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The Reeler Blog

Only in NY: Art House Anniversary Duel!

A still from Fritz Lang's Spies, screening in July as part of Lincoln Center's Kino retrospective (Photo: Kino International)

Of course institutions like the Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA, which work in such sweet tandem each spring to co-produce New Directors/New Films, would never square off in an art house retrospective duel to the death, especially with series showcasing two of New York's most celebrated, important independent distributors. But in my vaguely retarded film snob way, I can't help but be amused (and, sure, impressed) by the quick succession of programs honoring the 30-year-old Kino International at the Walter Reade and the 10-year-old Rialto Pictures at MoMA.

Launching today and running through July 12, the Kino series features 21 of the label's titles spanning almost 80 years of cinema, from work by Fritz Lang (Spies, M) to Claude Chabrol (Les Bonnes femmes) to Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy). "Their taste is equaled by their fortitude," notes the program description. Fair enough. Meanwhile, MoMA just announced its Rialto series (July 25 - Aug. 10) this week, featuring 16 of Bruce Goldstein and Adrienne Halpern's noted revivals from their decade restoring and releasing international classics like Diary of a Chambermaid and Au Hasard Balthazar for American audiences -- in some cases, like that of Army of Shadows, for the first time ever.

The labels' respective values is old news to wonks, but their paired retrospectives is a striking opportunity for the uninitiated to find out why -- and then chatter about who's done the more essential work until your teeth fall out. The bragging rights here are almost as valuable as the distribution rights.

Posted at June 29, 2007 1:05 PM

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