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The 22nd edition of the Rendez-vous with French Cinema series, co-sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and UniFrance, runs from March 1st to 12th. Notable presentations this year include a new feature by the underappreciated Pascal Bonitzer (screening on the 10th and 12th at the Walter Reade Theater), a live talk with New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda on March 10th at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, and an exhibition at the Furman Gallery of recently discovered color photographs by Paul Ronald of the production of Federico Fellini's celebrated 8 1/2.
Another significant event will be the screening of the latest work by the consistently remarkable François Ozon, the moving Frantz, a remake of Ernst Lubitsch's dramatic film set in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, Broken Lullaby. Handsomely photographed in widescreen, the film beautifully oscillates between black-and -white and color while the director elicits uniformly superb performances from a cast of mostly unknowns. Elegantly crafted, this is one of Ozon's strongest works to date and fulfills much of the promise of his early efforts. Frantz will be shown on March 2nd (with a Q&A with Ozon) and 11th and will be released by Music Box Films.
Of comparable merit is the extraordinary new feature by Bertrand Bonello, the doom-laden Nocturama—which might be described as a "phenomenological" thriller for its focus on sensation and the consequent obliquity of its political commentary— about a terrorist attack in contemporary Paris staged by a multicultural group of disaffected youth. Structurally, the film exhilaratingly disorients as it elliptically crisscrosses back and forth in time in exposition of the narrative. The director confidently employs a range of techniques and devices such as the zoom, split screens, and liberal reliance on the Steadicam. The work is enhanced by a propulsive techno score composed by the filmmaker and is captivatingly animated by a compelling, attractive cast, also mostly unknowns.Nocturamashows on March 4th and 5th, with Bonello present at both screenings, and is being released by Netflix.
Considerably less rewarding was the new, bizarre opus of the fascinating Bruno Dumont, Slack Bay, a tale of cannibalism set in a small town on the coast of northern France in 1910. A few excellent stars—Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Juliette Binoche, and Fabrice Luchini in a highly exaggerated turn—can do little to redeem the general, although not entirely uninteresting, unpleasantness. One redeeming facet is the appearance of a beautiful young androgyne in one of the leading roles. The film plays on the evenings of March 9th and 11th.
City of Joy
A film festival with a feminist angle, the Athena Film Festival (February 9 - 12, 2017) is now in its seventh year of screening shorts, features, and documentaries with leading ladies. Held at Barnard College (3009 Broadway, New York, NY) and co-founded by the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and Women and Hollywood, the festival also features panels and workshop covering everything from the female gaze in cinema, to a crash course in camera work from B&H.
The centerpiece film of the festival is City of Joy, directed by Madeleine Gavin, a documentary on a community of women in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that also act as a shelter for victims of sexual violence. Long Way North, directed by Rémi Chayé, Ron Dyens, and Henri Magalon is a French-Danish animated film and tells the story of Sascha, a Russian teenager, who sets off on a voyage to find and recover the lost ship of her missing grandfather who disappeared on his way to the North Pole. Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds follows the strange lives of two members of “Hollywood Royalty” and their bond as mother and daughter. Closing the festival is Dolores, directed by Peter Bratt, a documentary on the life of feminist union organizer Dolores Huerta.
To learn more, go to: http://athenafilmfestival.com/
Athena Film FestivalFebruary 9 - 12, 2017
Barnard College3009 BroadwayNew York, NY 10027
The legendary Polish director Andrzej Wajda who died last year at the age of ninety is being honored at the Film Society of Lincoln Center with an eleven-film tribute from February 9th to the 16th, presented in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute. The selection of films is quite good even if several of the most impressive films from the first half of his career such as Ashes, Everything for Sale and The Wedding are missing. Fortunately, all the films—excepting the New York premiere of his final film, Afterimage, from last year—are being screened in 35mm.
Afterimage, photographed attractively in widescreen, is a portrait of the final years—a period of Stalinist persecution and Kulturkampf—of the significant Polish avant-garde artist, Władysław Strzemiński, brilliantly portrayed by the great Bogusław Linda. Wajda's perspective on the material is not especially original here, and stylistically and imaginatively this is a relatively conventional work in the director's œuvre,but he approaches the subject with sensitivity and skill with an admirable consistency and is especially effective at evoking the early postwar period in Łódź.
Afterimage screens on Thursday, February 9th at 7pm.
To learn more, go to: http://www.filmlinc.org/
Tribute to Andrzej WajdaFebruary 9 - 16, 2017
Film Society of Lincoln Center70 Lincoln Center Plaza #7New York, NY 10023
The Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY) and The India Center Foundation are launching India Kaleidoscope, a festival celebrating the rich cultural heritages of India and Indian cinema. Running December 8 to the 11th, the festival features eight films tackling societal and changing issues within India.
“India Kaleidoscope is an auspicious start to MoMI’s collaboration with The India Center Foundation. This dynamic partnership is proven by the quality of the Festival lineup and the participation of so many emerging and established film directors,” said the Museum’s Chief Curator, David Schwartz.
One of the highlights of the festival is India in a Day, which was shot over the course of a single day in October 2015 when thousands across India recorded and shared moments from their everyday lives. The film was directed by Richie Mehta and executive produced by Ridley Scott.
Films at the festival include:
To learn more, go to: http://www.movingimage.us/
India KaleidoscopeDecember 8 - 11, 2016
Museum of the Moving Image36-01 35th Ave.Queens, NY 11106
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