Weekends in March
March Family Matinees: Buster Keaton
Real craftsmanship doesn’t age—and nowhere is this truer than in the films of Buster Keaton, where every pratfall is a marvel of precision engineering made to endure for generations. Keaton retains the ability to delight viewers both young and old with his physical derring-do and unchanging stoneface, somehow much funnier than any amount of mugging might be. So bring the family along, and watch built-to-last Buster go through the works without a scratch or a smile! Titles include Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928), The General (1926), College (1927), and Three Ages (1923). All newly restored by Lobster Films in 2K.
Special Screenings of Wong-Kar Wai's Masterpiece in 35mm
A hot-shot to the heart, Chungking Express tells the stories of two lovelorn cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung) and the women who baffle them (Brigitte Lin and Faye Wong)—the bifurcated structure of this pop masterpiece is like the A and B-sides of a 45. Wong’s international breakthrough introduced wide audiences to a rich, sensorial brand of filmmaking that you wanted to disappear into, sink into, live inside, a voluptuary world bigger and brighter than our own, but just as heartbreaking.
Olivier Assayas' International Trilogy
Demonlover, Clean, Boarding Gate in 35mm
From his days as a critic, when he specialized in f/x movies and the hypermodern cinema coming from the Pacific Rim, Olivier Assayas has been a figure uniquely attentive and responsive to the changing face of the world—and human relationships—through the years of ongoing globalization. Metrograph is therefore happy to screen in total his unofficial “international” trilogy, films which track the frictionless movement of bodies and capital (currency, culture, sex) across continents, through a sinister landscape of hotel rooms and business parks that are everywhere the same.
Begins March 17
Cyborgs and Artificial Intelligence
Almost-human, yet otherworldly: robots, cyborgs, and vessels of artificial intelligence are the vanguard of technological development; liminal beings between the scientific and the imaginary; the mechanical and the biological. Inspiring equal parts wonderment and dread, they have always occupied a special place in moving images, providing creative fodder for some of the most inventive films ever made. This program contemplates the ever-encroaching future moment when artificial superintelligence will overtake human intelligence—known as the coming Singularity—with films spanning ninety years of moving image history. A weeklong run of the original Ghost in the Shell, and an experimental short film sidebar will accompany the features. Titles include Level Five (1997), Metropolis (1927), Alphaville (1965), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Blade Runner (1982), The Matrix (1999), Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (2007), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Ex Machina (2015), and more!
One-Week Revival Run
Ghost in the Shell
Cyborg Classic Receives One-Week Revival Run Ahead of Live-Action Reboot
The haunting, awe-inspiring original Ghost in the Shell is Mamoru Oshii’s magnum opus and a watershed moment in anime filmmaking. In the year 2029, the world looks like a hybridization of Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York, yielding to entropy and technocracy. Cyborg Major Kusanagi, a perfect specimen of computer engineering with a human brain is on the case to track and destroy an omnipotent entity known as The Puppet Master—a hacker? a virus?—who threatens world order. Her journey is equally physical and existential, and shaped seamlessly by Oshii’s animation, combining traditional hand-drawn cells and computer generated graphics. As resonant now as ever, the groundbreaking anime gets a revival run at Metrograph one week before the release of the new live action film.
Beginning March 31
After being exiled from his native Spain, toiling in obscurity in Hollywood, and proving himself within the confines of the Mexican film industry, cinema’s arch-dissident, Luis Buñuel, at last found full creative freedom in the country where he had had his first succès de scandale 35 years earlier: France. Abetted by producer Serge Silberman, screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, and a stable of actors led by Fernando Rey, Buñuel unleashed a string of masterpieces that wed the smash-and-grab surrealism of his early work to taboo-testing critiques of church, state, and society. These are films made with the assuredness of an old master and the audaciousness of a Young Turk. Titles include Diary of a Chambermaid (1964), The Milky Way (1969), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), The Phantom of Liberty (1974), and That Obscure Object of Desire (1977).
Beginning April 5
Universal in the '70s: Part 2
The second half of Metrograph’s tribute to the most risk-taking major American studio of the 1970s is an array of films that feel anything but factory-made, from Clint Eastwood’s debut Play Misty for Me to the comeback of Blacklist victim Abraham Polonsky's Tell Them Willy Boy is Here, John Landis’ cultural phenomenon National Lampoon’s Animal House to Paul Newman’s masterpiece Sometimes a Great Notion, one of the greatest of all films from the American 70’s. Addition titles include The Sentinel (Michael Winner, 1977), The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (Philip Kaufman, 1972), The Seduction of Joe Tynan (Jerry Schatzberg, 1979), Which Way is Up (Michael Schultz, 1977) and The Wiz (Sidney Lumet, 1978). All 35mm.
Beginning April 12
Complete Retrospective with Special Screening of The Lost City of Z in 35mm
James Gray is one of the foremost contemporary practitioners of the classically-constructed narrative drama, an art that he is a passionate and articulate advocate of. Beginning with 1995’s Little Odessa, he carved out for his personal territory the working-class environs of New York City where he was raised, and has time and again told stories of these neighborhoods and their people that are invested with pathos, dignity, and solemn beauty. With his latest, The Lost City of Z, Gray strikes out into uncharted territory—the depths of the Amazonian jungle. Metrograph will host an evening with Gray discussing this voyage and the resulting film, showing in 35mm in a sneak preview, which provides a welcome pretext to revisit his extraordinary filmography. This complete retrospective also includes The Yards (2000), We Own The Night (2007), Two Lovers (2008), and The Immigrant (2013).
Throughout March and April
Welcome to Metrograph: S
This is the seventh installment in a year-long, alphabetically ordered series that offers films the programmers at Metrograph consider must-sees; a pinnacle of a filmmaker’s career or an overlooked, demands-reconsideration masterpiece. Titles include Sans Soleil (Chris Marker, 1982), Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927), A Screaming Man (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 2010), Street of Shame (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1956), Shanghai Express (Josef von Sternberg, 1932), Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984), Scarlet Street (Fritz Lang, 1945), Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (William Greaves, 1968), The Soft Skin (François Truffaut, 1964), Shame (Ingmar Bergman, 1968), and more! All films in 35mm unless specified otherwise.
April 28-30, Welcome to Metrograph: John Ford Edition. The self-imposed rule for ‘Welcome to Metrograph’ title selection was no repeats of any director, which was all well and good until it came to John Ford, who cranked out stone-cold masterpieces like it was going out of style, with an astonishing number of said greats beginning with the letter S. So come and see five of Ford’s best on a chock-a-block weekend. Titles include: Steamboat Round the Bend (1935), Stagecoach (1939), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Searchers (1956), and Sergeant Rutledge (1960).
The Windmill Movie
“What if someone else wrote your autobiography?” That is the question posited by Alexander Olch as he tells the life-story of his former Harvard film professor, the filmmaker Richard P. Rogers. For twenty years, Rogers worked on an autobiographical portrait, which remained incomplete upon his death in 2001. Hours and hours of footage, storied on hard drives in the home Rogers shared with his partner, the acclaimed photographer Susan Meiselas, were discovered, and form the foundation of this exploration of the life of the scion of an old New York family, who choose a life of the artist. Olch doesn’t tell Rogers story as much as create it, filling in and conjuring what didn’t exist. The Windmill Movie may bear a passing resemblance to the frequently labeled “hybrid-documentary,” but in fact is completely singular, a film-form unto itself. Official Selection: New York Film Festival, 2008. Alexander Olch and Susan Meiselas will appear in-person.
Madeline Anderson: Three Films
In her long career, Madeline Anderson has worked as producer, director and editor alongside documentary titans William Greaves on Black Journal and Richard Leacock. The three classics here, including the newly restored I Am Somebody (1970), and Integration Report 1 (1960) and A Tribute to Malcolm X (1967) are among the finest works documentary journalism produced in that groundbreaking decade. Anderson will appear in-person to present these crucial works.
April 8 and 9
Joan Tewkesbury Presents Nashville and Thieves Like Us
If only for having penned two of Robert Altman’s peak-period ‘70s masterworks—the decade-defining Nashville and crime caper Thieves Like Us—Joan Tewkesbury would have more than earned a place in film history. That she’s also been a director (of both screen and stage), producer, actress, dancer, and teacher makes her a true entertainment industry Renaissance woman, whom Metrograph is honored to welcome. Both films in 35mm.
April 11 & 12
Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night with Author Jason Zinoman
A David Letterman film series is an admittedly perverse idea since he rarely appeared in movies and did not like to act, even on his own talk shows. But he did make a few exceptions in cameo roles in irreverent comedies made by or about some of his most important collaborators (Chris Elliott, Andy Kaufman), guests (Howard Stern) and inspirations (Mike Judge). Together, these oddball movies provide a revealing window into the singular sensibility of one of the most important comedians of our time. Titles include Cabin Boy (Adam Resnick, 1994), Beavis and Butthead Do America (Judge, 1996), Private Parts (Betty Thomas, 1997), and Man on the Moon (Miloš Forman, 1999). Jason Zinoman, author of Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night (out April 11 via HarperCollins) will appear in-person for a book signing on April 11th after Cabin Boy.
April 13, 15
Durga Chew-Bose Presents Wanda and Jeanne Dielman
"Nothing has influenced my writing more than how I watch movies—how I’ve always watched movies. Sometimes the same ones, over and over. I’ll forget the plot of a film, but remember, for instance, how an actor slumps in her chair or folds her arms to convey disinterest. For whatever reason I’ll watch a film, new-to-me yet heralded as a masterwork, and mostly be charmed by how the lead tosses fries in his mouth or how the booths in a pivotal diner scene are an unlikely shade of green. Too Much and Not the Mood is a collection of essays-meets-prose poetry, inspired by the women in my life, my family, and of course film—the movies that taught me how to see the stuff that’s off to the side or the patterns that build if watching movies becomes, in large part, a practice of paying attention, kind of." - Durga Chew-Bose, author of Too Much and Not in the Mood, out April 11 by Farrar Straus & Giroux. She will appear in-person to introduce Barbara Loden's masterpiece Wanda on April 13, followed by a book signing, and will introduce Jeanne Dielman on April 15.
***Our special events continue throughout March and April with legendary designer, producer, cinephile agnes b. appearing with a series of her favorite films, including John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle and It’s a Gift! with WC Fields, Paul Auster in-person presenting Laurel and Hardy two-reelers in 35mm and reading from his new novel 4 3 2 1 and an evening featuring a selection of the best of recent short films, presented by MEMORY and Le Cinema Club, including work by Zia Anger the debut film by Sophie Savides.***