• [The Daily] Goings On: First Look Lineup and More

    By David Hudson

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    Before breaking events down by city, let’s note that, to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, Canyon Cinema is taking four 16 mm programs and two digital packages on the road—coast to coast and many, many points in between. Here’s a map and a list of cities and dates.

    New York. The Museum of the Moving Image has posted the lineup for the seventh edition of First Look, running from January 5 through 15 and “featuring formally inventive new works that seek to redefine the art form while engaging in a wide range of subjects and styles.” The U.S. premiere of Blake Williams’s PROTOTYPE (image above) will open the festival which will also be presenting new work by James Benning, Ken Jacobs, Teresa Villaverde, Charlie Lyne, Sompot Chidgasornpongse (an assistant to Apichatpong Weerasethakul), and more. Come January, we’ll be taking a closer look at the lineup.

    From December 15 through January 1, the Museum will present its Curators’ Choice 2017, a series that “favors idiosyncratic independent visions over mainstream movies, and films that speak—sometimes indirectly—to these perilous times.” Lined up are highlights of the year from Dee Rees, Bertrand Bonello, Eliza Hittman, Terrence Malick, Eduardo Williams, Matías Piñeiro, Terence Davies, Olivier Assayas, and more.

    “Maestro of impeccable angst and elegant alienation, poet of sterile architecture and bad breakups, Michelangelo Antonioni was not just a great movie director, but a major European artist,” writes J. Hoberman for the New York Review of Books. Starting tomorrow, and on through January 7, MoMA will be presenting films by Antonioni and, as Hoberman notes, this “retrospective is complete, with nearly forty 35mm prints and digital preservations, including Antonioni’s long unseen and controversial Chung Kuo—China (1972), a post-Cultural Revolution, pre-Nixon travelogue showing for a week in its original three-hour-plus version.” Just the other day, Jonathan Rosenbaum posted his 1993 survey of Antonioni’s work, “A Cinema of Uncertainty.”

    Women in Love (1969), playing at the Metrograph through December 14, “is a queer brew indeed,” writes Bruce LaBruce at the Talkhouse, “not only directed by the sexually obsessed and complicated [Ken] Russell, but also based on the brilliant, passionate novel by D. H. Lawrence, a bisexual artist deeply conflicted about his homosexual feelings, with a screenplay by . . . wait for it . . . Larry Kramer, the longtime AIDS activist who would become a moralistic advocate against gay ‘promiscuity’ during the plague years. . . . The result is a brazen, paradoxical and, well, horny concoction.”

    On Saturday, the Metrograph presents Breaking the Frame (2012), a film about Carolee Schneemann, who’ll be on hand for a conversation with director Marielle Nitoslawska. “This is not your typical documentary,” writes Elisa Wouk Almino at Hyperallergic, adding that “there are no talking heads and the biography is sparse. Wandering the rooms of the artist’s country home, the film instead offers poetic fragments, from closeups of Schneemann’s old diaries to footage of her feminist (and at the time scandalous) performances.”

    At Screen Slate:

    Los Angeles. “The American Cinematheque will have exclusive rights to exhibit a new 70 mm print of David Lean’s 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia in Los Angeles,” reports Mark Olsen in the Los Angeles Times. “The movie will receive two extended runs per year, one at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and the other at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. The first of these runs will take place Dec. 15-30 at the Egyptian.”

    “Introduced in 1987, Fisher-Price’s PXL-2000 is a toy camcorder that records lo-fi, black-and-white videos onto audio cassettes,” writes Matt Stromberg at Hyperallergic. “Although it was only on the market for a year, it has garnered an enthusiastic following in the ensuing three decades, finding popularity with everyone from children and amateur cineastes, to artists and experimental filmmakers like Sadie Benning and Joe Gibbons. Now in its 27th year, the PXL This festival showcases the wide range of pixelvision’s possibilities with over two dozen films, from the narrative to the abstract, absurd to enigmatic.” Monday evening at UnUrban.

    Program notes from the New Beverly:

    San Francisco. Light Field, “an international exhibition of recent and historical moving image art on celluloid,” will be happening at The Lab from tomorrow through Sunday.

    Chicago. On Monday, the Chicago Film Society presents a 35 mm print of the silent version of Ernst Lubitsch’s Monte Carlo (1930) with live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren.

    Cambridge. The Harvard Film Archive presents a 16 mm print of The Art of Vision (1961–65) on Saturday, noting that it “employs nearly all the poetic techniques [Stan] Brakhage had mastered by this point—including saccadic camera movement, radically variable focus, lens distortion, image inversion, painting on film, emulsion scratching, and more—yielding an anthology of perception's myriad forms.”

    The Brattle and MUBI are presenting a 35 mm print of Olivier Assayas’s Irma Vep tomorrow, and Chase Sui Wonders finds in it “a serious dialogue about end of the glory days of the French New Wave.”

    Toronto. “Along with Denzel Washington, [Will] Smith has carried the torch previously held by [Sidney] Poitier as Hollywood’s Black ambassador to the rest of the world, often playing selfless, heroic characters determined on achieving justice for an aggrieved party, or America, and/or the world itself,” writes Jordan Sowunmi, who’ll be introducing tomorrow’s screening Fred Schepisi’s Six Degrees of Separation (1993), part of the TIFF Cinematheque series Black Star running through December 22.

    “Much like her brilliant contemporary Kelly Reichardt, Sofia Coppola has created a body of work about how certain women’s ambitions and desires (not to mention their bodies and labor) clash with environments that are controlled by money, by perception, and, most often, by men,” writes Samuel La France, also in the TIFF Review. “The film industry itself being one of those environments, it is little wonder that Coppola has drawn criticism from the very beginning of her career, with the slights against her gender conveniently disguised within a scorning of her class origins.” The TIFF Cinematheque retrospective Sofia Coppola: A Name of Her Own is on from Friday through December 17.

    Meantime, the program for the seventeenth annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, running from January 12 through 21, is now online.

    UK and Ireland. Park Circus will be rolling out a new 4K restoration of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death (1946) starting Friday. For the Guardian, Pamela Hutchinson talks with editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who married Powell in 1984. Martin Scorsese, she says, “not only gave me the best job in the world, he gave me the best husband in the world, and the happiest years of my life.” As for A Matter of Life and Death: “It was Michael’s favorite. That was very important to me and as I got to know more about him and saw the film more and more with people I really understood there’s something very deep about Michael in it.”

    Paul Thomas Anderson “has announced a special tour in collaboration with distributor Park Circus, showing five films from his back catalogue at independent cinemas across the country on glorious 35 mm,” notes Hannah Woodhead at Little White Lies. Starting January 4, prints of Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), There Will Be Blood (2007), and Inherent Vice (2015) will travel from Dublin to London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Bristol, and beyond.

    London. “Described by Jean-Marie Straub as the most important filmmaker in Germany since the war, Peter Nestler has since the early 1960s carved out his own unique territory in the documentary landscape, building up a body of work that is at once deeply political, while personally nuanced and poetic.” Close-Up presents a program of Nestler’s short films tomorrow evening.

    Then on Sunday, Anthony Paraskeva will be there to launch his new book, Samuel Beckett and Cinema, and to introduce screenings of Beckett and Alan Schneider’s Film (1965) and Beckett and Marin Karmitz’s Comédie (1966). Also on Sunday, Close-Up presents Straub and Danièle Huillet’s Not Reconciled (1965) and Wim Wenders’s Silver City Revisited (1968).

    From Friday through Sunday, MUBI, the ICA, and Little White Lies will present Light Show #1, “a weekender of movie masterworks screened on glistening 35 mm celluloid.” And in Little White Lies, we find:

    • David Jenkins on Jacques Tati’s PlayTime (1967), “an over-sized maze of critical possibilities and entry points for discussion”
    • Mallory Andrews on Agnès Varda’s The Beaches of Agnès (2008), “a sprawling, experimental, autobiographical project structured around a series of art exhibits, dramatic recreations and installations”
    • Christina Newland on Vera Chytilova’s Daisies (1966), “a playfully subversive take on women’s roles as seen through a jarring, anarchic lens”

    Berlin. The Berlin International Film Festival, whose sixty-eighth edition runs from February 15 through 25, has announced that a new 2K restoration of Ewald André Dupont’s The Ancient Law (1923) with new music by Philippe Schoeller performed live, will be presented as part of the Berlinale Classics program.

    Tokyo. A Straub-Huillet retrospective is on at the Athénée Français Cultural Center through March 3.

    For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

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