|In New York: |
Who says Fassbinder isn't for lovers? Catch twenty of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's masterworks at the Film Forum through March 27th, most of them in new 35mm prints courtesy of Wellspring Media. Given his tendencies towards setting up love relationships only to watch them devolve into bitter, painful struggles for power, there's a certain irony in kicking the series off on Valentine's Day (which I'm sure wasn't lost on Film Forum's programmers). Even with twenty films screening, the retro is slightly shy of half his oeuvre, but most of the more famous 'names' are here - Petra, Maria, Lili, and Veronika (a Sunday in Berlin Alexanderplatz might have been nice). Catch them all, but don't miss Beware of a Holy Whore, his hilarious study of the filmmaking process, loaded with all of the necessary sex, drugs, aimlessness, clashing egos and Leonard Cohen one would expect on a Fassbinder set.
If you agreed with some of our writers and felt Alexander Payne's About Schmidt to be one of the best films of 2002, catch up with his earlier features, Citizen Ruth and Election, at MoMA 2/27-3/1. Also screening is The Passion of Martin, Payne's UCLA thesis film dealing with a photographer who falls in love with one of his admirers, which may disprove the notion that good film can't come from bad places. Screening at MoMA earlier in the month is a brief recap of four of Hungarian film-poet Béla Tarr's early works. Sure to put the seniors quickly to bed, these films are said to take a more realist approach in relation to later moves towards the visionary hypnotic of Sátántangó and Werckmeister Harmonies. They'll screen 2/20-22 in new prints created under the supervision of Tarr himself.
BAM's Cinematek programming should be starting back up again after a few months hiatus to earn some quick cash over the holidays. Rumor has it that there are some Luis Buñuel films in store, but we'll have to wait and see. The Film Society of Lincoln Center follows up its terrific 'Film Comment Selects' with a retrospective on pioneering filmmaker Allan Dwan (2/19-3/6) followed by the always popular 'Rendez-Vous with New French Cinema' program (3/7-16), which, if nothing else, will provide New York with another chance to catch Olivier Assayas' Demonlover on the big screen before being consigned to life on video.
And we'd be remiss to not make some mention of this year's Academy Award nominations. New York independents did quite well this year, and special notice must be given to Zeitgeist Films for their first nomination: a Best Foreign-Language film nod for Nowhere in Africa. Zeitgeist has been putting out terrific films (Irma Vep, A Taste of Cherry, Little Otik) with little fanfare for years, so it's gratifying to see some recognition, especially with the added pleasure of imagining that they knocked the horrendous 8 Women out of contention. Focus Features' Far From Heaven didn't exactly score with only four nominations, but who ever thought that the director of Poison would make a film that would come so close? Sony Pictures Classics should be happy with Best Director/Screenplay nominations for Talk to Her which was inexplicably passed over by Spain for a Foreign-Language selection. The big winner, of course, was Harvey Weinstein's Miramax, garnering an amazing 40 nominations, only failing to buy into the documentary, short film, and a couple of technical categories. Rumor has it that Harvey was so excited he treated himself to a second personal assistant for dinner. Our early call is for a Chicago/Marty Scorsese split at the top, and look for the "Best Documentary of All Time" Bowling for Columbine to win as well.