New York. The BAMcinématek series Tough Love: Cinema by Lynne Ramsay opens today with You Were Never Really Here, which scored a best actor award for Joaquin Phoenix and a best screenplay award for Ramsay (tied with Yorgos Lanthimos for The Killing of a Sacred Deer) when it premiered in Cannes last year. As Ben Kenigsberg notes in the New York Times, the retrospective, running through Thursday, “includes her shorts (on Monday and Wednesday); her debut feature, Ratcatcher (on Wednesday) [image above]; and perhaps her most acclaimed film, Morvern Callar (on Thursday), starring Samantha Morton as a woman sent spinning after her boyfriend’s suicide.”
Ramsay “focuses on the internal processes required of those trying to move forward in the wake of horror,” writes Willow Maclay in the Village Voice. “Where in her previous films Ramsay succeeded in portraying grief with nuance and grace, in [We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)] she does away with such gentle notions, hammering the points of the text home with staggering brutality.”
Ahead of the North American premiere of Notes on an Appearance on Friday and Saturday as part of New Directors/New Films, director Ricky D’Ambrose will be at Spectacle on Wednesday, presenting and then talking about four earlier works: The Stranger (2011), which has never been publicly screened before, Pilgrims (2013), Six Cents in the Pocket (2015), and Spiral Jetty (2017).
“With its elliptical leaps between scenes and long, unbroken stretches of often-hectic overlapping dialogue that serve no function in advancing exposition, Personal Problems would likely be deemed bad television by most any network executive with an eye for the bottom line—either in 1980 or today—and it is also a startling, totally idiosyncratic work of art.” Writing for Artforum, Nick Pinkerton argues that Bill Gunn and co-creator Ishmael Reed’s work “is exceptional precisely because of its engagement with the unexceptional.” Personal Problems runs through Thursday at the Metrograph, which has posted an account of the making of this “meta-soap opera” by Nicholas Forster, who’s currently working on a biography of Bill Gunn.
Tina Fey makes her Broadway debut with Mean Girls, a musical adapted from her 2004 screenplay that’s opening on Sunday at the August Wilson Theater. For the New York Times, Laura Collins-Hughes talks with Fey, her husband Jeff Richmond, who’s composed the tunes with lyricist Nell Benjamin, and director Casey Nicholaw.
Val Guest’s The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) “is the first official ‘Hammer Horror,; adapted by Hammer Film Productions from the BBC miniseries and surprisingly successful at the box office despite (or due to) its X rating from the British Board of Film Censors,” writes Madelyn Sutton at Screen Slate. “While the majority of the violence itself is off screen, the pulsating, globular parasitic creatures and the gradual transformation of the host astronaut's body into a an unrecognizable, weeping mass with only a single, seeking and tragic eye to suggest its former humanity are truly gruesome, the typical limited Hammer budget here used to fantastic effect whose influence can be seen in later sci-fi-horror hybrids.” Screens tomorrow at the Alamo Drafthouse as part of the sidebar to Frank Henenlotter: NYC Exploitation Legend in which Henenlotter presents some of his favorites.
On Friday, Where is Kyra? (2017), starring Michelle Pfeiffer, shot by Bradford Young, and directed by Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George) opens at the Quad. “Although the film might seem a departure for her,” writes Bilge Ebiri in the Village Voice, “watching it, I felt that Dosunmu had connected to something elemental within Pfeiffer, that solitude that brought subtle dimension to her earlier, more famous roles. This is the kind of part, and the kind of performance, that makes you see an actor’s entire career in a new light. And it’s probably the best she’s ever been.” Filmwax Radio host Adam Schartoff talks with Dosunmu—and with Lean on Pete director Andrew Haigh (62’14”).
Los Angeles. The four-film series The Strange Frontiers of Andrei Tarkovsky opens at the Egyptian on Thursday and runs through Sunday.
From Friday through April 27, the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present Hard, Fast and Beautiful: The Films of Ida Lupino.
Chicago. Highlights from this week’s Cine-List:
- Kathleen Sachs on Wang Bing’s Bitter Money (2016), screening at Facets Cinémathèque through Thursday
- Michael W. Phillips on Ytasha L. Womack’s A Love Letter to the Ancestors From Chicago (2017) and Christopher Kirkley’s Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red in It (2015), screening together on Wednesday at Comfort Station
- Ben Sachs on Michael Haneke’s Benny’s Video (1992), tomorrow at Doc Films
- Rob Christopher on David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (1988), Thursday at Doc Films
- Scott Pfeiffer on Huang Hsin-Yao’s The Great Buddha+ (2017), an Asian Pop-Up Cinema presentation on Thursday
Seattle. From Wednesday through Sunday, the Northwest Film Forum will present Future//Present: Canada’s New Wave, “six debuts and one sophomore feature that exemplify the best from an exciting new generation of Canadian independent cinema.”
Portland. Japanese Currents opens on Friday at the Northwest Film Center and runs through April 28.
Austin. Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1975) screens Thursday at the AFS Cinema.
Philadelphia. The Films of Philippe Garrel are screening at the Lightbox Film Center in April. This week: Marie pour mémoire (1967) on Thursday, Le révélateur (1968) preceded by the 1964 short Les enfants désaccordés on Friday, and The Inner Scar (1972) and The Virgin’s Bed (1970) on Saturday.
UK. “The great success of [Tony] Richardson’s film version of Look Back in Anger  is the amplification of the Ma Tanner figure . . . played by Edith Evans,” argues the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw. “Evans’s performance humanises Jimmy Porter—and humanizes [Richard] Burton’s performance as well.” Now that it’s back in cinemas, Sight & Sound has posted Penelope Houston’s review from the June 1959 issue.
Bordeaux. From Wednesday through Sunday, Babette Mangolte will be at the CAPCmusée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux to present screenings and discuss her work on the occasion of the retrospective, which includes not only films but installations as well.
Berlin. “Land in sight – landscapes in film” is the theme of the Magical History Tour at the Arsenal this month.
Vienna. On Thursday, the Austrian Film Museum will present Maria Lassnig: Films in progress, a program of work “freely combining documentary footage of friends and colleagues, her studio and the streets of New York with animated techniques and drawing.” And Friday sees the launch of the Museum’s big springtime retrospective, The Cinema of Aki Kaurismäki, running through May 3.
For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.