New York. A retrospective of films by Alain Tanner opens today at the Metrograph and runs through July 23. Writing for Hyperallergic, Craig Hubert looks back on work Tanner did with the late critic, novelist, painter, and poet John Berger, noting that they “found a connection in their increased politicization and need to break from standard modes of making work.” They “collaborated on a number of projects, most notably a series of three films—La Salamandre (1971), Middle of the World (1974), and Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976)—that melancholically reflect on the perceived failures of radical struggle, and the glimmer of hope in the distance of the future.” The image above, by the way, is Bulle Ogier in La Salamandre.
John Powers for Vogue (via Movie City News): “At once funny, sexy, and brainy—with stylistic echoes of the French New Wave—Tanner’s movies tackle questions that most of us are currently facing: Is there any way of escaping a world based on money? How do you handle the disillusionment of watching history move in the wrong direction? Where do you find freedom in a society that goes against your deepest dreams?”
“The mad Polish movie maestro Andrzej Zulawski, who died last year, at age 75, may never have won any major international cinema prizes during his lifetime—no Palmes d’Or, no Golden Lions, no Silver Bears, etc.,” writes Melissa Anderson in the Village Voice. “But he was awarded an even greater, rarer honor: French film critics saluted him by coining an adjective, Zulawskien, a synonym for ‘over the top.’ Intemperate, garish, outrageous, and unmissable, Zulawski’s 1975 freak-out, L’important c’est d’aimer (‘The Important Thing Is to Love,’ per the opening credits of the Rialto release, a slightly tamer rendering of another English translation previously used, ‘That Most Important Thing: Love’), receives its first theatrical run in the U.S. at the Quad, where it opens on Friday.”
Anthology Film Archives introduces its series Go Nightclubbing!: Downtown New York 1977-80, running from Friday through Sunday: “Video artists Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong, in the pre-MTV days from 1977-80, spent their nights documenting New York’s nascent punk and No Wave scenes. Armed with Portapak cameras, they shot rare performances and interviews with the Dead Boys, Iggy Pop, the Heartbreakers, John Cale, the Cramps, Sun Ra, the Go-Go’s, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, James Chance and the Contortions, Richard Hell, and countless others at legendary clubs like CBGB’s, Mudd Club, and Danceteria.”
“They edited their footage into a TV show called Nightclubbing, and traveled the country to screen it for live audiences at galleries and screening spaces,” writes Chloe Lizotte, introducing an interview at Screen Slate. “Armstrong and Ivers will give Q&As at each program, alongside one-off appearances from Suicide’s Martin Rev, the Patti Smith Group’s Jay Dee Daugherty, and the Dead Boys’ Jeff Magnum.”
Back in the Voice,Ian S. Port: “By including clips of more obscure artists with the more famous names of the era, the Anthology series keeps from simply ratifying the downtown punk legend as it’s already been told. Some performances here earn their minutes more for anthropological than aesthetic reasons, and some don’t earn them at all, but what the footage reveals is something that’s too often forgotten: how diverse the scene really was.”
Kinet Program 06 will make its theatrical premiere at Spectacle on Saturday before rolling out online.
“Screening as a double feature in conjunction with the Museum of Sex’s exhibition, NSFW: The Female Gaze, Anna Biller’s films Viva  and The Love Witch  both take on the notion of female subjectivity, though in very different ways,” writes Brittany Stigler, introducing another interview at Screen Slate. Tomorrow at Anthology. And by the way, Biller promises that she’ll “be shooting on film as long as I can.”
We need to mention once again Studio: Remembering Chris Marker, the book of photographs by Adam Bartos with a text by Colin MacCabe and an introduction by Ben Lerner, because Michael J. Agovino has a nice piece in the Voice about it and the series it’s inspired, In Chris Marker’s Studio, opening tonight and running through the weekend. “Among the work being screened at Metrograph is Marker’s ethereal Sans Soleil, which some (MacCabe, for one) consider the quintessence of the essay film. It’s only become more influential the further it gets from its 1983 release: Teju Cole cites it several times in his new book, Blind Spot; it imbues Fiona Tan’s recent film Ascent; Lerner referenced it quickly in his 2014 novel, 10:04.”
The tenth edition of the Film Society of Lincoln Center series Scary Movies opens Friday, so, as Michael Odmark writes, introducing the new episode of the Close-Up podcast, editorial director Michael Koresky “sat down with programmers Laura Kern and Rufus de Rham to talk about the history of the series, the current state of horror films, and which selections they’re most excited to watch with an audience.”
Enigmatic Emmanuelle Devos is celebrated each Tuesday this month at the French Institute Alliance Français.
Tomorrow sees the opening at 326 Gallery of For Shelley, an exhibition of work by ten female artists “inspired by the complicated legacy of 1970s independent film icon Shelley Duvall.”
Los Angeles. “As John Wintergreen, the diminutive motorcycle cop of Electra Glide in Blue, Robert Blake reveals dueling forces of masculine assurance and little man insecurity with such kindhearted peculiarity, you feel both charmed and embarrassed for him,” writes Kim Morgan. James William Guercio’s 1973 film screens tonight and tomorrow at the New Beverly.
San Francisco. “1967 was the year that the Canyon Cinema Co-op was born . . . In its early years operating out of apartments, an abandoned church, and a condemned building, the Canyon Co-op sent out dispatches in the form of 16mm film reels screening for audiences around the country hungering for the liberatory gospel of west coast counterculture.” Love, Light and Lyrical Eroticism “gathers key figures from of the original generation of Canyon filmmakers, presenting a selection of their works capturing the spirit of that founding year 1967.” Friday at the de Young.
Cambridge. “Wild, loud, ridiculous, over-the-top in every conceivable way, Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (1997) is a feast for the senses, a one-of-a-kind thrill ride, a candy-colored cacophony of comic book logic and madcap mayhem taken to the absolute extreme, and beyond,” writes Eric Shoag. At the Brattle on Friday.
The Harvard Film Archive’s series The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun: Psychedelic Surf Films, 1966–1979 opens tomorrow and runs through August 4.
Toronto. The TIFF series Something in the Air: The Cinema of Olivier Assayas rolls on through August 20.
The TIFF Cinematheque retrospective Army of Shadows: The Films of Jean-Pierre Melville is on through August 19, while the series Panique: French Crime Classics runs through September 3. “If not uniquely then at least to an elevated degree, these are films which recognize criminality as a craft, a collection of closely-guarded trade secrets to be handed down through the years, the intermixture of young bloods and veterans being something of a signature of the crime ensemble film,” writes Nick Pinkerton for the TIFF Review. “Each inductee into the brotherhood leaves their signature mark in the annals of infamy, to be imitated by those coming up—whether it be Alain Delon’s deadpan, Jean-Paul Belmondo’s lank physicality, or Jean Gabin’s eyes.”
Berlin.Creative Visions – Hong Kong Cinema 1997–2017, running from Friday through August 3 at the Arsenal, “presents works both by major internationally renowned directors as well as promising debut films and forges a path between thrillers, melodramas, action films, sports dramas, and triad shootouts—all of them equally snapshots of a city and its inhabitants gripped by changing times and shifting social and political circumstances.”
Paris.Plein les yeux!, a series at the Cinémathèque française celebrating grand spectacles, is on through July 30.
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