New York. “Revenge is ladled up hot and cold by the inflamed distaff protagonists in BAMcinématek’s Vengeance Is Hers series, yet another ingenious program from the Kings County repertory redoubt,” writes Melissa Anderson in the Voice. “Co-curated by BAM’s Nellie Killian and Light Industry’s Thomas Beard, this invigorating 20-film retrospective (17 features, three shorts) spans genres, continents, and decades. Highlighting work made between the 1940s and the early 2000s, this showcase proves the inexhaustible appeal of female rage, of watching XX intifadists rise up.”
The series runs from Friday through February 18 and, at the L, Aaron Cutler recommends catching the new restoration of Pasolini‘s Medea (1959) with Maria Callas on Friday and Dan Sullivan writes up Rivette‘s Secret Defense (1998) with Sandrine Bonnaire, screening on Monday.
For BOMB, Gaspar Noé talks with Matthew Barney about the latter’s River of Fundament, which screens at BAM’s Harvey Theater from February 12 through 16. BAM’s Susan Yung: “While its breadth and multiple layers resist summary, the film keys off of Norman Mailer’s sprawling Egyptian novel from 1983, Ancient Evenings—the myth of Osiris and its implications of succession and the afterlife, and the seven states of passage from life to death. Barney doesn’t trace a narrative line, rather seizing on certain images and motifs, tapping Mailer’s book ‘as a text that I can distill narrative objects from.'”
Godard‘s Alphaville (1965) opens for a week-long run at Film Forum on Friday. “No introduction to this subterranean lark should be required (in my world, you shouldn’t be able to graduate high school without seeing it),” writes Michael Atkinson at Sundance Now, “but looking at it again, it’s ever more clearly a genre-art-film lab explosion: equal parts referential film noir, dystopian sci-fi, Godardian self-referentiality, unstable espionage thriller, genre satire, Melvillian-Beckettian existentialism, meditation on proto-semiotic ‘rupture,’ and so on. Still, the miraculous thing about Alphaville is how it mediates the tension between its radical postmod aesthetic approach and its genre elements.” More from Elina Mishuris (L) and Keith Uhlich (Time Out, 4/5).
Brian Brooks: “This year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema will open March 6 with Emmanuelle Bercot‘s On My Way (Elle s’en va) with star Catherine Deneuve in person and will close March 16 with Bertrand Tavernier‘s The French Minister (Quai d’Orsay). In all, the 19th Rendez-Vous, presented by Film Society and Unifrance, will showcase 24 features making their North American, U.S. or New York premieres.”
Los Angeles. Far From Beijing: The State of Independent Chinese Cinema is a program of two documentaries at REDCAT, Zhu Rikun‘s The Questioning and J.P. Sniadecki’s Yumen, both shot last year.
Philadelphia. On Saturday, J. Hoberman will introduce a screening of Dušan Makavejev’s WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971), “an incendiary, radical argument for global sexual liberation,” at the International House.
Bay Area. “Today [Anthony] Mann is probably best regarded for the series of Westerns he made in the 1950s, many starring a more tormented, less aw-shucksy James Stewart,” writes Dennis Harvey. “They’ve tended to overshadow the film noirs that in turn preceded them. The Pacific Film Archive is doing its bit to correct that imbalance with Against the Law: The Crime Films of Anthony Mann, a three-week retrospective spanning a brief but busy period from 1946 to 1950.” Friday through February 28.
Also in the Bay Guardian, Cheryl Eddy: “San Francisco IndieFest celebrates its Super Sweet 16 with multiple films presenting an appropriately teenage outlook on humanity: Most of the time, people suck. They suck in ways you expect, ways you don’t expect, and ways you should have expected but chose not to, for your own sucky reasons.” Tomorrow through February 20.
Vienna. Two retrospectives open at the Austrian Film Museum on Friday and run through March 5, Kinuyo Tanaka and Kenji Mizoguchi.
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