Living on the Edge
Multicultural and multisensory, this series of outdoor screenings, set in a sculpture garden in Long Island City and catered by local restaurants, celebrates Queens as a microcosm of our global community. The sumptuous ethnic tapestry of this underrated borough will be represented over the course of six summer evenings with film selections (curated by Ocularis) from Italy, Brazil, Greece, Mexico, three African countries, and India. Shorts by New Yorkbased directors with immigrant roots (like Martin Scorsese) will precede each screening.
The series opens with Love and Anarchy (1973), a typically hysterical tale from Italian director Lina Wertmuller, involving a peasant (Giancarlo Giannini), a brothel, and a plot to assassinate Mussolini. Marcel Camus's classic Black Orpheus (1959), screening July 21, transposes the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to a Rio de Janeiro slum during Carnival; it may be more French than Brazilian, but its vibrant '50s primitivism is irresistible. I'm not a big fan of Theo Angelopolus, but the July 28 open-air projection of his Landscape in the Mist (1988), against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, should highlight the Greek director's spectacular visual poetry. On August 4, Mara Candelaria (1943), a romantic Mexican melodrama by Emilio "el indio" Fernandez, will showcase the talents of the inimitable Dolores del Rio. Three short films by lesser-known contemporary directors from Burkina Faso, Chad, and Congo play on August 11. And if you're dying to get out of town, but can only afford the subway, your surest bet is the August 18 screening of Pather Panchali (1955), director Satyajit Ray's legendary debut feature about a little Bengali boy's impoverished Brahmin family. With the odor of saffron wafting through the sweltering air and a lively subcontinental crowd, it's likely to offer a bit of Bombay in Astoria.
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