Today, the New York Film Festival is officially upon us. And as with every year, that means that not only will Big Apple dwellers have a chance to feast upon the very best of the latest major international works of cinema (this year’s main slate includes new work from the Dardenne brothers, Aki Kaurismäki, Steve McQueen, Jafar Panahi, Lars von Trier, Wim Wenders, and many more), but they’ll also be treated to sidebar events featuring classic films on the big screen. A major series in the 2011 edition is Velvet Bullets and Steel Kisses: Celebrating the Nikkatsu Centennial, a tribute to the renegade Japanese studio’s output from the fifties to today. For the next two weeks, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s new Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center will be the site of a stream of seductive and sensational Nikkatsu flicks; this week’s selections include Seijun Suzuki’s Gate of Flesh (October 2), Kô Nakahira’s Crazed Fruit (October 6), and Kon Ichikawa’s The Burmese Harp (October 6). Also, the festival pays tribute to Sony Pictures Classics with a special screening of James Ivory’s magnificent Howards End (October 6).
Just because the big festival is going on doesn’t mean that the rest of New York’s movie houses are going on break. The Museum of Modern Art recalls World War II with Andrzej Wajda’s A Generation (September 30) and Roberto Rossellini’s Paisan (October 5 and 6). Anthology Film Archives gets back to some essentials with Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible, Part I and Part II (September 30) and Jean Cocteau’s The Blood of a Poet (October 1), Beauty and the Beast (October 1 and 2), Orpheus (October 1 and 2), and Testament of Orpheus (October 2). A new print of Peter Bogdanovich’s elegiac The Last Picture Show gets a weeklong run at Film Forum (September 30–October 6). And Erle C. Kenton’s mad, mad monster movie Island of Lost Souls roars into 92Y Tribeca (October 4).
Angelenos can also dig the magic makeup effects of Island of Lost Souls, when it plays at the Egyptian Theatre (October 6) with special guest John Landis. The CSUN Cinematheque in Northridge, California, gives Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai a spin (October 6). And farther north in California, Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive waves the flag for Leo Hurwitz and Paul Strand’s unique documentary-fiction hybrid Native Land (October 2). One last West Coast screening: Jacques Tati’s Playtime, its wit writ large at the Seattle Cinerama (October 6) as part of the theater’s 70mm Film Festival.
Heading back east: Kurosawa’s High and Low lands at the Salt Lake Film Society (October 2), and his Rashomon bobs and weaves at the Dairy Center for the Arts’ Boedecker Theater in Boulder (October 2). Robert Hamer’s deliciously wicked Kind Hearts and Coronets delights at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (October 2), while the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin goes extraterrestrial with Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth (September 30–October 3) and gets extra chatty with Louis Malle’s My Dinner with André (October 5). Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused takes a slow ride to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (October 1), while Preston Sturges’s The Lady Eve docks at the same city’s Heights Theatre (October 3). Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol tumbles into Tivoli Cinemas in Kansas City, Missouri (October 4). The Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago brings a tear to viewers’ eyes with Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (October 4). The Man Who Fell to Earth beams into Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre (September 30–October 6), while the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art shines a light on Claude Chabrol’s stunning debut, Le beau Serge (October 2). The Indiana University Cinema introduces Bloomingtonians to the work of Pedro Costa, starting with Ossos (October 6). One of Costa’s spiritual predecessors, Robert Bresson, brings some grace to the Cleveland Institute of Art with Diary of a Country Priest (September 30 and October 1). The Man Who Fell to Earth materializes yet again at the Mos’Art Theatre in Lake Park, Florida (September 30–October 6)—and there’s more alienation in that state: Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert at the Miami Beach Cinematheque (October 5).
Up in Pennsylvania, the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville visits with the Beales for the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens (October 2); Pittsburgh’s Regent Square Theater runs away with Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (October 2); and Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire haunts both the Ambler Theater (October 4) and Doylestown’s County Theater (October 5). Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind brings some color to Colgate University’s Friday Night 35mm Film Series in Hamilton, New York (September 30). And speaking of color: Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard dazzles at the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, Massachusetts (September 30). A couple of final North American movie dates: Hoop Dreams, with director Steve James in person, at Toronto’s TIFF Lightbox (October 6) and Claire Denis’ White Material at the Cineteca Nacional de México in Mexico City (September 30–October 5).
This first week of October also brings a cornucopia of choice classics at theaters across Europe. Linklater’s Slacker meanders into the Eye Film Instituut Nederland in Amsterdam (September 30 and October 4). The Kino Arsenal in Berlin has both darkness, with High and Low (September 30 and October 1), and light, with Olivier Assayas’s wistful Summer Hours (October 3). The Belgian Cinematek in Brussels selects films from Maurice Pialat (À nos amours, September 30 and October 2), Charlie Chaplin (Modern Times, October 1), François Truffaut (Stolen Kisses, October 3), and Wajda (Danton, October 6). BFI Southbank in London continues to feed its Terrence Malick addiction—The Thin Red Line (October 1) and Days of Heaven (October 1, 4, and 5)—and kicks off a new Edward Yang series, which includes Yi Yi (October 5). The Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen goes Roeg with The Man Who Fell to Earth (October 1 and 4) and Bad Timing (October 1 and 6), and takes on Andrei Tarkovsky with Ivan’s Childhood (October 2), Andrei Rublev (October 1 and 5), and Solaris (October 2).
Diversity reigns at the Cinemateca portuguesa in Lisbon, with Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le deuxieme souffle (October 1), John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln (October 3), Luis Buñuel’s Diary of a Chambermaid (October 4), and G. W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box (October 6). The Austrian Film Museum in Vienna keeps on running its series devoted to road trips with Wenders’s Paris, Texas (October 2) and Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho (October 3), and also debuts a monthlong tribute to Chantal Akerman, starting things off with Je tu il elle (October 6). The Institut Lumière in Lyon, France, basks in Jacques Becker (Le trou, October 4 and 5; Touchez pas au grisbi, October 4) and Marcel Carné (Children of Paradise and Port of Shadows, both October 5), plus makes room for Danton (October 4 and 6), Truffaut’s The Last Metro (October 4 and 6), and Masahiro Shinoda’s Pale Flower (October 6). Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank swims over to the Forum des images in Paris (October 5). Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life looms large at the Cinémathèque suisse in Lausanne (October 6). And von Trier’s Antichrist slices and dices at the Cinémathèque française in Paris (October 6).
And before we take a long breath, let’s stop at two more world-class theaters: the Metropolis Empire Sofil in Beirut for Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (October 2) and The Phantom of Liberty (October 3), and Montevideo’s Cinemateca Uruguaya, for Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (September 30) and Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (October 4).