19 Films Set to Play the Film Society This Summer

Posted by Brian Brooks on 4.30.2014


Lav Diaz's Norte, The End of History

New films by veteran filmmakers Philippe Garrel, Lukas Moodysson, Bong Joon-ho, Lav Diaz, and Steve James are among the features that are joining the lineup at the Film Society this summer. The films join a slate of first features including Gia Coppola's Palo Alto, Nadav Lapid's Policeman, and Ramon Zürcher's The Strange Little Cat that will open through August. Thirteen of the roster's 18 titles will open exclusively at the Film Society for one- or two-week runs.

New York Film Festival feature Norte, The End of History by Liav Diaz will open exclusively June 20. The film will anchor the Film Society series Time Regained: The Films of Lav Diaz, the most complete American retrospective to date of the Philippines-born director's work. The series will open June 22 with the seven-and-a-half-hour Melancholia (2008) and continue with one film a month from August 2014 through February 2015. In August, Joaquim Pinto’s latest film, What Now? Remind Me, winner of the jury prize at last year’s Locarno Film Festival, will open at the Film Society timed to a retrospective featuring his earlier work as well as films by João César Monteiro, Raúl Ruiz, and Werner Schroeter that  Pinto worked on as a sound designer and producer.

The re-edited and remastered version of Thom Andersen and Noël Burch’s 1996 essay film Red Hollywood, which recently had its New York premiere at the Film Society’s  documentary festival Art of the Real, will return for a one-week engagement in August, accompanied by a series of films by blacklisted writers, curated by Andersen. Additional details for all events will be announced at a later date.

Filmmaker Joanna Hogg, whose work was spotlighted at last year's 51st New York Film Festival’s Emerging Artists sidebar, will return to the Film Society in June with theatrical runs of all three films:  her latest drama Exhibition (2013), an intimate look at two married artists at a critical point in their relationship, as well as Unrelated (2007) and Archipelago (2010), both starring Tom Hiddleston. Additionally, the slate includes the U.S. theatrical premieres of documentaries by master filmmakers Chantal Akerman (One Day Pina Asked…) and Thom Andersen (Red Hollywood, co-directed with Noël Burch).


Philippe Garrel's Jealousy

"Our summer slate includes some of the most eagerly anticipated and widely acclaimed films of the year as well as overlooked gems, unearthed rarities, and hugely promising debuts by directors to watch," said Dennis Lim, the Film Society’s Director of Programming. "It’s a diverse selection that I’m pleased to say finds room for many of the most exciting voices in world cinema today. We’re especially delighted to be giving a theatrical home to so many films that had their New York premieres at our festivals and year-round programs, and also, in some cases, to supplement their openings with retrospectives and special sidebars."

Summer releases that were previously shown at the Film Society include 2 Autumns, 3 Winters (Rendez-Vous with French Cinema), Policeman (New York Film Festival, New York Jewish Film Festival), The Strange Little Cat (New Directors/New Films), What Now? Remind Me (New York Film Festival), and Jealousy (New York Film Festival).

Previously announced films:

Palo Alto (Opens May 9)
Gia Coppola, USA, 2013, 98m
Artistic Teddy (Jack Kilmer, son of Val) cannot articulate his feelings for April (Emma Roberts, niece of Julia), who fills the void left by her distracted parents via a relationship with her soccer coach (James Franco.) Meanwhile, the erratic behavior of Fred (Nat Wolff), Teddy’s best friend with father issues of his own, spirals increasingly out of control when faced with the prospect of being left behind, as school “slut” Emily (Zoe Levin) searches for love the only way she knows how. Adapted from the short story collection by James Franco, writer-director Gia Coppola (granddaughter of Francis, niece of Sofia) connects the lives of these affluent but troubled teens in this mesmerizingly assured debut. Combating listlessness and uncertainty with sex, drugs, and acts of self-destruction, the kids of Palo Alto exist beyond the film’s titular California city—they’re in every high school in America.  A Tribeca Film release. 

We Are the Best! (Opens May 30)
Lukas Moodysson, Sweden, 2013, 102m
The director of Together and Lilya 4-ever is back on form with an energetic rough and tumble story of three rebellious teenage girls who form a punk rock band to defy the stifling conformity of early-1980s Stockholm. Adapting his wife Coco’s graphic novel, Moodysson affirms that an adolescent girl’s bedroom is as good a place as anywhere to find the ingredients for personal development and political foment as he sketches the friendship between Klara and Bobo, who use punk ideals and music to process the narrow thinking, variable parenting, inconsistent authority, and sexism they encounter in their lives. The action unfolds in a loose series of episodes during which the girls define and give voice to their untested feminist, spiritual, and political ideas, although they can be just as intolerant and conformist as their peers and parents—they recruit classmate and gifted guitar player Hedvig, ostracized for being a devout Christian, but insist that she renounce her religion! Returning to his roots, Moodysson depicts the exploits and follies of his unruly trio with warmth and affection, while cheerfully celebrating the DIY ethos and the urge to revolt. A 2014 Film Comment Selects selection. A Magnolia Pictures release.

New additions:

2 Autumns, 3 Winters (Opens June 6 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Sébastien Betbeder, France, 2013, 90m
Director Sébastien Betbeder follows his acclaimed feature debut, Nights with Theodore, with an endearing, inventive romantic comedy, steeped in offbeat charm and an offhand cinephilia. Sad-sack Arman (Vincent Macaigne) first meets Amélie (Maud Wyler) when he bumps into her while jogging; his attempts at connecting with her fail one after the other, until circumstances grant him the opportunity to rescue her from would-be muggers. Thus begins the story of a relationship by turns breezy and momentous. Alongside his longtime friend from art school, Benjamin (Bastien Bouillon), Arman navigates life with his newfound love. Directly addressing the camera in monologues that comment on their respective situations, these winning characters describe the trajectory of old-fashioned relationships in this millennial age. A 2014 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema selection.  A Film Movement release.

One Day Pina Asked… (Opens June 6 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Chantal Akerman, France, 1983, 57m
A fortuitous encounter between two icons of film and dance,  Chantal Akerman and Pina Bausch, One Day Pina Asked... is Akerman’s singular look at the work of the remarkable choreographer and her Wuppertal Tanztheater during a five-week European tour. More than a conventional documentary, Akerman’s film is a journey through her world, composed of striking images and personal memories transformed. Capturing the company’s rehearsals and assembling performance excerpts from signature works such as Komm Tanz Mit Mir (Come Dance with Me, 1977) and Nelken (Carnations, 1982), the director applies her unique visual skills to bring us close to her enigmatic subject. Writing about the film in The New Yorker, Richard Brody said: “With her audacious compositions, decisive cuts and tightrope-tremulous sense of time—and her stark simplicity—it shares, in a way that Wenders film doesn’t, the immediate exhilaration of the moment of creation.” A 2014 Dance on Camera selection. An Icarus Films release.

Chantal Akerman, From Here (Opens June 6 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Gustavo Beck & Leonardo Luiz Ferreira, Brazil/France, 2010, 60m
The renowned Belgian filmmaker sits down for an hour-long conversation about her entire body of work. Throughout, the camera holds steady from outside an open door. The long, unbroken shot and the frame-within-a-frame pay homage to Akerman’s own unmistakable style (“I need a corridor. I need doors. Otherwise, I can’t work,” she says). But by shooting her in profile, the filmmakers provide a contrast to the signature frontality of her compositions (one of the many subjects covered in the wide-ranging interview)—an acknowledgement of this portrait’s contingency also underlined by the title. Free screenings once a day in the Amphitheater.

Policeman (Opens June 13 – Exclusive One Week Only)
Nadav Lapid, Israel, 2011, 100m
A boldly conceived drama pivoting on the initially unrelated activities of an elite anti-terrorist police unit and some wealthy young anarchists, Policeman is the striking first feature from writer-director Nadav Lapid, whose latest film, The Kindergarten Teacher, will premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Provocatively timely in light of recent unrest tied to social and economic inequalities in Israel, this is a powerfully physical film in its depiction of the muscular, borderline sensual way the macho cops relate to one another, as well as for the emphatic style with which the opposing societal forces are contrasted and finally pitted against one another. Although the youthful revolutionaries come off as petulant and spoiled, their point about the growing gap between the Israeli haves and have-nots cannot be ignored, even by the policemen sent on a rare mission to engage fellow countrymen rather than Palestinians. A winner of three prizes at the Jerusalem Film Festival and a special jury prize at Locarno, as well as Official Selection at the 49th New York Film Festival and 22nd New York Jewish Film Festival.  A Corinth Films release.

Exhibition (Opens June 20 – Exclusive, Two Weeks Only)
Joanna Hogg, UK, 2013, 110m
A married middle-aged couple (Viv Albertine and Liam Gillick), both artists, live in a beautiful modernist house in Chelsea, designed and built by an artist—a labyrinth, a refuge, a prison house, a battleground. As they confront their conflicts and competitions, they slowly arrive at the painful decision to sell, thus inviting interlopers into their private world. Joanna Hogg’s new film is structured as a cinematic mosaic of interlocking sights, sounds, exchanges, happenings great and small, everyday advances, and retreats. It is, finally, a portrait of two people in a state of change in a house that effectively becomes a third character, and an agent in that change. Hogg’s film is a rarity, at once exactingly minimal and intimately character-driven, and  a wonderful London movie. A 51st New York Film Festival selection. A Kino Lorber release.

Norte, The End of History (Opens June 20 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2013, 250m
In the northern Philippine province of Luzon, a law-school dropout commits a horrific double murder; a gentle family man takes the fall and receives a life sentence, leaving behind a wife and two kids. At their best, Lav Diaz’s marathon movies reveal just how much other films leave out. In his devastating twelfth feature (and at four-plus hours, one of his shortest), the broad canvas accommodates both the irreducible facts of individual experience and the cosmic sweep of time and space. A careful rethinking of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment shot in blazing color, this tour de force offers a masterful recapitulation of Diaz’s longstanding obsessions: cultural memory, national guilt, and the origin of evil. The wounds and defeats of Filipino history loom large in each of Diaz’s films. Fabian, Norte’s tortured antihero (superbly played by Sid Lucero), may well be his most indelible creation: a haunting embodiment of the dead ends of ideology. A 51st New York Film Festival selection. A Cinema Guild release.

Snowpiercer (Opens June 27)
Bong Joon-ho, South Korea/USA, 2013, 125m
In the midst of a second Ice Age, the remaining inhabitants of Earth are packed together aboard the Snowpiercer, a supertrain that will continuously circle the globe until the planet is once again habitable. On the train—separated into classes, with the “unwashed masses” relegated to the intolerable caboose while the one-percenters bask in luxury—reluctant hero Curtis (Chris Evans) leads a rebellious charge to the ship’s engine room. Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige and directed by visionary Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Memories of Murder), the film co-stars Song Kang-ho, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, and Octavia Spencer. A RADiUS-TWC release.

Archipelago (Opens June 27 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Joanna Hogg, UK, 2010, 114m
A group stays on the island of Tresco off of Sicily, animated by resentments, jealousies, upheavals, and revelations that will ring true to anyone who has ever spent a vacation with their family. Tom Hiddleston, a mainstay of Hogg’s films, plays the discontented son at a crossroads in his life, at odds with his mother (Kate Fahy) and sister (Lydia Leonard). His priorities are reset by landscape artist Christopher Baker (who appears as himself) and the family’s wondrous new surroundings. A NYFF51 Emerging Artists Selection. A Kino Lorber release.

Unrelated (Opens June 27 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Joanna Hogg, UK, 2007, 100m
Middle-aged, discontented Anna (Kathryn Worth) decides to spend her summer holiday apart from her husband, in Tuscany with her friends. As the days go by, she finds herself more attuned to their teenage children (Tom Hiddleston and his sister Emma). Hogg’s 2007 debut immediately established her as an unusual artist with a place-specific approach to drama. A NYFF51 Emerging Artists Selection. A Kino Lorber release.

Life Itself (Opens July 4)
Steve James, USA, 2014, 112m
As filming began at a Chicago-area hospital, Roger Ebert had long since lost the ability to speak (a 2006 operation left him without much of his jaw). But he was, regardless, a most willing participant in this emotional portrait of a life spent in cinema. This doc, made by fellow Chicagoan Steve James (whose earlier work was famously championed by Ebert), chronicles Ebert’s professional ascent from old-school newspaperman to the most famous and influential film critic of his time. Ebert’s early story, with passages taken directly from his 2011 best-selling memoir from which the film gets its title, is intercut with material shot at the hospital during the final four months of his life. It is these scenes, intimate and unflinching, that provide context for a life most wonderfully lived. A Magnolia Pictures release. 

The Kill Team (Opens July 25 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Dan Krauss, USA, 2013, 79m
In 2010, following one of the largest war crime investigations in U.S. history, Army Specialist Adam Winfield was charged with murder. His story, as chronicled in Dan Krauss’s documentary The Kill Team, serves as one of the most devastating and infuriating to emerge from the war in Afghanistan. When Winfield learned that members of his platoon were murdering Afghani civilians for sport, his attempts to inform his superiors went ignored. Labeled a “snitch” by the men in his unit, his life now in danger (or more in danger), Winfield was faced with the choice of going along with his squadmates or taking a stand to protect a civilian. Featuring interviews with many of the key participants—who speak with astonishing candor—The Kill Team is a deeply troubling portrait of men in combat, and the idea that the freedom to follow one’s conscience can be one of war’s first casualties. An Oscilloscope Laboratories release.

The Strange Little Cat (Opens August 1 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Ramon Zürcher, Germany, 2013, 72m
In the hands of masters like Jacques Tati, Lucrecia Martel, and Chantal Akerman, cinema that at first appears to merely observe and record is in fact masking intricately constructed commentaries, built from seemingly mundane experiences. In the case of The Strange Little Cat, a favorite at the 2014 New Directors/New Films festival, an extended family-dinner gathering becomes an exquisitely layered confection ready for writer-director Ramon Zürcher’s razor-sharp slicing. A mother desperately trying not to implode and her youngest daughter who explodes constantly form poles between which sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, cats and cousins weave in and around each other in the tight domestic space of a middle-class Berlin flat. Fans of Béla Tarr and Franz Kafka will find much to love, as will devotees of The Berlin School, of which this film represents a third-generation evolution. A comedic examination of the everyday that has been captivating audiences since its premiere at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival. A 2014 New Directors/New Films selection. A KimStim release.

What Now? Remind Me (Opens August 8 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Joaquim Pinto, Portugal, 2013, 164m
First-person filmmaking at its most intimate and expansive, Joaquim Pinto’s What Now? Remind Me emerged from a year in which the director—documentarian, producer, sound designer, and Lisbon film scene stalwart—endured an experimental clinical trial for HIV patients. Although the film doesn't flinch at describing the pain and despair of chronic illness, it remains above all a testament to the joys of a fully lived life, and to the inseparability of art and life. Darting between vivid scenes of the present and bittersweet recollections of the past, What Now? reveals Pinto’s day-to-day existence with his beloved husband, Nuno, and reaches back to his artistic coming of age, capturing a love of cinema that led to a wide network of friendships and collaborations. Confessional but never solipsistic, looking beyond individual experience toward history and the world, this moving film becomes an all-encompassing meditation on what it means to be alive. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival and a selection at the 51st New York Film Festival. A Cinema Guild release.

Red Hollywood (Opens August 15 — Exclusive, One Week Only)
Thom Andersen & Noël Burch, USA, 1996, 120m
Working from extensive original research, this revelatory documentary—newly remastered and re-edited—offers a unique perspective on Hollywood filmmaking from the 1930s to the 1950s, when “Red” screenwriters and directors worked within the studio system to make films that challenged issues of class, war, race, and gender. Andersen and Burch use clips from 53 different films spanning numerous genres in order to demonstrate how this network of filmmakers’ ideology affected the meaning and reception of their work, as well as interviews with many of the artists (such as Paul Jarrico, Ring Lardner, Jr., Alfred Levitt, and Abraham Polonsky) who were blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. A 2014 Art of the Real selection.

Jealousy (Opens August 22 – Exclusive, Two Weeks Only)
Philippe Garrel, France, 2013, 77m
Philippe Garrel is a true child of French cinema. His father was the great actor Maurice Garrel, he made a second home for himself in the Cinémathèque Française, he shot his first film at the age of 16, and he rode through the streets of Paris shooting newsreels of May ’68 with Godard in his red Ferrari. From the start, Garrel’s intimate, handcrafted cinema has stayed elementally close to the conditions of silent film—the unadorned beauty of faces, figures, and light—and revisited the same deeply personal themes of loss, mourning, and rejuvenation through love. In this sharp, vigorous film, shot in glorious black and white by the great Willy Kurant (Masculine Feminine), Garrel takes a fresh look at his titular subject, patiently following the professional and emotional cross-currents between two romantically entwined theater actors played by the director’s son Louis and Anna Mouglalis. With a beautiful score by Jean-Louis Aubert. A 51st New York Film Festival selection, voted best undistributed film of 2013 in Film Comment’s  year-end poll. A Distrib Films release.

Starred Up (Opens August 29)
David Mackenzie, UK, 2013, 106m
An explosive, star-making performance by Jack O’Connell lies at the center of David Mackenzie’s mesmerizing prison drama. He plays Eric, an inmate of frightening, feral rage who is transferred to an adult correctional facility despite his young age. Clashing with the system and fellow inmates, including, most notably, his estranged father, Nev (Ben Mendelsohn), Eric navigates the dehumanizing universe of life on the inside, perpetually battling for his survival, and also his soul. The film screened at Telluride, Toronto, and Rotterdam. A Tribeca Film release.

Canopy (Opens August 29 – Exclusive, One Week Only)
Aaron Wilson, Australia/Singapore, 2013, 84m
In war-torn Singapore of 1942, an Aussie fighter pilot (Khan Chittenden) is shot down and must battle for survival among the natural dangers of the jungle while avoiding the invading Japanese army. With virtually zero backstory for its hero, or much in the way of dialogue (not unlike Robert Redford’s man at sea in All Is Lost), the minimalist drama of Canopy is immediate and immersive, and a triumph of visual and aural storytelling. An auspicious debut from Australian writer/director Aaron Wilson that screened at Toronto and Rotterdam. A Monterey Media release.

Tickets are $13; $9 for Students and Seniors (62+), $8 for Film Society members. Valid ID required for all discounts. Purchase in person at the Film Society's box offices or online through filmlinc.com. All major credit cards accepted; $1.50 service charge per ticket.

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