Monday, April 19, 2010

Assorted Screenings in NYC: April 2010

Just a few quick recommendations for end-of-the-month action on the NYC film circuit:
  • South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-ok made her debut in 2002 with Jiltuneun naui him (Jealousy is My Middle Name), a droll, intelligent movie with fascinating characterizations, which struck me at the time as the best Korean film not made by Hong Sang-soo. Paju, Park's second feature, premiered earlier this year at Rotterdam, and advance word has been good. It will screen four times at the Tribeca Film Festival: Thursday, April 23 at 6:30 pm; Saturday, April 25 at 1:30 pm; Sunday, April 26 at 6:45 pm; and Thursday, April 30 at 1 pm. The first three screenings are at the Village East; the last is at the Clearview Chelsea.
  • My very favorite Swedish films were made, not by Bergman, Stiller or Sjöström (though those guys did some pretty fair work too), but by Alf Sjöberg, a once-celebrated director whose reputation waned after his disciple Bergman ascended to art-film superstardom. One of Sjöberg's greatest works, 1949's Bara en mor (Only a Mother), screens in the Walter Reade's valuable Northern Exposures series on Saturday, April 24 at 9:15 pm and Monday, April 26 at 1 pm. Built around a powerful lead performance by Eva Dahlbeck (Smiles of a Summer Night), Bara en mor strikes an exciting balance between pictorial and social realism (the story is set in the world of migrant farm peasants) and a theatricality that spotlights the emotional struggles of its beset but formidable protagonist.
  • In The American Cinema, Andrew Sarris wrote that "nothing much happens" in Phil Karlson's career until 1953's 99 River St.. But research reveals several distinctive works in Karlson's early filmography, with at least one - 1952's Scandal Sheet - that ranks for me with Karlson's best. The film is based on Samuel Fuller's novel The Dark Page, but Fuller's personality is somewhat diluted in the adaptation, whereas Karlson's abrasive but humanist brand of urgency is in full flower. Scandal Sheet plays in Film Forum's series "The Newspaper Picture" on Friday, April 30 at 1, 4:35 and 8:10 pm.

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