Goings On: Rohmer, Curtiz, and More

On Film / The Daily — Jan 2, 2018

New York. “Starting in the mid-1960s, Michelangelo Antonioni became what the German essayist Hans Magnus Enzensberger would call a ‘tourist of the revolution,’” writes J. Hoberman in the New York Times. “Antonioni left Italy to make Blow-Up (1966) in swinging London, Zabriskie Point (1970) in radical California and, most controversially, a three-and-a-half-hour TV documentary in the People’s Republic of China. The subject of prolonged, vitriolic attacks by the Chinese government, and largely unseen in the decades since it was initially televised in 1973, Antonioni’s Chung Kuo — Cina is showing for a week from an excellent 35-millimeter print at the Museum of Modern Art, as the postscript to the museum’s Antonioni retrospective. It is a major accomplishment by a great filmmaker.”

It’s “a three-plus-hour travelogue that is more interested in the maneuvering of people in the street, in the choreography of hurried looks and passing glances, than in creating propaganda,” writes Craig Hubert for Hyperallergic. “It aims to take the view of the traveler in a foreign place for the first time, catching images as they appear with little significance beyond their texture and color and movement through space.” Through Saturday.

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death (1946) “takes place a year before its release, in a world still at war, in a country steeling its mettle,” writes Alan Scherstuhl in the Village Voice, “and the film—like all of their best—bursts with tantalizing ideas, surprising connections, suggestive flights of fancy.” Through Thursday at Film Forum.

“Éric Rohmer’s poignant comedy Le Rayon Vert [1986; image above]—made with star Marie Rivière, who collaborated on the script and the director says ‘called the shots’—is an immaculate portrayal of late-summer romantic longing and self-reflexion,” writes Jon Dieringer. “It returns to Metrograph after an August run just in time to warm up the chilliest days of the year.” Tomorrow and Thursday.

Also at Screen Slate, Caroline Golum: “Anxious glances and reluctant pillow talk in director-writer-star Claude Berri’s Le Sex Shop [1972] might seem out of place to an audience raised on Last Tango in Paris or Immoral Tales, but Berri’s raison d’etre here is a simple, sweet lesson: bourgeois morality is as potent as it is pervasive.” Tomorrow, as part of the Quad’s series, A Very Berri Christmas, running through Thursday.

And Angeline Gragásin recommends catching Kahlil Joseph: Shadow Play, on view at the New Museum through Sunday: “A significant part of the installation’s content, quality, and impact can be attributed to Joseph’s careful use of sound, arguably at the forefront of the experience considering not only its breadth and depth—but also by the names and number of sonic collaborators involved.”

Throughout the month, Spectacle is presenting the twenty-four best films it screened during the year that’s just wrapped, one of them being Margarethe von Trotta’s Sisters, or The Balance of Happiness (1979), screening Sunday and January 17 and 30.

Los Angeles. From Friday through March 17, the UCLA Film & Television Archive will present Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film, and Alan K. Rode, author of the book that gives the series its name, will be on hand to sign copies and introduce several of the screenings.

Austin. From Thursday through January 27, the Film Society presents Tonal Shift: The Films of Bong Joon-ho.

London. Tomorrow through Friday, Close-Up presents Uzbek Rhapsody: The Films of Ali Khamraev: “Throughout his illustrious career, Khamraev has explored a plethora of genres freely, variously showcasing a mastery of invigorating action sequences, visually-striking poetic passages, incisive documentary observations and socially-engaged drama, often mixing these forms within the space of a single film. His profound relationships with contemporaries like Sergei Parajanov, Kira Muratova and Michelangelo Antonioni have shaped his filmmaking, and he has made films not only in his native Uzbekistan but also in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Russia.”

Paris. The Cinémathèque française’s Samuel Fuller retrospective is on from tomorrow through February 15.

Berlin. The second part of the Arsenal’s Ernst Lubitsch Retrospective, “fourteen films made between 1918 and 1948, focussing largely on the comedies that he made in Hollywood,” runs through the end of the month. And the current strand of the Arsenal’s Magical History Tour spotlights Improvisation in Film.

Anywhere and everywhere.The Act of Seeing is a new podcast, governed and curated by those who once brought you a podcast entitled Illusion Travels By Streetcar.” And it launches live on YouTube tomorrow from 8pm to 10pm ET.

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