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  • February 23, 2017

    Bulletin Board: Wuthering Heights adaptations, Rebecca, early travelogues by women, and more…

    By Meredith Coleman

    Luis Buñuel’s Wuthering Heights / Abismos de Pasión

    Luis Buñuel’s Wuthering Heights / Abismos de Pasión

    Staff Favorite: Heathcliff, It’s Me: Adapting Wuthering Heights
    Film Society of Lincoln Center
    February 24th—27th (various films and times)

    It’s always interesting to see how a book is adapted to the screen, how the characters, settings, and themes are taken out of the pages and visually depicted through the medium of film. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is a powerful literary work that explores passion, identity, social class, nature, and the supernatural. It is a work that is worth reading not only once, but multiple times. And from February 24th—27th the Film Society of Lincoln Center is presenting a series of film adaptations of this memorable story. How did Luis Buñuel interpret it? William Wyler? Jacques Rivette? This series cannot be missed.

    Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca

    Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca

    Rebecca
    Metrograph
    February 26th at 4:30PM

    Speaking of film adaptations, on February 26th Metrograph is showing Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of the widely known novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I mean, who can forget that first line… “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” With a story like Daphne du Maurier’s and actors like Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier starring in the film, it is definitely worth seeing.

    Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure

    Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure

    The Lure
    IFC Center
    February 23rd at 9:30PM

    A pair of mermaid sisters turn up in Poland in the 1980s and enter into the world of human-beings…what can be more interesting than that? The Lure, directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska, is a film that delves into the lives of these mermaids on land. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it’s also a musical? Be sure to check out this film at the IFC Center to experience something unforgettable.

    travelogue

    Terra Femme: Early Travelogues by Women
    UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art
    February 23rd at 7:30PM

    On February 23rd, starting at 7:30PM the UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art is presenting a selection of “home travelogues” from the 1920s—40s on 16mm, concentrating on amateur films shot by women. These films were captured by American travelers abroad, women who traveled to a variety of places and filmed them through their point of view. What did these women choose to focus on? And what does this reveal to us about these filmmakers of the early 1900s?

    oscars

    The Oscars
    ABC
    February 26th at 8:30PM

    Sure, the ceremony is a few hours long, but with so many incredible films being nominated this year, like La La Land, Moonlight, Fences, Arrival, and Hidden Figures, and so many incredible actors like Emma Stone, Denzel Washington, Isabelle Huppert, and Viola Davis, how can you not watch it? The ceremony starts at 8:30PM Eastern Standard Time.

  • February 10, 2017

    Bulletin Board: Valentine’s Day Massacre 2017, Mr. Gaga, Kedi, and more

    blog

    Staff favorite: Valentine’s Day Massacre 2017  
    Anthology Film Archives
    February 10th-14th (various times)

    Sure, one could spend Valentine’s Day, and the weekend leading up to it, snuggled up on the couch, watching old romantic classics like Casablanca and When Harry Met Sally. But that’s not the only option for these days full of endless red roses and chocolate kisses. Why not go see something a little more anti Valentine’s Day? From February 10-14th, Anthology Film Archives continues its entertaining series “Valentine’s Day Massacre,” where they show works of film that are so wonderfully anti-romance.

    This year, see films such as Maurice Pialat’s We Won’t Grow Old Together and Albert Brooks’s Modern Romance, in addition to films by Andrzej Zulawski and Elaine May. And all the films are on 35mm! Sure, the couch at home is tempting, but it will always be there tomorrow!

    Mr. Gaga  
    Film Forum, Film Society of Lincoln Center
    Through February 16th (various times)
    Q&A with Mr. Gaga Producer Barak Heymann at Film Forum- Feb. 10th at 7:10 show, Feb. 11th at 12:30 show

    Just by watching the trailer of this film, one gets a sense of the energy and power housed within the movements choreographed by Ohad Naharin, the Israeli chorographer and artistic director of Tel Aviv’s Batsheva Dance Company. As the subject of the documentary, Mr. Gaga explores this influential, innovative figure who has made a strong impact in the dance world. Catch the film both at the Film Forum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

    Spraymasters  
    MoMA
    February 10th at 4:00PM

    Graffiti is an art. An expression of one’s beliefs, attitudes, criticisms, it has substance, and a unique, memorable style. It’s a movement that has spread all over the world in recent years, and become part of the mainstream. Playing at the MoMA on February 10th, Manfred Kirchheimer’s Spraymasters includes four ex-graffiti artists, Zephyr, Lee Quiñones, Lady Pink, and Futura 2000, who spent the early years of their lives enlivening New York City with their designs.

    Martin Scorsese Exhibition  
    Museum of the Moving Image
    Through April 23rd

    Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, The Last Waltz… the list goes on and on. Martin Scorsese is one of those director’s whose love of film (just watch Hugo) and immense talent know no bounds. Through April 23rd, the Museum of the Moving Image is honoring this incredible director in an exhibition that delves into both his life and work. Coinciding with the exhibition, the Museum will also be having screenings of some of his classic films.

    (And while there, make sure to check out the installation “HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US,” which will be livestreamed for the duration of Trump’s presidency.)

    Kedi 
    Metrograph
    Opens February 10th
    A Q&A with director/producer Ceyda Torun will accompany the following shows:
    Friday, February 10th at (7pm: SOLD OUT) and (9pm: SOLD OUT)
    Saturday, February 11th at 7pm and 9pm
    Sunday, February 12th at 3pm and 5pm

    Calling all cat lovers: Ceyda Torun’s new documentary, Kedi, is for you. Sure to warm winter blues, Kedi follows the dynamic relationships between the free-roaming cats of Istanbul and the humans that they choose. Focusing foremost on the friendlier aspects of Istanbul’s unique cat-human equilibrium, the film also touches on the shifting urban landscape of Istanbul and the resulting uncertainty that felines may face in the future.

  • January 19, 2017

    STAFF PICK: PIRANDELLO 150 at Film Forum

    Kaos

    Kaos

    Through questions of identity, illusion, and sanity, the works of  novelist and dramatist Luigi Pirandello create fertile dreamscapes in which the imagination can flourish—a quality that embeds itself in many of the adaptations that have followed. In honor of the 150th anniversary of Pirandello’s birth, Film Forum will join a city-wide celebration of the artist with a film festival of its own, running through January 19th.

    The centerpiece of the series is Kaos (1984), a cinematic adaptation of select Pirandello short stories by noted Italian filmmaking brothers, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. Operatic in its duration and emotional reach, the film spans just over three hours and is divided into six distinct sections: A prelude, in which we are introduced to a raven turned herald; four short story adaptations (“L’altro figlio” (“The Other Son”), “Mal di luna” (“Moonsickness”), “La giara” (“The Jar”), and “Requiem”); and an epilogue, “Colloquio con la madre” (“Conversing with Mother”), in which Pirandello visits his childhood home, where he conjures his deceased mother.

    Filmed in Pirandello’s native land of Sicily, the landscape becomes a unifying theme in the film: White dust sticks to the feet and clothing of every character in the tales, connecting their narratives throughout the film’s disparate moments. The musical raven from the beginning of the film soars between storylines, a symbol of time’s circular quality and cinema’s ability to stitch it into a sequence. And, of course, the people of the land—the focus of both the Taviani brothers and Pirandello’s work—balance the more surreal elements of the stories with an earthiness that is somehow more realistic than the actual ground they stand on. In this way, the film captures the most thrilling aspect of Pirandello’s work—namely, his talent for blurring the fantastical with the routine.

    Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934 for “his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art,” Pirandello’s influence can be seen in literature, theater, and beyond. Those familiar with Pirandello through the theater will know very well of his revolutionary tearing down of the stage’s “fourth wall” in his experimental play, Six Characters in Search of an Author, and those who are unfamiliar have probably seen the technique at some point or another. A testament to the evocative quality of Pirandello’s material, the adaptations screening as part of Film Forum’s series are as inventive as the source, a true treat for both fans of Pirandello’s work and those who are coming to it fresh.

    Brittany Stigler

  • August 19, 2016

    Bulletin Board: Don’t Think Twice, Misery, Jaws, and more…

    Scene from Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice

    Scene from Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice

    Don’t Think Twice
    Nitehawk Cinema
    Aug 18­—4:45 PM, 7:15 PM, 9:45 PM (playing through August 25th)

    Mike Birbiglia writes, directs, and stars in a coming-of-age story about a group of improvisers dealing with the selectiveness of success. Jack (Keegan-Michael Key) gets a role at “Weekend Live” (the SNL of this world), and his improv group, The Commune, are stuck considering their own ambition and personal failures.

    Scene from Rob Reiner’s Misery

    Scene from Rob Reiner’s Misery

    Misery
    Landmark Sunshine Cinema
    Aug 19th—12:00 AM

    Adapted from Stephen King’s novel by the same name, Misery follows Paul Sheldon, who suffers a car crash and is rescued by his biggest fan, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). As Wilkes reveals herself to be increasingly sinister, Sheldon tries to escape the house that has now become his prison.

    Scene from Steve James’s Hoop Dreams

    Scene from Steve James’s Hoop Dreams

    Hoop Dreams—Screening & Live Event
    Museum of the Moving Image
    Aug 21—2:00 PM

    Documenting the lives of Arthur Agee and William Gates, Hoop Dreams focuses on the malleability of the American Dream and the harsh realities of racism and poverty. Both Gates and Agee come from homes struggling with poverty, and they are willing to do anything to achieve their dreams of playing for the NBA and providing for their families. Hoop Dreams will screen as part of the Museum of the Moving Image’s series of Kartemquin at 50, with director Steve James present at the screening.

    Scene from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws

    Scene from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws

    Jaws
    Astoria Park Lawn (in Astoria Park), Queens
    Aug 22—8:30 PM

    The first modern day summer blockbuster, Jaws is the thrilling story of a killer shark terrorizing the quaint beach town of Amity Island. Tasked with the mission of killing the shark, the town’s sheriff, fishermen, and oceanographer go out to battle their version of Moby Dick. The film is being shown as part of the series, Central Astoria Movies on the Waterfront.

    Scene from Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot

    Scene from Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot

    Some Like It Hot
    Greenbelt Recreation Center (in Blood Root Valley), Staten Island
    Aug 25—8:30 PM

    In the 1959 classic, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are running from their mobster boss and decide to go incognito as women. Crossing paths with the beautiful Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe) further complicates the tale, as the men deal with both womanhood and newfound love. The film is being shown as part of the Movies Under the Stars series.

    By Rachel Olshin

  • August 12, 2016

    Screening Notes: An Art That Nature Makes: The Work of Rosamond Purcell at Film Forum

    Rosamond Purcell in her studio. Photo by Dennis Purcell. Courtesy of BOND/360

    Rosamond Purcell in her studio. Photo by Dennis Purcell. Courtesy of BOND/360

    In Molly Bernstein’s new documentary, An Art That Nature Makes: The Work of Rosamond Purcell, a portrait of human curiosity emerges. Finding beauty in the abject object, Rosamond Purcell’s photography, which often features natural oddities and found objects in various stages of deterioration, harkens to a time when philosophy, science, and aesthetic contemplation were intimately entwined, if not vital to each other. The film captures the unique, interdisciplinary energy of Purcell’s decades-long career and transforms it into a cohesive narrative of perseverance, dedication, and care.

    Through a delicate interweaving of interviews with scholars and luminaries, such as filmmaker Errol Morris; archival footage of Owls Head, Me., once a 13-acre repository of “junk” that is now bare; and Purcell’s own photography, the documentary reaches beyond the purely biographical. “I have to say it’s a huge relief to me to know this film is and is not about me,” said Purcell in an interview with REEL 13 earlier this week, continuing, “It’s the subject matter. It’s about ideas. It’s about having ideas.” In this way, the film, much like Purcell’s photographs, is an act of preservation. “Rosamond and Dennis [Purcell’s husband] had so much archival material, aside from all the photographs,” Bernstein told REEL 13. Included in the archival material was footage of Owls Head, which became a binding thread of the film. “We thought, wow, there is actual footage of this place that is now gone that was so significant to her work.”

    The footage, which shows Purcell sifting through scraps and climbing on piles of detritus, acts as a foil to excursions into collections, where gloved scholars carefully handle the specimens for Purcell. “I am treated kind of like a crazy person. Because I come in, and I have other reasons for wanting to look at things,” said Purcell of going into special collections. Subtly portrayed in the film, Bernstein captures the tension between Purcell and the scholars in a pointed conversation about the artistic significance (or lack thereof, as Paul Callomon argues: “…there is no such thing as looking at something scientifically, and then looking at it aesthetically”) of wood drilled through by mollusks. “I learned pretty quickly that I better develop some sort of vocabulary and some sort of strategy,” explained Purcell. “I wasn’t just coming in and saying, got another one? I knew what I was talking about.”

    Beyond gaining access to collections, Purcell’s ability to speak and collaborate with experts outside of her field, such as Stephen Jay Gould (who Purcell described as a “real historian of past scientists and attitudes, as well as a paleontologist, a geologist, biologist…”), creates a bridge between scientific thought and aesthetic interest. “One of the things I love in the film is when Rosamond talks about ‘hybrid vigor’—about how much she loves working with people who do things different from what she does instead of collaborating with other artists,” said Bernstein. “I think that’s one of the fundamental ideas behind all of the work, this bringing together of art and science.”

    By recasting the scientific or discarded object as worthy of artistic elevation, Purcell exposes its potential to bear new symbolic interpretation, to carry the weight of its experiences into new shades of meaning. “Most material things and animals have had a lot of experience. And something that is just pristine,” said Purcell, “doesn’t have any incident, hasn’t been through a lot, doesn’t have much to record.” In this way, Purcell fills the present with the past in a way that urges the viewer to take note of what they may not be looking at, to notice how objects shift and morph to emote their history.

    As for Purcell, she too is shifting. Ending on a shot of an emptied and snow-covered Owls Head, the film suggests a blank canvas, a new beginning. “Every day you’re sort of like a pilgrim,” said Purcell about continuing her work. “Every day, you get up, and you put on your boots, and you go forward.”

    An Art That Nature Makes is currently showing at Film Forum until August 16. Rosamond Purcell and Molly Bernstein will be in attendance tonight for a Q&A following the 7:50 PM screening.

    Purcell’s work is also currently on exhibit at Penumbra Foundation until August 23.

    —By Brittany Stigler

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