Aleksei German‘s Hard to Be a God is currently at Anthology Film Archives in New York and will screen from February 20 through 23 at Northwest Film Forum in Seattle. A few cities here and there follow, but for the rest of us, we’ll get to see it eventually, so you must see James Kang‘s collection of reviews at Critics Round Up. Linking to 26 pieces by top-notch writers, James figures the overall score to be 97/100.
“Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968-1986 (Film Society of Lincoln Center, Feb. 6-19) is more than just a cinematic feast; it’s a revelation,” declares the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody. “The film that opens the series, Kathleen Collins’s Losing Ground, from 1982, will play for a week, making up for the fact that it has never had a theatrical release. The movie is a nearly lost masterwork. It’s the only feature that Collins—who died in 1988, at the age of 46—made. Had it screened widely in its time, it would have marked film history.”
This “essential, assiduously researched series… assembles some of the most vital and groundbreaking cinema of the era, which is immediately evident in the show’s bookends,” writes Melissa Anderson in the Voice. “The first year of the retrospective’s date span saw the completion of William Greaves‘s endlessly revelatory and still unclassifiable Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One, while the last marked the release of Spike Lee’s saucy She’s Gotta Have It, not only a breakthrough for the director but one of the pillars of the American-independent movement of the 80s.”
Writing for Film Comment, Violet Lucca places the series within the context of independent black cinema beginning circa 1910.
Every Sunday this month, the Brooklyn Historical Society will present Brooklyn Boheme (2011). “Narrated and written by Fort Greene resident Nelson George, this feature length film celebrates the vibrant African American artistic community that thrived in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill during the 1980′s and 90′s. Through interviews with some of the legendary artists who called these neighborhoods home, including Spike Lee, Chris Rock, and more, we get an intimate glimpse into an inspiring and dynamic period in Brooklyn’s history.”
Charles Laughton “doesn’t so much star in a film as take up magisterial residency in it, at times filling the frame to bursting,” writes the Voice‘s Stephanie Zacharek. “That’s certainly true of his performance in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1939 Jamaica Inn, which plays in a crisply restored version at Film Forum on February 4, 5, 6, and 7 as part of a three-week Laughton festival.”
The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced that Benoît Jacquot‘s 3 Hearts will open the 20th anniversary edition of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema and unveiled a lineup of 22 features and four shorts.
Bay Area. The Pacific Film Archive will be screening work by Eric Baudelaire tonight and tomorrow; and the Kadist Art Foundation in San Francisco will present more work from Saturday through February 21.
Los Angeles. Tomorrow evening, Cinefamily will present Philippe Garrel’s Le Révélateur (1968) with a live score performed by Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler.
Kassel. “I didn’t expect Chopin at the start of a Paul Sharits exhibition,” writes Marc Siegel for Artforum. “Nineteenth-century Polish Romanticism was simply not what I had associated with the work of the American artist, best known for the jarring yet hypnotic 16-mm films of flickering color from the 1960s, such as Ray Gun Virus (1966), T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (1968), and N:O:T:H:I:N:G (1968). It soon became evident, however, that Sharits’s work on paper Transcription, 1975/1990, a humble, hand-colored screen print of the first page of Chopin’s Étude in C major, op. 10, which hangs alone in the center of a large white wall installed in the exhibition’s spacious first room, aptly introduces this focused and fascinating survey at the Fridericianum in Kassel.” Paul Sharits: A Retrospective is on view through February 22.