By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Of course, aficionados of experimental cinema in New York don't have to make do with the Biennial to get their visionary fix: Institutions like Anthology (32 Second Avenue, 212-864-1760) and MOMA (11 West 53rd Street, 212-708-9400) serve it up year-round. Spring highlights at Anthology include an all-April tribute to one-man film lab BB Optics, run by filmmaker Bill Brand; the series includes films restored or otherwise tweaked by Brand, ranging from works by Saul Levine, Amy Taubin, and Bradley Eros to a collection of Super 8 films by Nixon's White House staff, confiscated by the FBI in 1973. Anthology also hosts a program of new video art from Shanghai and Beijing (May 1921). Notable Anthology one-off shows include new work by auto-portraitist identity-shifter Shannon Plumb (April 1) and a selection of films by and featuring Buster Keatonesque performer Stuart Sherman (April 2). Meanwhile, MOMA offers an expansive memorial tribute to video art pioneer Nam June Paik (May 122), and the world premiere of Marcel Dzama's short The Lotus Eaters (April 22). Gaining white cube notoriety for his spooky-twee ink drawings, Dzama makes films in the neo-antique vein of fellow Winnipegger Guy Maddin; also screening is Dzama's Spike Jonze collaboration Sad Ghost. The tail end of May brings MOMA's massive Tommorrowland (May 25August 31), a series devoted to the students and faculty of CalArts' film and video program, whose work often evinces a scrappy materialism and soulful sense of landscape, including redoubtable experimentalists Deborah Stratman, Travis Wilkerson, and Naomi Uman, as well as a slew of enticing lesser-knowns.
Beyond the institutions, spring brings a number of promising gallery shows and micro-cinematic screenings displaying the work of a younger generation. Williamsburg's Ocularis (70 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, 718-388-8713) programs a one-woman show (March 20) by Texas hotshot Eileen Maxson, a transmedia Cindy Sherman for the MySpace generation; Foxy Production (617 West 27th Street, 212-239-2758) premieres new videos by Michael Bell-Smith that play with '80s video games and '90s pop (April 27May 27); and John Connolly Presents (625 West 27th Street, 212-337-9563) installs a neo-psychedelic work by former Forcefield clanner Ara Peterson (April 1May 6). Art space Participant Inc (95 Rivington, 212-254-4334) mounts "Xanadu" (April 9May 14), a four-channel installation by Robert Boyd, remixing apocalyptic footage of the Mansons, Heaven's Gate, and other bits of suicide, homicide, and genocide. Sounds like something Hollywood Babylon author Kenneth Anger might be heading downtown to check out when he's in New York.
A selective preview compiled and written by Leo Goldsmith, Pete L'Official, Jaime Mastromonica, Matt Singer, and Drew Tillman.
Don't Come Knocking
Wim Wenders's latest Teutonic reading of the American West re-teams him with writer-star Sam Shepard for the first time since their 1984 masterpiece, Paris, Texas. Touting a soundtrack featuring guitarist Marc Ribot (filling in for Ry Cooder), Don't Come Knocking follows a Broken Flowers premise that fits snugly with Wenders's theme of lusty men on the road to ruin (and back).
Find Me Guilty
Vin Diesel (now with 50 percent more hair!) stars in this true story of a gangster who refuses to turn state's evidence and acts as his own attorney at trial. The film is directed by the prodigiously litigious Sidney Lumet; he's made four films and one television series about lawyers and the law since 1990.
Thank You for Smoking
Jason Reitman (son of Ivan) makes his feature debut with a funny if glib satire of the big tobacco lobby. A stellar cast (Aaron Eckhart, Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Maria Bello, and more) should make this adaptation of Christopher Buckley's novel worth a look.