William S. Hart was hardly the first Hollywood cowboy but, achieving stardom in 1915 (the same year as Chaplin), he was the original good bad-guy—the first screen icon to appear in unsentimental westerns that raised tricky moral and historical issues. Film historians Diane and Richard Koszarski, who curated the Museum of the Moving Image William S. Hart Retrospective (New York’s first), compare Hart to Peckinpah and Eastwood; Hell’s Hinges (1916), which opens the series on Saturday, has an Old Testament reckoning that anticipated by 67 years that of Eastwood’s brutal High Plains Drifter. The opening day also includes Hart’s Aztec western, The Captive God (1916), and the American premiere of a 35mm Library of Congress restoration of his first feature, The Bargain (1914). Sunday’s shows include The Return of Draw Egan (1916) and The Narrow Trail (1917), described as Hart’s tribute to his pinto pony Fritz. The retro continues with Hart’s proto Wild Bunch, The Toll Gate, and ends with Tumbleweeds. All films will be presented with live musical accompaniment.
April 21 through May 6, MOMI.
Also: MOMA’s 11-film India Now series of new features opens with the most controversial of recent subcontinental releases: An English-language film, Parzania tells the story of a lost child in the context of the anti-Muslim pogrom organized by Hindu nationalist fanatics five years ago in Gujarat. L.A.-based director Rahul Dholakia will be on hand to introduce the first screening. Other films include the cricket exposé Shoonya, the muckraking crime documentary A Cry in the Dark, and a Bollywood version of
Othello, Omkara. April 22–30, MOMA.
Avant-garde musicians embrace avant-garde movies—some by the greats, Robert Breer, Maya Deren, and Marie Menken—playing original scores for gamba, theremin, and oscilloscope (not necessarily together) at the Film-Makers’ Coop 3rd Annual Benefit. Philip Glass will perform to Harry Smith’s Early Abstractions; the Bill Frisell Trio is accompanying The Mesmerist, Bill Morrison’s reconfiguration of a 1926 silent feature, and Jonas Mekas will be singing along with his own Now We Are Here. April 23, 7 p.m., Angel Orensanz Center, 172 Norfolk Street.
Distinguished journalist Pico Iyer converses with legendary director Martin Scorsese about Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama as part of the Rubin Museum of Art’s current show
The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama. April 23, 7 p.m., 150 W.17th Street.
He worked with Hitchcock (twice), as well as Nick Ray, Anthony Mann, and Luchino Visconti, and acted opposite Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, and Alida Valli. Now Farley Granger has a memoir, Include Me Out, which he will discuss and sign at An Evening with Farley Granger. April 23, 8 p.m., Film Forum.