Metrograph, the arthouse cinema and restaurant that tie guy Alexander Olch is bringing to the Lower East Side, just revealed its opening slate of films. After announcing itself back in August and unveiling its menu in October, the two-screen theater at 7 Ludlow Street is ready to roll out a retrospective of French filmmaker Jean Eustache, new 35mm prints of films by Frederick Wiseman of Titicut Follies fame, and a new documentary about Rainer Werner Fassbinder that will be accompanied by a survey of the German auteur’s 10 favorite films.
Bedford + Bowery readers can also look forward to the premiere of a project we’ve been tracking, the ambitious UnionDocs revival of Diego Echeverria’s documentary about ’80s South Williamsburg, Los Sures. Among the new releases are Randall Wright’s documentary about artist David Hockney, artist Tom Sachs’s debut doc about that time he transformed the Park Avenue Armory into a space station, Cannes hit The Measure of a Man (along with a retrospective dedicated to the film’s star, Vincent Lindon), and an intimate look at Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang.
There are also some classic crowd-pleasers from Scorsese, Kubrick, Ozu, and others, plus a nod to the Lower East Side via the 1985 Madonna vehicle Desperately Seeking Susan.
In a press release, the theater touts its dedication to “the dismissed film now recognized as a classic, the forgotten box-office hit newly resurrected, the high and the low, the refined and the rough.” It promises to be “the definitive place for people to celebrate cinema,” whether it’s via “a breezy afternoon matinee, a Saturday night out at the movies, a day-long epic binge, or a late-night marathon.”
Here’s the initial schedule, with more details to come.
March 4 – March 10
SURRENDER TO THE SCREEN
Watching the Moviegoing Experience
One of the essential joys of going to the movies is ritual: the lights dimming, the first beam of light on the screen, the familiar fanfare or logo (the arrow and target to announce A Production of the Archers), sitting in the dark with a roomful of strangers, waiting to be transported. Susan Sontag wrote of “the experience of surrender to, of being transported by, what was on the screen.” As we open Metrograph, we invite you to experience—or re-experience—films that bestow this singular magic, films that kidnap us into the theater and transport us to the world of filmgoing. In these movies, people watch and we watch them.
Titles include: The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies, 1992), Vivre sa Vie (Jean-Luc Godard, 1962), Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang, 2003), Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976), Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993), Desperately Seeking Susan (Susan Seidelman, 1985), Variety (Bette Gordon, 1983),Demons (Lamberto Bava, 1985) and more.
March 9 – March 17
“Jean Eustache is a genius. The Mother and the Whore is the The Rules of the Game of our generation.” – Philippe Garrel in Cahiers du Cinéma
The giants of film history that defined the cinema-changing Nouvelle Vague were undeniable: Godard, Truffaut, Varda, Demy, Chabrol. But the generation of filmmakers who followed them—children of May ’68—produced movies as provocative and thrilling as anything seen in any film epoch. The brilliant Jean Eustache is a towering figure of this period, making intellectually searching, unpredictable films that uncovered sharp and raw truths about human nature. His most towering work, The Mother and the Whore (1973), is a rightfully beloved epic of generational angst, but his entire oeuvre—narratives, experimental documentaries, essay films, and interviews—collected here for the first time in New York in over a decade, evinces a mastery of the form, an idiosyncratic, naturalistic humor, and an inquisitive artistic nature.
Extended engagements of Eustache’s two features The Mother and the Whore (1973) and Mes Petites Amoureuses (1974), along with Les Mauvaises Fréquentations (1963), Santa Claus Has Blue Eyes (1967) and more rare imported prints.
March 11 – March 17
One Week Revival Engagement
THE STUDENT NURSES
New 35mm Print of Stephanie Rothman’s Low-Budget Classic
“A surprisingly sensitive study of youthful aspirations and conflicting interests among three female friends… It’s hard to believe there was a time when such progressive politics could be expressed in a drive-in movie.” – Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
The sole female filmmaker in a renowned boys’ club, Stephanie Rothman made a small, but significant series of subversive exploitation films. One of her greatest films is the ensemble dramaThe Student Nurses, which forgoes cheap psychologizing and sexual gratuity for a nuanced take on the professional and personal options faced by women. Though she was recognized at the time by some astute critics, it’s only recently that Rothman’s work has been unequivocally acknowledged for what it is: incisive, funny, and bursting with ideas, and a crucial counter to the overwhelmingly male vision of the American seventies. We’re pleased to present The Student Nurses in a new 35mm print from Academy Film Archives, with support from the Women’s Film Preservation Fund and Cinema Conservancy.
1970 / 89 Minutes / Color / 35mm / Rated R
March 16 – April 21
WELCOME TO METROGRAPH: A-F
An Alphabetical History of Cinema According to Metrograph, Part 1
At Metrograph, you will experience all kinds of movies. What will unite them all is—simply—that we believe in them, and we think they are films you should see. This is the first installment in a year-long, alphabetically ordered series that offers films we consider must-sees; a pinnacle of a filmmaker’s career or an overlooked, demands-reconsideration masterpiece. Call it a very unofficial “Metrograph canon,” with one film only per director. A mid-career Scorsese, a left-field Assayas, documentary shorts by must-know filmmaker Madeline Anderson, a classic noir by John Farrow, or Andy Warhol’s double-system projected The Chelsea Girls… These are the films we couldn’t wait to show, so we had to create a series to justify it.
Titles include: The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese, 1993), Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975), The Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau, 1932), Chelsea Girls (Andy Warhol, 1966, image above), The Clock (Vincente Minnelli, 1945), Comrades: Almost A Love Story (Peter Chan, 1996), Deux fois (Jackie Raynal, 1968), The Devil Probably (Robert Bresson, 1977), Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Rouben Mamoulian, 1931),Equinox Flower (Yasujiro Ozu, 1958), and more. All films on 35mm or 16mm.
March 18 – March 24
Exclusive One Week Theatrical Engagement
A SPACE PROGRAM
American Artist/Provocateur Tom Sachs’ Debut Feature
Official Selection: 2015 SxSW Film Festival
“Ingenious…an extraordinary film.” – Dazed
World-renowned contemporary artist Tom Sachs transformed New York’s Park Avenue Armory into a space station, immersing visitors into a large-scale installation, titled “Space Program 2.0. Mars.” In this new documentary, co-directors Sachs and Van Neistat give viewers intimate glimpses into the production of this beautiful and playful world, following the crew as they embark on a risky mission to the red planet. A Space Program is a vivid work of art on its own terms.
2015 / 72 minutes / Color / DCP / Not Rated
A Zeitgeist Films release
Sundays beginning March 20
OLD AND IMPROVED
New Preservations and Restorations Every Sunday
Every Sunday starting March 20, we’re pleased to present a new preservation or restoration. In some cases, these screenings mark the first times these prints have shown to the public. Titles include Dorothy Arzner’s Craig’s Wife (1936), Garson Kanin’s My Favorite Wife (1940), Josef von Sternberg’s Crime and Punishment (1935), Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Mysterious Object at Noon (2000), Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki (1973), and Joyce Chopra’s Joyce at 34 (1972) plus shorts from New York’s Youth Film Distribution Center. All titles on 35mm or 16mm.
March 25 – April 14
Frederick Wiseman’s HIGH SCHOOL, TITICUT FOLLIES and HOSPITAL Receive Week Long Runs on New 35mm Prints
Series Marks the 50th Anniversary of the Start of Wiseman’s Filmmaking Career
“Frederick Wiseman… whose sustained acts of attention to various places, institutions and social phenomena constitute one of the great monuments of modern filmmaking.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Among the greatest and most influential documentary filmmakers who ever lived, Frederick Wiseman is more than just a capturer of reality on screen: he’s a conjurer of unforgettable images and a true artist, chronicling the last half century of American life. Still going strong at age 85 (his latest film, In Jackson Heights, was one of the very best of 2015), Wiseman began his career in the late sixties. We’re proud to show three of his earliest masterpieces—Titicut Follies (1967),High School (1968), and Hospital (1970)— in new 35mm prints. The films were preserved by the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center from original camera negatives in the Zipporah Films Collection.
March 25 – March 31
Revival One Week Theatrical Engagement
Directed by Johnnie To
Starring Chow Yun-fat and Sylvia Chang
“If Mr. To were an American, his name would fall from lips as easily as Martin Scorsese’s, another artist alive to cinema’s past as well as its present… sharp and exceedingly playful.”- Manohla Dargis, The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)
Hugely popular Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To, primarily known for his action movies, surprised and delighted his fans this past year with the remarkable Office, a stylish, buoyant musical shot in 3D featuring grand, eye-popping set design reminiscent of Jacques Tati’s classic Playtime. Adapted from her own stage play by Sylvia Chang, who also costars, Office takes place in an austere yet exquisitely realized high-rise, where two new assistants attempt to climb the corporate ladder and please the head honcho (played by the imperious Chang). Office received a limited New York release in 2015, and has been steadily accruing a major cult following ever since. Metrograph is thrilled to bring back this unmissable cinematic treat—also starring the legendary Chow Yun-Fat—in a special week-long run.
2015 / 119 minutes / Color / DCP / Not Rated
In Cantonese with English Subtitles
A China Lion Release
April 1 – April 7
Exclusive One Week Theatrical Engagement
Directed by Tsai Ming-liang and featuring Lee Kang-sheng
Official Selections: 2015 Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival
Afternoon is a rare and lovely cinematic expression of gratitude.” -Michael Sicinski, Cinema-Scope Magazine
Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang (The River, What Time Is It There?), one of the most tirelessly brilliant filmmakers in the world, sits down for an extended conversation with his long-time muse Lee Kang-sheng, in a ramshackle rural house to discuss all manner of things professional and very personal. True Tsai fans, prepare to bliss out.
Presented with support from Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York.
2015 / 137 Minutes / Color / DCP / Not Rated
In Taiwanese with English Subtitles
April 15 – April 21
THE MEASURE OF A MAN
One Week Theatrical Engagement
Best Actor: 2015 Cannes Film Festival
VINCENT LINDON RETROSPECTIVE
Includes Claire Denis’ Masterpiece Friday Night
“Through it all, Lindon takes in every atom of every situation, every pointer, every negative word, considering what’s of value, discarding what’s not. This is one of the most sensitively shaded depictions of listening I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. He’s playing the pressure, but his way: tense, cool.” – Wesley Morris, Grantland
One of the most robust and dynamic actors currently working in French cinema, Vincent Lindon officially arrived as a force to be reckoned with on the international stage when he won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 for The Measure of a Man. Vincent Lindon is subtly overwhelming as unemployed everyman Thierry, who, after losing his factory job, must submit to a series of humiliating ordeals in his search for work. After numerous dead ends, Skype interviews, ritualized personal critiques by fellow jobseekers, Thierry finds a job, which proves no less soul-sucking. Brizé’s drama is powerful and moving depiction of our contemporary economic reality.
On the occasion of the release of The Measure of a Man, we’re pleased to present a selection of films that showcase four of his greatest performances. Each of them uncovers a different facet of this generous and vital leading man, a tough-guy and a romantic hero in equal measure. Films include Seventh Heaven (1997), Friday Night (2002), Pater (2007), and Bastards (2013)
The Measure of a Man
2015 / 91 Minutes / Color / HD
In French with English Subtitles
A Kino Lorber Release
April 15 – April 21
Exclusive One Week Premiere Theatrical Engagement
Iconic Portrait of Puerto Rican/Dominican Community in 1980s S. Williamsburg
Thirty years ago, South Williamsburg was known as “Los Sures,” a place imbued with vibrant life, a community of close-knit Puerto Rican and Dominican families living amidst everyday economic struggle. Today, with the neighborhood fully gentrified, it feels vital to remember this lost world, and Diego Echeverria’s essential documentary, shot in the early eighties on 16mm, brings it all back to life, through the eyes of five different residents. Rediscovered in 2007, the film has become a cornerstone program of the Williamsburg arts nonprofit Union Docs, which not only restored the film but in 2015 began the “Living Los Sures” historical memory project, which helps fund filmmakers in continuing to document the neighborhood.
1984 / 66 mins. / 16mm presented on DCP
A Union Docs release
April 22 – April 28
One Week Theatrical Engagement
The Defining Portrait of the British Pop Artist
“This warm, affectionate, perceptive film makes looking harder look easy.” – The Telegraph
For the first time, the brilliant artist David Hockney has given us access to his personal archive of photographs and home movies; the result is an unparalleled visual diary of his life. Randall Wright’s new documentary Hockney weaves together a portrait of the multifaceted artist from this intimate, never-before-seen footage and frank interviews with close friends. One of the great surviving icons of the 1960s, Hockney started his career with nearly instant success, but in private he has struggled with his art, relationships, and the tragedy of AIDS, making his optimism and sense of adventure truly uplifting. Hockney is funny, inspiring, bold, and visionary, the definitive exploration of one the most significant artists of his generation.
112 minutes / English / HD / Not Rated
A Film Movement release
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Top Ten Films on 35mm
April 29 – May 5
FASSBINDER: TO LOVE WITHOUT DEMANDS
Exclusive One Week Theatrical Engagement
“Intimate, unsentimental… Thomsen builds a fascinating film around a fascinating man, but never, despite his evident deep affection for him, allows it to fall into hagiography.” – Jessica Kiang, Indiewire-The Playlist
In the new documentary Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands, writer and filmmaker Christian Braad Thomsen delves into the life and work of singular New German cinema bad-boy artist Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starting with incredible footage of Fassbinder winning the grand prize at the 1969 Berlin Film Festival for his debut feature Love Is Colder Than Death—amidst boos and catcalls. Official Selection of the 2015 Berlin Film Festival.
As a countdown to our release of this probing, entertaining new film, we present Fassbinder’s expectedly idiosyncratic Top 10, as published in 1982, a year before his death. What a lineup: we start with #1 of all time, Luchino Visconti’s decadent The Damned (1969) and then count down the rest— The Naked and the Dead (Raoul Walsh, 1958), Lola Montes (Max Ophuls, 1955),Flamingo Road (Michael Curtiz, 1949), Salò (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 975), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953), Dishonored (Josef von Sternberg, 1931), The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955), Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954), and The Red Snowball Tree (Vasiliy Shukshin, 1971).
Fasssbinder: To Love Without Demands
2015 / 109 minutes / HD / Not rated
In English and German with English Subtitles
Correction: The original version of this post was revised to indicate the theater has two screens, not two seats.