Fall Arts Guide 2012: Film
Pulpy, stylish, and often erotically charged, the blood-soaked Italian thrillers of the giallo genre (a precursor to our "body count" slashers, circa 1963 to 1982—Suspiria director Dario Argento's still-active career notwithstanding) are given 35mm respect in Anthology's 10-feature curation. Among the highlights are Argento's debut, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, Sergio Martino's The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling, and two by giallo godfather Mario Bava: The Girl Who Knew Too Much and Blood and Black Lace. Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, anthologyfilmarchives.org
50th New York Film Festival
September 28–October 14
NYFF is still looking dapper at 50, with new work from elegant masters like Michael Haneke (Amour, which won top honors at Cannes), Olivier Assayas (Something in the Air), Alain Resnais (You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!), and Abbas Kiarostami (Like Someone in Love). Opening night kicks off with Life of Pi—Ang Lee's CGI-enhanced adaptation of the spiritual shipwreck-survival bestseller—so be sure to toast champagne with that Bengal tiger at the gala premiere. The Film Society of Lincoln Center, West 65th and Broadway, filmlinc.com
Likely the first narrative feature to spring from the slow-food movement, co-directors Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin's likable, somberly offbeat ode to culinary self-reliance depicts a boho marriage disintegrating like sautéed garlic. Basque-American couple Lucien (Cortlund) and Regina (Tiffany Esteb) gather wild mushrooms from the unspoiled tristate woodlands to later flip at high-end NYC restaurants, but his off-the-grid economic rigidity starts to wear on her need for steadier income. Over the course of a tense year, the drama plays like Scenes From a Marriage for foodies. IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue, ifccenter.com
French-Swiss filmmaker Ursula Meier (Home) reteams with cinematographer extraordinaire Agnès Godard for this stunning tale of class warfare and moral ambiguity. Living meagerly in the valley below a luxury ski resort, a crafty urchin (Kacey Mottet Klein, seemingly escaped from a Dardenne brothers film) survives by stealing skis, equipment, and food from wealthy vacationers. But it's his problematic relationship with his older sis (Léa Seydoux)—a tactless, flighty, even more immature drifter—that gives this poetic drama its soulful, heartbreaking edge. Adopt Films, in limited release, adoptfilms.net
'New Queer Cinema'
Named for the progressive indie-film movement, BAMcinématek salutes LGBT fringe-dweller classics like Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho, Jennie Livingston's Paris Is Burning, and Cheryl Dunye's The Watermelon Woman. Must-sees include Bruce LaBruce's hardcore yet heartfelt debut, No Skin Off My Ass (once declared by Kurt Cobain to be his favorite film), and Cecilia Dougherty's 1989 short, Grapefruit, an all-female fractured reenactment of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono story. Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, bam.org
Woefully snubbed at Cannes for the Palme d'Or, Best Director, and Best Actor, Leos Carax's unholy odyssey into the dreamy marvels of cinema itself is an exhilarating hybrid of comedy, melodrama, science fiction, crime thriller, and musical romance. Impressively game for anything, Denis Lavant stars as a businessman who exits his limo for a dozen bizarre "appointments," each in a distinctive persona (bag woman, motion-capture stuntman, sewer-dwelling ogre). Wholly mysterious and impossibly lovely, this mad hatter's monsterpiece might be the best film of the year. Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, filmforum.org
After decades of legal battles, the whimsically inventive '60s comedies of the 83-year-old French actor, filmmaker, clown, and gag writer for Jacques Tati have finally been rescued. Inspired by Keaton, Chaplin, and the circus, Étaix's limber pantomime skills light up The Suitor, As Long As You're Healthy, Land of Milk and Honey, and Yoyo (here in a new 35mm print). From October 19 to 25, Film Forum presents the week-long NYC premiere of 1969's family-life farce Le Grand Amour, Étaix's final and most beloved feature. Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, filmforum.org
On their sketch-comedy series Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, co-creators Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim mined viewer discomfort for laughs, but musician-filmmaker Rick Alverson brilliantly recontextualizes their squirm-inducing abilities for this sad, stinging study of urban entitlement. An aging Williamsburg hipster (Heidecker) and his self-absorbed pals (including Wareheim and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy) waste time and half-jokingly abuse innocents out of misanthropic boredom, as if Lars Von Trier's The Idiots were stunted by trust funds and ironic dispassion. Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, bam.org
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