While NYC film buffs await the French Institute's Jacques Doillon retrospective in February and March, they can distract themselves with a few interesting items on the January special screenings circuit.
1. The four-film Teuvo Tulio retrospective that played BAM in November is moving over to Anthology Film Archives in mid-January. And this time I know which ones to recommend: The Song of the Scarlet Flower (Thursday, January 15 at 6:45 pm; Saturday, January 17 at 2:45 pm, and Sunday, January 18 at 8:30 pm) and The Way You Wanted Me (Friday, January 16 at 7:15 pm, Saturday, January 17 at 7:15 pm, and Sunday, January 18 at 4 pm). Scarlet Flower, which I wrote about in November, is my favorite, and the only one that could be described as arty; The Way You Wanted Me is closer to straight melodrama.
2. Terence Davies gets a short retro at MOMA in mid-January. (The showtimes that were first posted on the MOMA web site have been changed – check the site or the calendar for the new times.) I'm always up for another chance to see the wonderful The House of Mirth (Friday, January 16 at 7 pm and Saturday, January 17 at 4:30 pm) and Davies' grim trilogy of early short films (Thursday, January 15 at 6 pm and Saturday, January 17 at 2 pm).
3. The Global Lens series, at MOMA in the second half of January, seems to me to be mainstreaming a bit in recent years, which is a shame. But I'm still planning to investigate a few titles, and at least one of the films, Sandra Kogut's Mutum (Saturday, January 17 at 4 pm and Friday, January 30 at 8 pm), is terrific. I wrote about Mutum in my 2007 Toronto wrap-up for Senses of Cinema:
"Another assured work from the Directors' Fortnight, Sandra Kogut's Mutum is an adaptation of a classic Brazilian novel by João Guimarães Rosa about the life of a poor family in an obscure rural area, and particularly about the lively, inquiring consciousness of one of the family's male children (Thiago da Silva Mariz). Kogut has a flair for evoking the natural environment, and Mutum grabs attention with its compelling visual and aural depiction of quiet sunlit afternoons and violent rainstorms, gently contrasted with cuts across time. But even more striking than her sensitivity to ambience is Kogut's remarkable achievement in leading a group of non-actors to a simple, full-bodied acting style that shows no sign of either camera-consciousness or staginess: a far cry from the just-say-the-line-and-stand-there approach favored by art filmmakers in the post-Bresson era. Always considered somewhat peculiar by his own family, the young protagonist's real issues are illuminated only at story's end, in a beautiful sequence that plays to Kogut's strengths as a filmmaker of the senses."
4. I imagine that readers of this blog do not need to be urged to attend Anthology's Stahl/Sirk series on January 28-February 1. Stahl's When Tomorrow Comes (Wednesday, January 28 at 7 pm and Saturday, January 31 at 4:30 pm), the best film in the series for my money, is incredibly rare – as far as I know it hasn't even shown on TV in America since the 80s. (I wrote about it a few months back.) Sirk's remake Interlude is quite rare also, but my recollection is that it's far from his best. The two versions of Imitation of Life in the series are generally thought to be superior to the corresponding versions of Magnificent Obsession, which is really a tough story to put over. But I'm going to see everything.
5. I always have a hard time convincing people that Larry Clark is a major director, and I used to assume it was because everyone thinks he's a dirty old man. But Clark's artier provocations Kids and Ken Park have at least some critical following, whereas his superb genre films Another Day in Paradise and Bully are pretty much ignored in the US. Maybe Clark's deromanticized, participatory egalitarianism bores people more than his unabashed interest in sex offends them. Anyway, Another Day in Paradise plays the Walter Reade on Saturday, January 31 at 9:15 pm and Wednesday, February 4 at 3:45 pm as part of a "Positif Celebrates American Cinema" series. Apparently a longer European version of the film will screen.