Dirty Little Billy
Thursday March 9, 9:30 pm at Nitehawk: $16
Legends and lore of the Old West have been distorted so horrendously for modern entertainment purposes that what most people know about Billy the Kid they’ve learned from The Wild Wild West (arguably Will Smith’s greatest cinematic/symphonic achievement ever) and a National Geographic Channel reenactment where the infamous, down-n’dirty, sharp-shootin’ gunslinger is portrayed by a male-frickin’-model.
In reality, the Kid was a gnarly little dude who evaded authorities for something like five years as a suspect in at least 8 murder cases, for which he dominated most-wanted lists (the Billboard charts of his day)–he most likely had fetal alcohol poisoning, and therefore no modelesque facial symmetry to speak of. Basically, he was the scumfuck-kinda crustpunk of his day, and these sugar-coated baby stories just won’t do for Mr. Kid.
Thanks be to Nitehawk for screening an “ultra-rare 35mm print” of the 1972 film Dirty Little Billy, “Stan Dragoti’s gritty, unsensationalistic portrait of a young Billy the Kid” starring Michael J. Pollard. As you’ll hear in the trailer up above here: “The real Billy the Kid wasn’t big or tough or brave, he was a punk.”
Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait
Saturday March 11, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5
You know when people say you just have to go see such-and-such because it’s such an “important” film for our modern times, and it “cannot be missed,” etc., etc.? Inevitably they are insisting that you go see either (a) some uber-chaste YA fiction bestseller-turned-Hollywood-windfall, or (b) yet another gosh-dang Minions sequel, something like Teletubbies Return: Rubbin’ Bellies with the Minions. But once in a while for-real important films like Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait actually do come outta the woodwork, and demonstrate that film offers a unique way to compress and overcome some of the challenges that stand in the way of understanding complex issues like the ongoing Syrian War.
Whereas most of the radio news programs, CNN broadcasts, and still photos we see of the conflict are made by and for Westerners, Silvered Water is split between two Syrian filmmakers. One part was shot in 2014 while the city of Homs was under siege, and the other in Paris from the perspective of an expat. The Syrian “footage is not of protests or bloody deaths but of the interiors, city corners, injured street cats, and young children that make up her daily, isolated life,” writes MUBI. “The two, Bedirxan and Mohammed, trade longings and self-doubts, each somewhat talking to themselves, images as monologues.”
Friday March 10 through Thursday March 16 at IFC Center: $14
Babe’s babe Kristen Stewart stars in this afterlife-obsessed horror film about an American woman living in Paris whose life takes a spooky turn after her twin brother dies. Specifically, she starts hearing loud noises, which ok, sure, seems a little bit annoying, but nothing most people can’t tolerate. That’s just the start– eventually she’s convinced that her twinner is trying to communicate with her from Hades. But her dead bro might have gone too far when the girl finds herself in a sticky situation with a dead body, lots of blood, and no suspects but the one looking back at her in the mirror.
OK, I honestly can’t tell you why this movie is called Personal Shopper– I mean, the fact that it’s Stewart’s occupation just seems like a poor excuse– but I get the feeling that finding out would mean dropping a complete spoiler bomb on this operation. But that won’t stop me from guessing– is her brother in need of a personal shopper to help him find a new body by which he can rejoin the living? Are audience members graced with personal shoppers of their own to help them select the most flattering buttered-popcorn flavors? Dream big, babies.
The Human Surge
Thursday March 9, at 1 pm, 3 pm, and 5 pm at The Metrograph: $15
As soon as you’re finished contemplating the nature of personal shoppers (there’s a lot to think about, believe me, I know), get thee to the final day of screenings of The Human Surge at Metrograph. And yes, as a sweeping examination of technology, youth, globalization, the film is as epic as its title suggests. The theater intriguingly describes this “restlessly roving digital-organic trip” from Buenos Aires to the Philippines as a “pursuit of the fugitive spirit of plugged-in 21st century youth.”
The filmmakers emphasize technology’s incredible and ever-expanding reach into so-called “remote” locales, a perspective that is all too lost on many of us here in the sheltered, bubble-confined West. (Seriously, people are always shocked when I say that Russia is way better at the internet than we are– code-fluent babies abound, and speedy, free and relatively secure wifi available in nearly every public space.)