldat three months later. “A political film with no script is kind of more complicated,” she said of Le Petit Soldat, which took three months due to starts and stops. Perhaps because of the protracted filming period, Karina and Godard began their love affair. “We were looking at each all of the time, getting fascinated with each other. . . . So, we fell in love, and we did the film.”

    It’s now hard to imagine A Woman Is a Woman without Karina’s exuberant performance, but Karina explained that Godard had auditioned “all the actresses in Paris” before asking her to come aboard. “Then he asked me to do it, and ah! I was so happy, doing a film with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean-Claude Brialy, you know,” said Karina, with a characteristically coy shift of her shoulder. On Angela’s love affair: “Did she do or didn’t she do it?” She doesn’t know, and Godard didn’t tell her.

    Of course, Karina’s career reaches beyond her relationship with Godard. When Serge Gainsbourg and Pierre Koralnik approached her about starring in a new comedy-musical (“With songs and all that!”), her childhood dream came true. “They couldn’t find a title, so after a while they called it Anna, like me. I liked that,” she said smiling. On her relationship with Gainsbourg, she added, “We were only friends. We would laugh, drink red wine, and smoke cigarettes.”

    As a symbol of the French New Wave, it’s all but impossible to separate Karina from Godard. A quick Google search will reveal this. But to return to the question asked by the evening’s Woody Allen: a muse? “When I see all of you here in this theater. . . . I’m very honored. But I’m not a muse,” pausing a beat, “I’m amused, yes.”

    Anna Karina will give one more talk during her stay in New York tomorrow night (05/06), following a screening of the newly restored Band of Outsiders at Film Forum. If you can’t make it to see her in person, be sure the catch one of the other Godard screenings this weekend at BAMcinématek and Film Forum.

    By Brittany Stigler

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