Coming Attractions in Film: May 2013 — Updated

May is in full bloom. Starting just this week there is the LGBT Festival, screenings of three silent classics with live accompaniment, the beginning of the Harvard New American Black Cinema Series, and two Boston Jewish Film Festival encores.

By Tim Jackson.

Buster Keaton in “Our Hospitality” — screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre this month.

Melting Away. At the West Newton Cinema, 7 p.m., May 2.

The Boston Jewish Film Festival presents a trailblazing feature: the first Israeli film about a transgender youth. A panel discussion featuring parents of transgender and queer children follows.

LGBT Film Festival. May 2–12 at various venues. Check full schedule for times and locations.

The festival opens at the Institute of Contemporary Art on May 2nd with Bye Bye Blondie by Baise-moi director Virginie Despentes. It moves to the Brattle Theatre for most of the rest of the screenings, aside from a special showing on Saturday May 4th at 7 p.m. of I Am Divine at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The film is about the incomparable John Waters performer known as Divine. There will be a guest appearance by Mink Stole, star of many John Waters films. Director Jeffrey Schwarz will attend the screening. It is a full, varied, and wonderfully colorful line-up of cinema.

The Oyster Princess. At the Goethe-Institut Boston, 170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA, May 5, 5 p.m.

The Goethe-Institut Boston presents a combined concert and screening of Ernst Lubitsch’s uproariously funny, silent comedy Die Austernprinzessin (The Oyster Princess, 1919), the story of a nouveau riche, American cannery owner who takes his daughter to Europe for some polishing. She ends up acquiring aristocratic trappings by way of marriage to an impoverished prince. During the wedding, “a foxtrot epidemic breaks out.” The restored print will be shown with the live musical accompaniment provided by members of the Mont Alto Orchestra, a five-piece chamber ensemble that revives repertoire and scoring techniques at festivals across the country.

Danny Glover in “To Sleep with Anger” — at the Harvard Film Archives this month.

To Sleep With Anger. At Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA, May 5, 7 p.m.

The Archives begins an important series on New American Black Cinema with this drama from 1990, directed by the under recognized Charles Burnett and featuring Danny Glover. Burnett fashions a “kind of cinematic magic realism by infusing modern-day melodrama with elements from the trickster narratives of African American folklore and even bits of the horror film” and a “complex meditation on the precarious place of the Black bourgeoisie in American society.”

Our Hospitality. At Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA, May 6, 7 p.m.

Another performance from the superb Berklee Silent Film Orchestra under the direction of professor Sheldon Mirowitz of the Berklee Film Scoring Department. This time around the remarkable, young composers perform their collaborative original score to a Buster Keaton masterpiece about youthful dreamer Willie McKay, who travels westward on a rickety locomotive to claim his birthright, only to find that his inheritance is a shack. The film costars Keaton’s real-life wife Natalie Talmadge and contains brilliant slapstick set pieces that involve an exploding dam, raging waterfalls, and a primitive steam engine. Keaton supervised the design and construction of the amazing train.

Alice Taglioni and Patrick Bruel star in “Paris-Manhattan.”

Paris-Manhattan. At the West Newton Cinema, May 8, 7 p.m.

The Boston Jewish Film Festival presents this French romantic comedy, which focuses on a young woman whose choices in life and love are shaped by the philosophies of her favorite director, Woody Allen, who makes a cameo. The filmmakers and the West Newton Cinema are generously waiving their fees: all proceeds from this screening will go to One Fund Boston to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

The Thief of Bagdad. At The Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA, May 12.

A new series of silent classic films accompanied by the organ music of Jeff Rapsis begins with the eye-popping Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckler, Thief of Baghdad, directed by Raoul Walsh. For those who have never seen Fairbanks, this is a great opportunity to see one of the masters of the adventure genre on the big screen. Rapsis was a big hit earlier in the season with his exciting keyboard improvisations for Harold Lloyd’s silent comedy Girl Shy.

The Source Family At Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA

I have been waiting some time for this film. For fans of ’60s culture this is a wild, strange, and indispensable story: “The Source Family was a radical experiment in ’70s utopian living. Their outlandish style, popular health food restaurant, rock band, and beautiful women made them the darlings of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip; but their outsider ideals and the unconventional behavior of their spiritual leader, Father Yod, caused controversy with local authorities. They fled to Hawaii, leading to their dramatic demise.”

Fishing With John at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA., May 13.

New York hipster, John Lurie, painter, musician (the Lounge Lizards) became widely known after his star turn in the Jim Jarmusch film, Stranger than Paradise. He has produced a mock documentary television series called Fishing with John, where, while fishing in obscure locations, he interviewed guests, including Dennis Hopper, Tom Waits, and Willem Dafoe. This is a strange and wonderful show. Lurie will screen several episodes and discuss his work.

A scene from the documentary “Ten Minutes Older” — part of the Mirror Stage series

Mirror Stage , at the Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA., May 13.

Balagan, the venerable experimental film series, continues its series with a gathering of movies based on the idea of Lacan’s ‘mirror stage’ and what the concept says about identity. The theme is described in this way: “we ponder the screen, the stage and the curtains; as we gaze into the spectators’ faces and observe their body language — entranced or impatient — we see a reflection of ourselves. So we enter Lacan’s “mirror stage”: the anxious moment of catching sight of oneself for the first time and beginning to grasp the reality of one’s existence.”

2 Seconds at Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA., May 14.

Biking enthusiasts will no doubt gather for this free screening of the French Canadian movie 2 Seconds (1980), a film that meditates (a lot) on the mystique of bicycling: “Pixie-ish lesbian Laurie is a professional mountain bike racer who is in crisis when she loses both a pivotal bike race and her career. Driven and passionate about cycling, she moves to Montreal to work as a bike courier where she befriends an older Italian cyclist who helps her understand life beyond the bike.”

The Second November (Nëntori i Dytë), at the Boston Public Library’s Rabb Auditorium, Boston, MA., May 18.

During the production of this film Albania entered one of the darkest periods in its fifty years of Marxist rule. Purges and arrests of government officials and their families became routine. The movie has rarely been shown outside of Albania: it is “directed by Viktor Gjika, one of the most distinguished figures in Albanian cinema and stars Alexsander ‘Sander’ Prosi in his towering performance as the great patriot, Ismail Qemal Vlora.” This free screening marks the beginning of a restoration effort that will help preserve a film heritage that is in grave danger.

Samuri Saturdays. Museum of Fine Arts. Boston

The MFA continues its Saturday screenings of great Samurai Classics. All the films screen on 35mm and the lineup includes such cinematic greats as Taboo, Yojimbo, Throne of Blood, Rashoman, and, of course, Akira Kurosawa’s epic The Seven Samurai (May 23 at 6 p.m.), which demands to be seen on a big screen.

A scene from the German Expressionist silent film “From Morning to Midnight”

From Morning to Midnight, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA., May 25.

Boston’s premier silent film ensemble, The Alloy Orchestra, performs its score for a German masterpiece, a film version of one of the most frequently performed works of Expressionist theatre. The story revolves around a cashier in a small bank who embezzles 60,000 marks and absconds to Berlin, where his attempts to attain transcendence via sport, romance, and religion are continually frustrated. “Characterized by its emphasis on the artist’s subjective world view, Expressionism demanded the liberation of the human spirit from the constraints of industrial capitalism. As Germany’s bourgeois society destroyed and then violently reasserted itself, the Expressionists sought new directions appropriate to the postwar environment.” (Cineaste Magazine)

Posted in , ,

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts