I haven’t seen The Lost City of Z just yet, but what I can tell you is that the film takes place in 1925, a tumultuous time in the Western world when it looked like the sun might very well start to set on the British Empire. In fact, imperial order was starting to collapse around the globe, and would eventually be replaced by a new bipolar world order– divvied up into two supposedly opposite political instincts, nationalism and socialism. (If that sounds like a super mysterious process, that’s because it is. There are tons of fascinating theories about how and why this happened, and about WTF nationalism even is, man– none of which I will go into here.) So even though a bunch of landowning white men still ruled the day at this point, they were probably feeling a little insecure about their privileged position, which they justified by an unshakeable belief in white supremacy and fashionable pseudoscientific ideas/total BS concepts of the time. I mean, now we know that terms like “imperial expansion” and “colonization” are just fancy ways to talk about pirate stuff (e.g., raping, pillaging). Oh, and racism too.
The Tribeca Film Festival unveiled its lineup a few weeks ago, and now comes the second big reveal: the lineup of Tribeca Talks, which last year featured J.J. Abrams and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. If you couldn’t bring yourself to shell out $1,000 to see Bruce Springsteen on his book tour, well, good news: You’ll have a chance to see him for a smidge less ($40) when tickets for his talk with America’s other sweetheart, Tom Hanks, go on sale tomorrow, March 21, at Tribeca’s site. The convo will happen April 28 at the Beacon Theatre.
The Love Witch Thursday December 15, 4:15 pm at Nitehawk: $12
If you can play hooky this afternoon, do. Your first hideout should be Nitehawk’s last screening of The Love Witch, which (witch?) I’m kicking myself for not getting to until now. I blame it all on Anna Biller– the filmmaker has done such a convincing job of making this throwback film look like an actual piece of vintage sexploitation that, for-realsies, even after several once-overs I failed to realize is actually a brand new movie that I should definitely be paying attention to. I mean, even the movie poster (see below) looks exactly like an airbrushed box-office placard advertising some cheap-o, long-forgotten ’70s erotic thriller.
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.
Daydream 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.
Kate Plays Christine Friday August 26 through Thursday September 1 at IFC Center: $15
This year at Sundance, there were two films focused on Christine Chubbuck, the Florida news reporter who killed herself live on the air in the summer of 1974 during the broadcast of her talk show– although the filmmakers in each case took a wildly different approach to exploring not only the story of Chubbuck’s death but our own unrelenting fascination with her suicide and how knowing that it was caught on film makes the whole situation strangely titillating.
Multiple Maniacs Friday August 5, 7:20 pm and 9:40 pm at IFC Center: $15
John Waters’s second full-length film, Multiple Maniacs, a black-and-white absurdist comedy that he shot in 1970 for just $5,000, might be his best film ever. But most of us wouldn’t know– the film never saw wide release beyond a 1994 VHS tape. Until now. Thanks be to the Criterion Collection for restoring this masterpiece to its former, er, glory’s not the right word exactly– unless of course we’re talking glory holes.
Three Sisters Tuesday, June 21 (7 pm) and Sunday June 26 (7:30 pm) at Spectacle Theater: $5
For six months, documentary filmmaker Wang Bing embedded himself in a tiny rural village, Xiyangtang, in China’s Yunnan province, following the lives of three sisters all under the age of 10, orphaned, and living under crushing poverty. Their mother has died and their father, who occasionally pops into their lives, but never long enough to see if they’re even meeting their basic nutritional needs, has gone to the city to work. The family represents some of the major problems for China’s rural residents– an extreme lack of resources that is leveled unevenly by women, and therefore children as well, when men leave to find work in urban areas (China is one of the few places in the world where the suicide rate for women surpasses that of men, and many of the suicides are related to death by fertilizer poisoning).
Rooftop Films Premiere Wednesday May 18 through August 2016
The summer al-fresco screening series turns 20 years old this season, which officially makes Rooftop Films a millennial– meaning they’re addicted to their phones, underemployed, over-entitled, and why don’t they just grow up already and chain themselves to a cubicle desk and support the only real man in this race Donald Trump? Did that sound curmudgeonly enough to come from the desk of David Brooks or something? I figure the only way to drive the olds out of a universally beloved series such as Rooftop Films is to convince them either that it will somehow induce diabetic reactions and/or edema or that, like Snapchat, it’s something that only Millennials would understand.
Green Room Friday, April 29 through Thursday, May 5 at Nitehawk: $12
Is there anyone more punk than Patrick Stewart? Apparently there is, and it’s Patrick Stewart on a murderous rampage, hellbent on killing a little punk band for no apparent reason. Green Room might be the most bizarre combination of genres we’ve seen come together under one film in a long, long time. Fusing together snuff, Saw-like torture horror, teen drama, punk movies, and backwoods suspense, the film follows a punk band as they embark on a tour that takes them to some real hillbilly places.
Soplo de Vida Saturday April 9 and Saturday April 16, 10 pm at Spectacle: $5
Do you find yourself still watching new eppies of True Detective well into season two, ignoring the hammy dialogue and neverminding the complete void of character development that is Detective Colin Farrell? Do you often invoke the phrase, “It can’t rain all the time” with complete and utter sincerity only to be lol’d at by your friends who just don’t get it? Well, it’s likely you’re a fan of noir. It’s ok, friend, this is your safe place. But given all of the above, it’s likely you’ve had your way with the Hollywood stuff. Here’s a curveball– Soplo de Vida (“Breath of Life”) Colombian director Luis Ospina’s singular detour into noir. Too bad he only made one of these, because as it turns out, he’s rather good at it.
Yes, there are better things playing right now than Mission Impossible number… whatever. Ethan Hunt is the hero to end them all, perhaps, but why make yourself feel any dumber this week than you need to? There’s plenty of time for Tom Cruisin’ (that movie’s got at least a billion more dollars to make back before Scientology’s satisfied), so get tootin’ on some of these other films instead.