While some would rather #Netflixandchill, there are ways to go out and experience film that stretch above and beyond your typical movie theater or home viewing experience. Some will even “immerse” you in your favorite film, or at least they will try.
Videofilia (And Other Viral Syndromes)
Friday December 2 through Thursday December 8 at Spectacle, $5
As we’re constantly reminded these days, technological progress is hurdling faster and faster toward the speed of light. These days, we don’t even have to get off our asses and schlep it to the dollar store for toilet paper– we can simply press a button and the butt paper shows up like magic, encased in an obscenely large cardboard box. Then again, there are times when you’re riding the subway and you’re overwhelmed by an apocalyptic dread, having realized that every single human on board is playing Candy Crush. These things serve to remind us that End Times are nigh, and these phone zombies will be the beginning of a very dark, totally uncool end.
Tuesday November 22, 7:30 pm at Light Industry: $8 at the door
Light Industry is billing next week’s screening event as a reading (“broadly defined”), which sounds interesting but also begs the question: lol what?
As you may or may not know, Light Industry is more or less a cinema and film discussion forum, but with Projective Life they’re opening up the floor to some good old-fashion poetry and prose, setting the stage for an interesting dialogue between the oral/literary and their usual video and projection modes and getting rid of the “sad exigencies of plot” altogether: “Under these conditions, a film can act as a reading and reading may become a kind of film.”
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes
Friday November 4, 7 pm and 9:15 pm and through Wednesday November 9 at Anthology Film Archives: $11
This documentary explores the far-reaching consequences of incarceration across the United States, without ever setting foot inside the prison proper. It’s a fascinating take on the impact of the prison system from a different perspective than the one we’re used to, in which the cameras are literally being behind bars. Instead, the subject is approached through absence and invisibility, from the parallel infrastructures that bring food and supplies into penitentiaries to women prisoners fighting forest fires in California.
Michael Moore in Trumpland
Monday October 24 through Thursday October 27 at IFC Center: $14
Yeah, yeah we know, Michael Moore is… well, he’s Michael Moore. His particular way of showing outrage feels almost obsolete by now, a bit like a relic of the Bush ere, or worse– like an old white dude who insists on putting himself at the center of his films for some reason that seems to have disintegrated long ago. For his latest film, you might expect that Moore has aimed his camera squarely at “Trumpland” aka underemployed, undereducated white men in flyover America. But that’s not the case at all, actually.
Saturday October 14, midnight at Spectacle: $5
Throughout the month of October, Spectacle is running a series on Pink Film, a Japanese cinematic movement that began in the groovy ’60s– a time when counterculture thrived in Japan and, just like the U.S. and France and other countries across the world, ideas about free love and experimental art-making began to take hold.
According to the theater, this is “the largest and most comprehensive [retrospective] of its kind in North America” and covers Pink’s evolution from start to present. Sick.
Saturday October 8 and Saturday October 15, 10 pm at Spectacle: $5
I trust that most of us here can agree that far too many films about sex and relationships are heteronormative, replete with sexist tropes, gender binarism, the male perspective, and/or female archetypes that are just godawful and tend to make those of us with brains in our heads question whether we are just totally insane for feeling zero identification with these boring storylines and banal characters. So we either play along, grumble and complain, laugh darkly, develop a self-depleting tick like methodically tearing out each and every hair on our heads, or avoid any sort of TV/film portrayals of romance and relationshits as if they were a postulating butt rash.
Friday September 30 through Thursday October 6 at IFC Center: $14
Danny Fields was the music manager “at the pulse of the underground,” the man behind the best rock n’ roll to come out of the ’70s New York City scene and actually some of the most influential rock of all time. Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, and the Ramones were just a few of his associated acts and though all of this stuff is standard by now, back in Danny’s glory days it was nothing short of insanity.
The Jazz Loft According to Eugene W. Smith
Friday September 23 through Wednesday September 28 at the Metrograph: $15
In this film about a loft that from 1957 to 1965 drew some of the best musicians of its time to a nondescript location in the city’s Flower District, you might get the feeling that you’ve been to a place sort of like this before. Like almost everything cool in America, the DIY venues we frequent today have their roots in jazz, specifically the underground spots of yesteryear where the music could be experienced in its natural state.
For a long time we’ve heard that analog film formats– for both making and viewing– are on the verge of mass extinction and very soon will be swallowed up by digital photography and filmmaking, never to be seen again. Recent events seem to confirm this prediction– in July, the last manufacturer of VHS players announced that it was quitting the game and shortly after, the Chinese factory where the clunky, black plastic boxes were made for Sanyo ceased production. The end came quietly, and some people were surprised that VHS consoles were still being made at all, since it had been nearly a decade since Eragon, an elf/fantasy movie, was the last ever to be released on VHS. Even before that, Fujifilm had stopped manufacturing motion picture film. As somebody once (pretentiously) told me, books, which are a lot like film in this context, are “nothing more than fetish objects” nowadays.
Elizabeth Wood may be a young filmmaker, still soaking up directorial lessons and figuring it all out, but she knew exactly what she was doing when she decided to call her first full-length feature, a semi-biographical film set in Ridgewood, White Girl. The label is alluring, gnawing, and sorta yucky all at once. Hilton Als wrote an entire collection of essays, White Girls, devoted to decoding the concept, which he determines is somewhere between an actual state of being and a mirage, both an all-powerful fantasy and the ideal object to be controlled : “Once I lived in a perpetual state of disbelief: How could one be a white girl and hate it? Wasn’t she— whoever she was— everything the world saw and wanted?”
It’s a pejorative, a term commonly attached to catcalls that’s less poetic than, say, “snowflake.” It’s “white girl wasted.” It’s a spoiled, naive little girl. It’s complaining too much. It’s traveling abroad and refusing to eat a stew made with chicken broth. It’s infantilizing, condescending, and rarely a compliment. It’s also a nickname for cocaine.
Friday September 16 to Thursday September 22 at IFC Center: $14
This film follows the illustrious but fraught career of Sergei Polunin, aka the “James Dean of the ballet world,” and his progress from child prodigy to a top-dancer wunderkind. I mean, you couldn’t really call anyone the James Dean of interpretive dance, because that would just be a dumb joke. It actually makes sense with Polunin though, as a figure who’s equally as intense, if not more so, than ballet itself, a sport that demands self-torture of its devotees, legit from the very first step.