We begin in New York, where Film Forum’s Jacques Demy retrospective is on through October 17. “Though artfully contrived, there’s nothing shallow about Demy’s universe,” writes John Oursler in the Voice. “The program showcases all 14 of his feature films (10 in new restorations), a collection of four rare shorts, and three films from Demy’s widow, director Agnès Varda, on her husband’s style and legacy.”
“Along with Frank Borzage, Demy is the most romantic of film directors,” declares Dan Callahan in the Chiseler. “The run of famous features Demy made in the 1960s, from Lola (1961) to Bay of Angels (1963) to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) to The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), are miraculously balanced and assured tributes to luck and to the most heedless and impossibly grand romantic ideals. They tell their stories through music (by Michel Legrand) and movement. They are simultaneously frivolous and deep, glorifying the heartfelt posturing of women like Anouk Aimée, Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve and Danielle Darrieux while shyly adoring dark-haired, severe-faced men like Marc Michel, Claude Mann, Nino Castelnuovo and Jean-Louis Trintignant (the way Demy’s camera advances on Trintignant at the end of his short La Luxure  is an uninhibited come-on and tribute to Trintignant’s sly beauty). When I interviewed Moreau, she said that as a director Demy was ‘very light yet very demanding,’ and that could also be said of his films themselves.”
You might remember that BAMcinématek staged a robust retrospective of the work of John Cassavetes this summer. Now, in a series entitled, appropriately enough, Cassavetes Redux, they’re screening five of his features, all 35mm prints. “Unlike the movies of many contemporary independents, Cassavetes’s work isn’t centered on the ambitions of youth,” writes Richard Brody in the New Yorker. “Cassavetes, who was born in 1929, made films about his own generation and its conflicts: middle-aged people whose struggle for success, or even for survival, leaves them scarred and furious.” In a followup blog entry, Brody adds: “Perhaps no modern filmmaker has proven as inspirational or as liberating, yet his harsh and implacable methods, messages, and performers have no correlate in the work of younger directors. The world that he filmed was already a sort of revival from out of the past; the destructive force of the ruthless emotional storms that he unleashed now appears more clearly than their creative power.”
“On exhibit through November 3, 2013 at the Museum of the Moving Image, Single Stream is a new video and sound installation created by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Paweł Wojtasik and Toby Lee, and Boston-based sound artist Ernst Karel,” writes Chi-hui Yang, introducing an interview with the artists for the Brooklyn Rail. “An inquiry into ideas of material transformation, time, and waste, Single Stream is a massive work that throws a 50’ × 8′ image onto MoMI’s panoramic lobby canvas–a space uniquely designed for large-scale video installation, curated by Rachael Rakes and Jason Eppink.”
Irish Film New York is on through the weekend.
Los Angeles. “No one could capture the lives of women, of children, of the workaday world with such simple gravity, such emollience,” writes Peter Rainer of Satyajit Ray in the Times. “He was the most sensual of directors and yet he had the most plangent comprehension of the human comedy. He was more than a humanist: What lights his movies from within is the belief that human beings are sacred. Two of his greatest are ahead at the Aero: The Apu Trilogy on Oct. 6, and on Oct. 10 the three-part Three Daughters, the first of which, The Postmaster, is as beautiful as anything by Chaplin, Ray’s idol.”
German Currents 2013: Festival of German Film is on through Monday at the Egyptian Theatre.
Mill Valley. The 36th MVFF is on through October 13, “and as usual,” writes Michael Hawley, “the parade of A-list actors and directors scheduled to walk its red carpet outshines all other Northern California flick fests combined.” He offers “a biased overview of this year’s line-up, plus thoughts on seven films I previewed via DVD screener.” And the Bay Guardian has capsule reviews of nine features.
San Francisco. The Film Society is highlighting Hong Kong Cinema through tomorrow, and in Film International, Janine Gericke has a brief overview of the program.