Mon

7/23

Tue

7/24

Wed

7/25

Thu

7/26

Fri

7/27

Sat

7/28

Sun

7/29

Today

Mon

7/23

Film

The Living Idol

Photo: Cohen Film Collection

An uncredited repurposing of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, with the action shifted to the pre-Columbian archeological sites at the Mexican pyramids, the sixth of six films by the preternaturally sophisticated and erudite American writer-director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Moon and Sixpence) suffers from most of the usual balderdash that hindered CinemaScope travelogue pictures of every stripe. There are one or two unproven young actors; camera placement certainty reset to zero thanks to the new formats; and a vague malaise in the production’s unity that executives sought to resolve with barrels of cash. (The more things change, etc.) All five of Lewin’s other movies are stronger by orders of magnitude, but The Living Idol, which Lewin scripted from his own novel, is every bit their equal for mystery and learned solidity. Very much worth your while.

—Jaime N. Christley

Film

Dance on Camera Festival

A co-production of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Dance Films Association, this year’s festival — its namesake’s 46th — offers sixteen programs encompassing ambitious features and quirky shorts from seventeen countries. In addition to the programs at the giant Walter Reade Theater, free screenings and discussions take place in the FSLC’s Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center Amphitheater across the street. Grab an all-access pass, another discount package, or single tickets and enjoy the comfy, commercial-free cinema environs.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Tue

7/24

Film

McCabe and Mrs. Miller

Photo: Photofest

Robert Altman’s languid western McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) forsakes the gunfire and action theatrics typical of the genre in favor of somber grappling with the economics of the American Dream. Altman understood that constructing the West meant building it from the ground up, and with that came the mundane problems of the everyday. McCabe and Mrs. Miller finds its poetry in the quotidian images of Altman and the late cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond; shot with snowy, stately elegance and loaded with unspeakably beautiful images, the town that John McCabe (Warren Beatty) and others are constructing appears at once organic and otherworldly. It feels like it is being raised, heroically, up from the earth itself, and the workers expect their fair share and a chance to thrive for their hard labor. They achieve these things for some time, but, as in most every story about capitalism, there’s always a bigger predator waiting and willing to swallow up anything meeker in hopes of more power and capital. Altman’s West looks at the smaller man and how he tries to survive in spite of this harsh knowledge.

Willow Maclay

Film

Dance on Camera Festival

A co-production of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Dance Films Association, this year’s festival — its namesake’s 46th — offers sixteen programs encompassing ambitious features and quirky shorts from seventeen countries. In addition to the programs at the giant Walter Reade Theater, free screenings and discussions take place in the FSLC’s Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center Amphitheater across the street. Grab an all-access pass, another discount package, or single tickets and enjoy the comfy, commercial-free cinema environs.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Film

The Living Idol

An uncredited repurposing of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, with the action shifted to the pre-Columbian archeological sites at the Mexican pyramids, the sixth of six films by the preternaturally sophisticated and erudite American writer-director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Moon and Sixpence) suffers from most of the usual balderdash that hindered CinemaScope travelogue pictures of every stripe. There are one or two unproven young actors; camera placement certainty reset to zero thanks to the new formats; and a vague malaise in the production’s unity that executives sought to resolve with barrels of cash. (The more things change, etc.) All five of Lewin’s other movies are stronger by orders of magnitude, but The Living Idol, which Lewin scripted from his own novel, is every bit their equal for mystery and learned solidity. Very much worth your while.

—Jaime N. Christley

Wed

7/25

Film

Mabel Normand Program

Photo: Still from "Mabel's Blunder" (1914) / Kino Lorber

During the early-Hollywood era, slapstick comedy and western two-reelers were the genres du jour, each allowing for the affordable recycling of sets, props, and costumes — not to mention talent. Chief among those talents was Mabel Normand, Mack Sennett’s slapstick queen. She was a beloved star, sometimes regarded as the female Chaplin for her pratfalling charms. Normand was fiercely independent and notoriously foulmouthed, a hard-living flapper girl whose reputation would later take a serious dive when she was (most believe falsely) implicated in the 1922 murder of William Desmond Taylor. At BAM, a series of films where the comedian directed herself will be screening — including one in which she appears alongside the fledgling Chaplin, entitled Caught in a Cabaret (1914).

—Christina Newland

TV

Castle Rock

From producer J.J. Abrams and Your Scary-Time TV Dad Stephen King comes this spooky-scary show set in one of the author’s beloved terrifying fictional Maine towns. Essentially, the place is possessed by a dark spirit — à la the ship in Event Horizon, the scariest fucking movie in the world. At least outside of Return to Oz and The Care Bears Movie. The only hope for any of these people is to move the fuck out of their town but they never will and so they’re all destined to live in fear and die horrific deaths. I don’t know; the times might be too dark for this show right now, seeing as how the president and his party are trying to Event Horizon us all. But maybe you like to go darker to get to the light. You gotta do you.

Laura Beck

Film

The Living Idol

An uncredited repurposing of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, with the action shifted to the pre-Columbian archeological sites at the Mexican pyramids, the sixth of six films by the preternaturally sophisticated and erudite American writer-director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Moon and Sixpence) suffers from most of the usual balderdash that hindered CinemaScope travelogue pictures of every stripe. There are one or two unproven young actors; camera placement certainty reset to zero thanks to the new formats; and a vague malaise in the production’s unity that executives sought to resolve with barrels of cash. (The more things change, etc.) All five of Lewin’s other movies are stronger by orders of magnitude, but The Living Idol, which Lewin scripted from his own novel, is every bit their equal for mystery and learned solidity. Very much worth your while.

—Jaime N. Christley

Film

Kushina, what will you be

The winner of the Japan Cuts Award at this year’s Osaka Film Festival, Moët Hayami’s poetic debut is an intimate story of mothers and daughters whose future rests on a knife-edge. Hayami’s vivid tale is set in an isolationist village of aging women escaping the sorrows of modernity. That is, except for preteen Kushina (Ikumi Satake), who was born in the forested community and has never ventured beyond its surrounding rivers. Kushina’s only connection to the outside world is her mother’s Walkman. Everything changes when detached anthropologist Soko (Yayoi Inamoto) and her male assistant, Keita (Suguru Onuma), stumble upon the arresting haven, bringing with them both curiosity and complications. Soko grows fond of Kushina, shedding her clinical approach and discovering the beauty at the core of her field. But the male presence Soko brings intrudes upon this separatist paradise, crafted carefully over decades, thus locking Kushina’s mother, Kagu (Tomona Hirota), and grandmother, Onikuma (Miyuki Ono), the community’s matriarch, in a riveting generational debate over the girl’s future.

—Siddhant Adlakha

Thu

7/26

Music

Daniel Norgren

Photo: Anders Engstrom

Swedish folk progressive Daniel Norgren has parlayed his idiosyncratic version of Americana into serious European box office. Where Kerosene Dreams, his 2007 debut, sounded like a young man’s reinterpretation of Tom Waits, his most recent album, The Green Stone, is all moody vibrations sometimes reminiscent of Daniel Lanois and Bon Iver. Norgren does a lot of things well. Accompanied by bassist Anders Grahn and drummer Erik Berntsson, he plays traditional Swedish folk on accordion, croons romantic folk songs over melancholy drones, and bashes out distorted blues solos on electric guitar. Norgren’s reserved affect — he manages himself from the tiny rural town where he resides with his family — and obvious affection for our nation’s glorious folk tradition makes him just about as compelling a singer-songwriter as you’d want to hear. This Is the Kit, a/k/a the esoterically inclined singer-songwriter Kate Stables, opens.

Richard Gehr

Film

The Living Idol

An uncredited repurposing of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, with the action shifted to the pre-Columbian archeological sites at the Mexican pyramids, the sixth of six films by the preternaturally sophisticated and erudite American writer-director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Moon and Sixpence) suffers from most of the usual balderdash that hindered CinemaScope travelogue pictures of every stripe. There are one or two unproven young actors; camera placement certainty reset to zero thanks to the new formats; and a vague malaise in the production’s unity that executives sought to resolve with barrels of cash. (The more things change, etc.) All five of Lewin’s other movies are stronger by orders of magnitude, but The Living Idol, which Lewin scripted from his own novel, is every bit their equal for mystery and learned solidity. Very much worth your while.

—Jaime N. Christley

Fri

7/27

Music

Tinariwen + Cheick Hamala Diabate

Photo: Tinariwen / Marie Planeille

Some forty years since their founding, the transcendent West African desert blues collective Tinariwen stir, in their LPs and concert performances, the heat and haze and sweeping expansiveness of the Sahara. Driven by traditional Tuareg melodies and percussion, and the barbed lead guitar lines of Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, the band is entrancing, meditative even, as it rocks, and while the lyrics (on 2017’s Elwan) bemoan a world gone mad. Don’t miss this if you still love guitars but haven’t been turned on in a while by what’s coming out of them stateside.

Alan Scherstuhl

Film

The Strange Case of Angelica

In 1964, long before his final, prevailing period of critical acclaim, the Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira made a scrappy, impatient short film called A Caça (The Hunt), in which two boys on a rural jaunt fall into quicksand, ultimately jeopardizing even their rescuers. Attentive fans of Oliveira will note that, for a director whose films might, to the casual observer, seem entombed in soft arthouse finery, his characters are always falling into one abyss or another. This was never more true than in this 2010 masterpiece, in which provincial photographer Isaac (Ricardo Trêpa) falls in love with the dead girl he’s been commissioned to photograph for the bereaved family. At once an immersive and serene fable set in a small town in the bucolic Douro Valley, The Strange Case of Angelica radiates with immediacy even as the photographer submits to the irresistible pull of his own private quagmire.

—Jaime N. Christley

Music

Hal Willner’s Amarcord Nino Rota

Nino Rota was as indispensable to director Federico Fellini as Bernard Hermann was to Alfred Hitchcock. Few have honored that relationship so memorably as young producer Hal Willner, whose radical 1980 jazz-pop reimagining of the Italian composer’s music, Amarcord Nino Rota, marked the first in a long series of Willner tributes focusing on inspired one-off collaborations. The man behind the curtain has enlisted trumpeter-arranger Steven Bernstein to direct a remarkable convocation featuring keyboardists Karen Mantler and Steve Weisberg, vocalists Joseph Arthur and Jennifer Charles, and too many other great musicians to mention — although Douglas Wieselman (woodwinds), Marty Ehrlich (flute), Marika Hughes (cello), and Gary Lucas (guitar) loom large among them. They’ll play the whimsical and carnivalesque Amarcord Nino Rota in its entirety after delving into Rota’s music for the first two Godfather films.

Richard Gehr

Performance

Boylesque Bullfight

For ten years, Austin McCormick’s peripatetic baroque-burlesque ensemble Company XIV has mounted stunning, raunchy versions of popular fairy tales and Petipa ballets. This summer, it offers an ingenious original piece, Boylesque Bullfight, in its own Brooklyn cabaret space. Eight shapely men, attired in little more than jeweled codpieces, corsets, and horned helmets, bring us a jaw-dropping version of Munro Leaf’s 1936 nursery story of Ferdinand, the bull who never learned to fight. The action comes ornamented with soprano Marcy Richardson singing arias from Bizet’s Carmen and a delightful playlist including Tom Waits, Yma Sumac, Gloria Gaynor, and tango tunes. A man-size honeybee rocks point shoes; the very talented performers work out on poles, spiral in Spanish dance styles with lace mantillas and fans, and climax, under a rain of glitter, in a kick-line wearing fake breasts. A blast for all is just about guaranteed.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Sat

7/28

Music

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind   + Kaki King Featuring Treya Lam

Photo: © 1984 Studio Ghibli –– H

Nausicaä is not my absolute favorite Hayao Miyazaki film — the plot is a bit of a jumble, and there’s a lot of swordplay if you’re expecting the sweet sadness of a My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki’s Delivery Service — but that doesn’t mean it’s not glorious in its own right. There are heroes and antiheroes and flying machines and the most memorable giant insects you’ll ever see on film, and it will all look amazing on a big screen. As will Kaki King, no doubt, who doubles as the city’s most inventive guitarist and the city’s most inventive projection screen (see YouTube).

—Neil deMause

Performance

Boylesque Bullfight

For ten years, Austin McCormick’s peripatetic baroque-burlesque ensemble Company XIV has mounted stunning, raunchy versions of popular fairy tales and Petipa ballets. This summer, it offers an ingenious original piece, Boylesque Bullfight, in its own Brooklyn cabaret space. Eight shapely men, attired in little more than jeweled codpieces, corsets, and horned helmets, bring us a jaw-dropping version of Munro Leaf’s 1936 nursery story of Ferdinand, the bull who never learned to fight. The action comes ornamented with soprano Marcy Richardson singing arias from Bizet’s Carmen and a delightful playlist including Tom Waits, Yma Sumac, Gloria Gaynor, and tango tunes. A man-size honeybee rocks point shoes; the very talented performers work out on poles, spiral in Spanish dance styles with lace mantillas and fans, and climax, under a rain of glitter, in a kick-line wearing fake breasts. A blast for all is just about guaranteed.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Sun

7/29

Film

Amiko

Photo: © Yoko Yamanaka

Shot with the manic verve of an amateur travel vlog, twenty-year-old Yoko Yamanaka’s surreal debut captures the unspoken, often inarticulable facets of modern youth. High schooler Amiko (Aira Sunohara) exists in a perpetual state of detachment — an attitude that swings rapidly in the opposite direction when she falls for aloof Radiohead fan Aomi (Hiroto Oshita) after a single conversation. But once Aomi pursues a girl more sociable and in tune with the naked sincerity of popular culture, Amiko begins drifting aimlessly through her school year, while casually stalking the budding couple on social media — an obsession that eventually gives her purpose and spills over into the “real world.” In a mere 66 minutes, Yamanaka takes us on a media-saturated journey without resorting to shots of screens to deliver emotional information. Instead, she crafts the world as she sees it, with social media acting less as disruptive catalyst and more as a matter-of-fact avenue through which teenhood’s messy, volatile contradictions unfold.

—Siddhant Adlakha

Music

Free Press Benefit Party

In 2012, the Grateful Dead songwriter John Perry Barlow co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation, dedicated to “helping support and defend public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government.” An excellent new album benefiting the organization, Freedom of the Press, connects both Barlow’s activist and musical legacies with some of the best new crooners, twangers, jammers, and singer-songwriters from the East Coast crypto-Deadhead underground. Three of those acts appear at Sunday’s Free Press Benefit Party: twelve-string acoustic guitarist Jesse Sheppard and electric guitarist Drew Gardner are Elkhorn, part of a burgeoning, weird New York school of improvisational grandeur; Garcia Peoples’ Cosmic Cash splits the difference between West Coast psychedelic classicism and mid-Nineties preppie-stoner magnificence; and Hans Chew combines Tennessee Jedi songwriting with jams reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane.

Richard Gehr

Film

Hanagatami

Nobuhiko Obayashi continues his streak of exploring Japan’s responsibility in times of war and disaster with the phantasmagoric epic Hanagatami, a film he began writing prior to his 1977 cult classic, Hausu. He brings with him much of the cast of Seven Weeks (Japan Cuts 2015), exchanging that movie’s post–3-11 musings for a World War II setting. The year is 1937. As the Second Sino-Japanese War looms, the tiny pacific town of Karatsu plays host to Obayashi’s meditative incest-themed melodrama, lit and shot like low-budget television for jarring effect. Green-screen backdrops obscure the relationship between the actors and their surroundings; harsh theatrical lighting and soap opera–like rapid editing magnify the weight of every withheld word, as young adults attempt to live life to the fullest in the face of certain doom. It’s ultimately a cautionary plea to avoid the perils of the past, in the form of an auteurist fever dream.

—Siddhant Adlakha

Performance

Boylesque Bullfight

For ten years, Austin McCormick’s peripatetic baroque-burlesque ensemble Company XIV has mounted stunning, raunchy versions of popular fairy tales and Petipa ballets. This summer, it offers an ingenious original piece, Boylesque Bullfight, in its own Brooklyn cabaret space. Eight shapely men, attired in little more than jeweled codpieces, corsets, and horned helmets, bring us a jaw-dropping version of Munro Leaf’s 1936 nursery story of Ferdinand, the bull who never learned to fight. The action comes ornamented with soprano Marcy Richardson singing arias from Bizet’s Carmen and a delightful playlist including Tom Waits, Yma Sumac, Gloria Gaynor, and tango tunes. A man-size honeybee rocks point shoes; the very talented performers work out on poles, spiral in Spanish dance styles with lace mantillas and fans, and climax, under a rain of glitter, in a kick-line wearing fake breasts. A blast for all is just about guaranteed.

Elizabeth Zimmer