Assorted Screenings in NYC, June-July 2008
There are a few interesting or rare items on the NYC film calendars in the next few weeks. I haven’t seen everything I’m about to mention, so consider this post a heads-up for the adventurous.
- Japanese director Naomi Kawase, who hasn’t had many NYC screenings, is getting some attention from Japan Society via its Japan Cuts series. Her 2007 feature Mogari no mori (The Mourning Forest) screens there on Wednesday, July 2 at 6:30 pm and Monday, July 7 at 6:30 pm; on the same program is Kawase’s 2006 documentary Tarachime. In addition, Japan Society has scheduled two programs of Kawase’s earlier documentaries: the first program screens on Thursday, July 3 at 6:15 pm and Saturday, July 12 at 3:30 pm; the second screens on Thursday, July 3 at 8 pm and Saturday, July 12 at 5:30 pm. Mogari no mori is the Kawase feature I like the least – I’m more enthusiastic about Sharasojyu (Shara) (2003) and Moe no suzaku (Suzaku) (1998) – but her short films are very hard to see, and my guess is that the dividing line between her fiction and documentary work is fuzzy. There’s a paragraph about Mogari no mori in my 2007 Toronto piece for Senses of Cinema.
- The Tatsuya Nakadai retro at Film Forum contains two titles that I’ve been planning my life around ever since I saw the schedule. The biggie is the great Mikio Naruse’s 1957 Arakure (Untamed), which has a very good reputation, and which I didn’t think I’d ever get to see with subtitles. The other title is somewhat less promising, but still a must: Shiro Toyoda’s 1969 Jigokuhen (Portrait of Hell). Toyoda, a major director who is particularly good with actors, seems to have a spotty track record in his later part of his career, and this subject matter doesn’t sound as if it’s up his alley. But he followed Jigokuhen with the wonderful Kokotsu no hito (The Twilight Years) (1973), so I have hope.
- BAM is showing Jacques Nolot’s excellent Avant que j’oublie (Before I Forget) on Sunday, June 29 at 4:30 and 9:15 pm as part of its Directors’ Fortnight series. The film will then have its theatrical premiere at the IFC Center on July 18. See that 2007 Toronto wrapup for a brief review.
- NYC film buffs no doubt already have their sights on John Ford’s underrated The Horse Soldiers, playing at the Walter Reade on Sunday, July 6 as part of a William Holden retrospective. But they might want to stick around for the other film playing that day, John Sturges’s Escape From Fort Bravo. If my memory serves, it’s a worthwhile Western with nice hard-edged 1.33:1 compositions. Sturges directed a few other good films in the 50s and 60s, but this is my favorite. It screens at 3:30 and 8 pm, and The Horse Soldiers at 1 and 5:30 pm.
- I’m hoping to poke around a bit in the Walter Reade’s upcoming Slovenian film series: the former Yugoslav republics harbored a number of good filmmakers about whom we know little. The only film in the series that I can recommend in advance is Janez Berger’s 1999 V leru (Idle Running), a smart comedy about indolent bohemian youth. It screens on Sunday, July 20 at 6:45 pm and Monday, July 21 at 3:30 pm.