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Letter from an Unknown Woman
From December 13th to January 7th, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will be presenting Emotion Pictures: International Melodrama, an impressive 62-film tribute to that misappreciated but glorious genre. Some of the important directors whose work will be screened in 35mm prints include D.W. Griffith, Victor Sjöström, Charlie Chaplin, King Vidor, F.W. Murnau, Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, Leo McCarey, George Cukor, Douglas Sirk, Vincente Minnelli, Nicholas Ray, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Arturo Ripstein, alongside especially rare titles by Raffaello Matarazzo, Hugo del Carril, and Kim Ki-young.
One of the greatest works in the series—and one of the finest Hollywood films of the 1940s—is Letter from an Unknown Woman, directed by Max Ophüls, the story of an adolescent girl’s tragic love for a famous pianist. The outstanding screenplay was adapted by Howard Koch and Ophüls from the eponymous novella by Stefan Zweig (which was previously filmed in 1933—as Only Yesterday—by the neglected master, John M. Stahl, and which is also showing in this series in a 35mm print). Gloriously photographed in sumptuous monochrome by the extraordinary Franz Planer, the film features less elaborately choreographed long takes—in accord with studio system norms—than in the director’s celebrated European pictures. The lovely Joan Fontaine gives a magnificent performance in the lead role and the dashing Louis Jourdan is perfectly cast as the charming but ultimately pathetic object of her affections.Letter from an Unknown Womanwill be twice projected onto the impressive screen at the Walter Reade Theater in an exquisite, restored 35mm print from the UCLA Archive on December 16th and 26th.
Another terrific film in the series is the dazzling, immensely moving The Cranes Are Flying from 1957—by the underappreciated Mikhail Kalatozov—another doomed romance, set in the Soviet Union and beginning on the eve of World War II. The astonishing long takes here—and elsewhere in the director’s œuvre—are even more technically remarkable than those in Ophüls, but Kalatozov’s style is just as marked by his reliance on the wide-angle lens and his unorthodox camera-placement. The luminous Tatiana Samoilova—who also starred in the director’s stunning The Letter Never Sent of 1959—is unforgettable as the suffering protagonist. A good 35mm print of The Cranes Are Flying from Janus Films screens twice at the Walter Reade Theater on December 17th and the 30th.
To learn more, go to: https://www.filmlinc.org/daily/emotion-pictures-international-melodrama-begins-december-13/
Emotion Pictures: International MelodramaDecember 13, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Walter Reade Theater165 W 65th St.New York, NY 10023
The Romanian Film Initiative, BAMcinématek (30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY) and the Jacob Burns Film Center (364 Manville Rd, Pleasantville, NY) will be hosting the 12h edition of MAKING WAVES: New Romanian Cinema festival, to take place November 30-December 7, 2017.
From the press release:
Showcasing the best new releases from November 30- December 7, the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY, sees the return of audience darling Nae Caranfil, who gets to open this year’s festival at the JBFC with his new musical extravaganza, 6.9 on the Richter Scale. International film festival highlights, including Adrian Sitaru’s The Fixer and Calin Peter Netzer’s Ana, Mon Amour join the party; and so does a contingent of promising first-time filmmakers. It’s a hell of a ride, with The Gambler by Ignas Jonynas equally on board—courtesy of this edition’s guest country, Lithuania.
New York’s longstanding Romanian film festival comes for this edition also to BAMcinématek from December 4-7, with an exclusive program which blends the award-winning works of a brand new generation of talents—including a Balkan Coen-esque thriller, a zany social comedy, and a quiet backwater drama—plus a spotlight on Anca Damian, one of the most compelling Romanian directors working today who has forged a singular path with her visually arresting documentary, narrative, and animation hybrids or her intellectually challenging fiction films.
Festival guests include directors:
To learn more, go to: http://makingwaves.filmetc.org/
MAKING WAVES: New Romanian CinemaNovember 30 - December 7, 2017
BAMcinématek30 Lafayette AveBrooklyn, NY 11217
Jacob Burns Film Center364 Manville Rd.Pleasantville, NY 10570
A Murder in Mansfield
This year’s DOC NYC Festival, comprising dozens of non-fiction features and shorts, opened with The Final Year, a fly-on-the-wall look at Obama’s last 12 months in office.
Closing night’s Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars is directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, who made Rush in 1991, a movie highlighted by Clapton’s mournful “Tears in Heaven,” written after his young son Conor fell to his death from a midtown Manhattan high rise window. That incident looms large in this examination of Clapton’s life and career, which doesn’t skimp on the addictions, adultery and other sordid episodes. But it’s the glorious musicmaking that makes this 135-minute overview a must-see, even for those most familiar with Slowhand.
Another music doc, Ben Lewis’s The Beatles, Hippies and Hell’s Angels—Inside the Crazy World of Apple, looks at the latter half of the Beatles’ meteoric career through the rise and precipitous fall of the quartet’s company Apple, against a background of an increasingly fractured society. Again, there’s not much new here, but it’s related vigorously, with great anecdotes and background information.
Cecil Beaton—certified dandy and prodigious visual artist—was a world-class photographer who designed the films My Fair Lady and Gigi. His dazzling life of barely-closeted homosexuality is presented in Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s vastly entertaining and touching account, Love Cecil.
Comedian Hari Kondabolu, in Michael Melamedoff’s The Problem with Apu, takes a personal—and critical—look at how The Simpsons character who runs the Quik-E Mart (voiced by non-Indian actor Hank Azaria) is thought of by Asian performers like Kal Penn, who has sworn off the show, and others who feel conflicted about its stereotypical portrayal in a show that, after all, traffics in stereotypes.
Barbara Kopple teamed with Collier Landry for A Murder in Mansfield, an intensely personal account of the aftermath of Collier’s mom Coleen Boyle’s killing, and his coming to terms, more than 20 years later, with his father being in prison for the murder (which he denied having committed). The fluctuating dynamic between father and son—and an absent mother looming large—playing out contributes to a gripping and tough story to watch.
French actor Eric Caravaca directed Plot 35, a touching family puzzle in which Caravaca uncovers what happened to his sister Charlotte, who died before he and his brother were born.
The building of Manhattan Plaza—affordable housing on 9th Avenue for those in the theater community—is recounted in Miracle on 42nd Street, Alice Elliott’s incisive document about those who lived there then and now (including Larry David, Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Lansbury).
Like Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, Brian Kaufman’s 12th and Clairmount returns to an incendiary era in that city’s history: the riots of 1967. This is eyewitness testimony at its most explosive, with lots of home-movie and other archival footage providing a greater sense of immediacy.
Ninety-three-year-old retired gynecologist Mahinder Watsa is the title character of Ask the Sexpert, Vaishali Sinha’s amusing but rigorous study of the man behind a helpful (if often maligned) sex advice column in a country that remains torn between extreme conservatism and halting attempts at modernism.
Karin Jurschick’s Playing God introduces Ken Feinberg, the go-to arbitrator appointed to decide how to distribute the moneys of impossibly large funds like Sept. 11, among others. Jurschick shows Feinberg as a conscientious man well aware of the consequences of his decisions.
The Iconoclast is King Adz’s lively portrait of art forger Michel van Rijn, who intimates at something more: there are suggestions that Michel (who claims he’s related to Rembrandt) may have been involved in the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist and Mossad’s killing of Nazi Josef Mengele.
Contemporary racism is further revealed in Spiral, Laura Fairrie’s powerful dive into today’s burgeoning anti-Semitic movement in Europe. We hear from Jews who take refuge by returning to Israel and others deciding to stay in what are after all their original homelands, even if Holocaust deniers and other bigots are in their midst, often very publicly.
And Talya Tibbon and Joshua Bennett’s Sky and Ground follows several members of the Kurdish Nabi family in its seemingly endless quest of leaving their own war-ravaged Syrian home to a new life in Europe. The refugees’ plight is shown with insight, sympathy and even occasional humor, but never heavy-handed polemics. When the family finally reunites, perhaps not even Steve Bannon would remain unmoved.
To learn more, go to: http://www.docnyc.net/
DOC NYC FestivalNovember 9-16, 2017
Mr. Muay Thai Nation
Having announced it's slate of films at the Empire City Casino earlier this year, the Yonkers Film Festival (or YoFi), which runs from November 3 to the 11th, looks to have a wealth of cinematic delights to share with the Yonkers/Westchester area. With the goal of promoting both filmmakers and production in Yonkers and Westchester, YoFi features local directors, actors, and producers of narrative and documentary films, and is being held at the YoFi Digital Media Art Center (66 Main Street, Yonkers, NY).
Films being shown include:
To learn more, go to: https://www.yofifest.com/
The Yonkers Film FestivalNovember 3 - 11, 2017
YoFi Digital Media Art Center66 Main Street, Yonkers, NY 10701
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