The Reeler


January 30, 2007

February Events Madness!

Doc Fortnight, Film Comment Selects, and Oscar second-guessers among city's late-winter highlights

Frederic Van Den Driessche and... friend in Jean-Claude Brisseau 's Film Comment Selects series opener Exterminating Angels (Les Anges Exterminateurs)

On what I thought would be a slow day when I planned to catch up from my mind-frying Sundance excursion, a binge of inbox cleaning yielded a massive number of film events and series planned for the characteristically drowsy month of February:

--I honestly don't know what's more important to consider in previewing the six-film RKO: Lost and Found series scheduled for Feb. 23-Mar. 1 at Film Forum: That Garson Kanin's A Man to Remember hasn't screened in New York since its premiere in 1938 or that The New York Times had a Top 10 list that many years ago on which it could rank Man. In any event, the film will joining five others on the program in brand-new prints, including Double Harness, Rafter Romance and William Wellman's Stingaree. Naturally, the films are paired up as double features, so cost just dropped off as an excuse for not going.

--The 2006 Sundance entry Punching at the Sun, which director Tanuj Chopra shot entirely in Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, Queens, is slated for a screening in Astoria this Friday, Feb. 2, at the Museum of the Moving Image. Chopra and curator David Schwartz will drop in afterward to discuss the film, featuring Misu Khan as a 17-year-old South Asian immigrant grappling with the murder of his older brother and the stress of living as a cultural outsider in New York City.

--Makor is playing armchair Oscar de-legitimizer each Saturday in February with its You Be the Judge series, programming films with performances that Makor viewers voted "shoulda won the Oscar" in their respective years. Among the selections: The Deer Hunter (whose Robert De Niro lost to Coming Home's Jon Voight), Tootsie (whose Dustin Hoffman lost to Gandhi's Ben Kingsley) and Breaking the Waves, whose Emily Watson lost the 1996 Best Actress prize to Fargo's Frances McDormand. One of 2007 nominee Peter O'Toole's many Oscar-dissed performances, in The Lion in Winter, opens the series this Saturday, Feb. 3.

--The Film Society of Lincoln Center's Young Friends of Film have one of their biggest events of the last few years booked for Feb. 8, when Steve Buscemi, Sam Rockwell and filmmaker Alexandre Rockwell will drop by the Walter Reade Theater for a post-screening discussion of the latter Rockwell's 1992 film, In the Soup. $25 gets you in for the film, the chat and an open-bar party to follow.

--For those of you with relationships new or fresh enough to succumb to the thrall of Valentine's Day, BAM is hosting dinner and a movie Feb. 14: $50 gets you a three-course meal, champagne and a ticket to Preston Sturges's The Lady Eve at the BAMcinematek.

--Perhaps more fittingly, Jean-Claude Brisseau's voyeuristic paean to autoeroticism, Exterminating Angels, opens the Film Comment Selects series the same night at Lincoln Center. The series ends Feb. 27 with a preview of Paul Verhoeven's Black book, followed by a conversation between the filmmaker and Film Comment editor Gavin Smith.

--And even more godforsaken Valentine's Day romance ensues at the Posteritati Gallery, which will launch a Cary Grant exhibition running Feb. 14 to April 15.

--MoMA's Documentary Fortnight Expanded sprawls throughout the entirety of February, boasting 41 titles from all seven continents (or so the organizers claim) and dozens of filmmaker appearances. Notable programs include David Bickerstaff and Marc Petitjean presenting their nuclear fallout docs Half Life: A Journey Through Chernobyl and Atomic Wounds -- receiving their New York and US premieres, respectively. The NYC-based docs The Healing Gardens of New York and Antonia Pantoja ¡Presente! screen Feb. 18 with introductions by filmmakers Alexandra Isles and Lillian Jimenez.

--Also at MoMA, New Yorker profiler and film journalist extraordinaire Lillian Ross will be the subject of a brief series at the end of the month; Pictures in Print: Lillian Ross and the Movies features five titles including Anatomy of a Murder, One From the Heart, and Ran, along with a book reading and discussion to open the series Feb. 23. In conjunction, The New Yorker is making Ross's profiles of Otto Preminger, Francis Ford Coppola, Akira Kurosawa and other selected filmmakers available on its Web site.

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