Chimes at Midnight (1965)
Ongoing through January 12
This compilation of five Shakespearean plays serves as the culmination of a lifetime’s creative work for Orson Welles. Directing and starring as the less than chivalrous Sir Falstaff, who spends his days reveling, warring, and philosophizing in his own fashion, Welles situates himself as the weightiest side of the love triangle with Keith Baxter’s Prince Hal and John Gielgud’s King Henry IV. Decades of rights issues denied legal public access to this film, but Film Forum has a new restoration by Janus Films and The Criterion Collection with a handful of screenings remaining.
Jewish Museum The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film Series
January 15 at 11:15 am
Before the rise of the Soviet Union, early 20th century Russia experienced mass political and social unrest directed against Tsarist autocracy. Rather than cover that chapter of history in a general sense, Vsevolod Pudovkin’s first feature Mother enters that time through a particular person: a working class woman with a husband and son on opposing sides of the revolution. Based on Maxim Gorky’s influential novel The Mother, Pudovkin’s film illustrates a humanly accessible narrative from an individual perspective during a time when many other films highlighted movements of the masses. The Jewish Museum’s current series The Power of Pictures underlines a period in Russia’s art history when filmmakers and films such as Mother harnessed the melodrama of a story by making it political and militant.
Microscope Gallery – Never Twice exhibit
January 10 at 7 pm
In a branch of art usually referred to as “expanded cinema,” the filmmaker captures and projects moving images live for an audience as a performance that could be done again but never achieved in the same way. In taking this performative approach, Barbara Hammer and Lary 7 designed a performance with projectors, cameras, and film stock called Evidentiary Bodies. This performance will be the final of Microscope Gallery’s Never Twice exhibit, which addresses the transience of art with reference to the Heraclitus quote “One cannot step into the same river twice.”
Shark Monroe (1918)
Museum of Modern Art – Modern Matinees: A Pioneer Cowboy series
January 15 at 1:30 pm
Known unofficially as “the first Western superstar,” William S. Hart donned the unsentimental, no-nonsense cowboy persona before the likes of John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Clint Eastwood. While those mid-20th century stars benefited from iconic costumes and well-placed one-liners, Hart pioneered early silent Western cinema through his portrayal of conflicted and world-weary cowboys with a combination of sincerity and brutality. MoMA will screen a lineup of Hart’s films as part of the Modern Matinees: A Pioneer Cowboy series. Shark Monroe may warrant particular attention due to MoMA’s recent restoration of the print, the vistas of the Great Northwest therein, and the fact that it was one of the last of ten films directed by and starring Hart that year alone.
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939)
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Ongoing through January 14
Despite working for years in Japan’s mainstream movie industry, director Kenji Mizoguchi infused his work with markedly more political than commercial ambitions. In The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums, Mizoguchi depicts the oppressive effects of social norms and gender roles of Japanese history within the context of a tragic love story. The combination of late 19th-century Kabuki theatre and long takes that have the actors choreographed in a dance with the mobile camera give the film an intensity and energy that build to a climactic finish. The Film Society of Lincoln Center will screen a new digital restoration courtesy of Janus Films.
Reporting by Aaron Linskens