Never mind if the fall’s new releases look a little spotty—the city’s repertory houses are preparing for an abundant season, and in most cases, turning Japanese. Nipponophiles could not ask for more: Two big retros—MOMA’s “Anime!!” and Film Forum’s “Summer Samurai”—continue through mid September, and the fall promises nothing less than a history of Japanese cinema. With more than 50 films spanning four decades, MOMA’s five-month-long “Early Autumn” (September 14 through January) presents Kurosawa, Oshima, and Ozu classics alongside the work of overlooked (and barely known in the West) directors like Heinosuke Gosho and Hiroshi Shimizu; all are new prints from the National Film Center of Tokyo’s National Museum of Modern Art. The New York Film Festival devotes an extensive sidebar to the Shochiku Company (September 24 through October 20) on the occasion of the film studio’s 110th anniversary; selections range from the 1921 silent Souls on the Road to Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Ozu homage Café Lumiére. And two seriously under-retro’d Japanese masters also get their due: Mikio Naruse at Film Forum (October 21 through November 17) and Kenji Mizoguchi at BAM (October 31 through November 22).
Bressonites have had a fine year with new-to-DVD titles from Criterion and New Yorker; Film Forum caps it off with new-print runs of Pickpocket (October 7 through 13) and Mouchette (October 14 through 20). New product from various national cinemas are represented at annual showcases: the Spanish at the Walter Reade (December 9 through 27), the Germans at MOMA (October/November), the Czechs at BAM (November 3 through 6). The Walter Reade also ambitiously takes on “100 Years of Chinese Cinema” (October 21 through November 10). Isabelle Huppert and Gena Rowlands, two of the greatest actresses movies have known, are f at MOMA (October 17 through November 23) and BAM (October 10 through 20), respectively. The “Unseen Cinema” program of pre-war American avant-garde film returns, this time to the Museum of the Moving Image (October 15 through 16). The Pioneer stages an all-out month of horror in October, supplementing first-run scares with vintage Argento, a zombie sidebar, and a vampire all-nighter (discounted concessions for those who have recently donated blood). And there’s also room for a couple of old masters: A complete Billy Wilder retro begins next week at the Moving Image (September 10 through November 13), and just in time for Christmas (December 9 through January 12), Film Forum counterprograms the Oscar-baiting bloat with a 36-film career-spanning Hitchcock series.