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Metrograph, New York City’s Newest Indie Theater, Unveils Impressive First Slate of Programming

Written by on January 20, 2016 

Vivre sa Vie

Each weekend we highlight the best repertory programming that New York City has to offer, and it’s about to get even better. Opening on February 19th at 7 Ludlow Street on the Lower East Side is Metrograph, the city’s newest indie movie theater. Sporting two screens, they’ve announced their first slate, which includes retrospectives for Fassbinder, Wiseman, Eustache, and more, special programs such as an ode to the moviegoing experience, and new independent features that we’ve admired on the festival circuit (including Afternoon, Office 3D, and Measure of a Man).

Artistic and Programming Director Jacob Perlin says in a press release, “Jean Eustache in a Rocky t-shirt. This is the image we had in mind while making this first calendar. Great cinema is there, wherever you can find it. The dismissed film now recognized as a classic, the forgotten box-office hit newly resurrected, the high and the low, the refined and the rough. We want to revive the joy of going to the movies, in a newly designed venue that will be welcoming to all filmgoers for a breezy afternoon matinee, a Saturday night out at the movies, a day-long epic binge, or a late-night marathon—all are waiting for you through the doors of Metrograph.”

Check it out below and follow the official site for more details, where more programming will be announced soon. We’ll see you at the movies.

Surrender to the Screen: Watching the Moviegoing Experience (March 4-10)One of the essential joys of going to the movies is ritual: the lights dimming, the first beam of light on the screen, the familiar fanfare or logo (the arrow and target to announce A Production of the Archers), sitting in the dark with a roomful of strangers, waiting to be transported. Susan Sontag wrote of “the experience of surrender to, of being transported by, what was on the screen.” As we open Metrograph, we invite you to experience—or re-experience—films that bestow this singular magic, films that kidnap us into the theater and transport us to the world of filmgoing. In these movies, people watch and we watch them.

Titles include: The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies, 1992), Vivre sa Vie (Jean-Luc Godard, 1962), Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang, 2003), Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993), Desperately Seeking Susan (Susan Seidelman, 1985), Variety (Bette Gordon, 1983), Demons (Lamberto Bava, 1985) and more.

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Jean Eustache (March 9-17)
The giants of film history that defined the cinema-changing Nouvelle Vague were undeniable: Godard, Truffaut, Varda, Demy, Chabrol. But the generation of filmmakers who followed them—children of May ’68—produced movies as provocative and thrilling as anything seen in any film epoch. The brilliant Jean Eustache is a towering figure of this period, making intellectually searching, unpredictable films that uncovered sharp and raw truths about human nature. His most towering work, The Mother and the Whore (1973), is a rightfully beloved epic of generational angst, but his entire oeuvre—narratives, experimental documentaries, essay films, and interviews—collected here for the first time in New York in over a decade, evinces a mastery of the form, an idiosyncratic, naturalistic humor, and an inquisitive artistic nature.

Extended engagements of Eustache’s two features The Mother and the Whore (1973) and Mes Petites Amoureuses (1974), along with Les Mauvaises Fréquentations (1963), Santa Claus Has Blue Eyes (1967) and more rare imported prints.

Presented with support from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and Institut Français. Special thanks to Amélie Garin Davet, Mathieu Fournet, and Françoise Lebrun.

The Student Nurses (One Week Revival: March 11-17)
The sole female filmmaker in a renowned boys’ club, Stephanie Rothman made a small, but significant series of subversive exploitation films. One of her greatest films is the ensemble drama The Student Nurses, which forgoes cheap psychologizing and sexual gratuity for a nuanced take on the professional and personal options faced by women. Though she was recognized at the time by some astute critics, it’s only recently that Rothman’s work has been unequivocally acknowledged for what it is: incisive, funny, and bursting with ideas, and a crucial counter to the overwhelmingly male vision of the American seventies. We’re pleased to present The Student Nurses in a new 35mm print from Academy Film Archives, with support from the Women’s Film Preservation Fund and Cinema Conservancy.

Welcome to Metrograph: A-F (March 16 – April 21)
At Metrograph, you will experience all kinds of movies. What will unite them all is—simply—that we believe in them, and we think they are films you should see. This is the first installment in a year-long, alphabetically ordered series that offers films we consider must-sees; a pinnacle of a filmmaker’s career or an overlooked, demands-reconsideration masterpiece. Call it a very unofficial “Metrograph canon,” with one film only per director. A mid-career Scorsese, a left-field Assayas, documentary shorts by must-know filmmaker Madeline Anderson, a classic noir by John Farrow, or Andy Warhol’s double-system projected The Chelsea Girls… These are the films we couldn’t wait to show, so we had to create a series to justify it.

Titles include: The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese, 1993), Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975), The Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau, 1932), Chelsea Girls (Andy Warhol, 1966, image above), The Clock (Vincente Minnelli, 1945), Comrades: Almost A Love Story (Peter Chan, 1996), Deux fois (Jackie Raynal, 1968), The Devil Probably (Robert Bresson, 1977), Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Rouben Mamoulian, 1931),Equinox Flower (Yasujiro Ozu, 1958), and more. All films on 35mm or 16mm.

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A Space Program (One Week Engagement: March 18-24)
World-renowned contemporary artist Tom Sachs transformed New York’s Park Avenue Armory into a space station, immersing visitors into a large-scale installation, titled “Space Program 2.0. Mars.” In this new documentary, co-directors Sachs and Van Neistat give viewers intimate glimpses into the production of this beautiful and playful world, following the crew as they embark on a risky mission to the red planet. A Space Program is a vivid work of art on its own terms.

Old and Improved (Sundays Beginning March 20)
Every Sunday starting March 20, we’re pleased to present a new preservation or restoration. In some cases, these screenings mark the first times these prints have shown to the public. Titles include Dorothy Arzner’s Craig’s Wife (1936), Garson Kanin’s My Favorite Wife (1940), Josef von Sternberg’s Crime and Punishment (1935), Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Mysterious Object at Noon (2000), Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki (1973), and Joyce Chopra’s  Joyce at 34 (1972) plus shorts from New York’s Youth Film Distribution Center. All titles on 35mm or 16mm.

Three Wiseman (March 25 – April 14)
Among the greatest and most influential documentary filmmakers who ever lived, Frederick Wiseman is more than just a capturer of reality on screen: he’s a conjurer of unforgettable images and a true artist, chronicling the last half century of American life. Still going strong at age 85 (his latest film, In Jackson Heights, was one of the very best of 2015), Wiseman began his career in the late sixties. We’re proud to show three of his earliest masterpieces—Titicut Follies (1967), High School (1968), and Hospital (1970)— in new 35mm prints. The films were preserved by the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center from original camera negatives in the Zipporah Films Collection.

Office 3D (One Week Engagement: March 25-31)
Hugely popular Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To, primarily known for his action movies, surprised and delighted his fans this past year with the remarkable Office, a stylish, buoyant musical shot in 3D featuring grand, eye-popping set design reminiscent of Jacques Tati’s classic Playtime. Adapted from her own stage play by Sylvia Chang, who also costars, Office takes place in an austere yet exquisitely realized high-rise, where two new assistants attempt to climb the corporate ladder and please the head honcho (played by the imperious Chang). Office received a limited New York release in 2015, and has been steadily accruing a major cult following ever since. Metrograph is thrilled to bring back this unmissable cinematic treat—also starring the legendary Chow Yun-Fat—in a special week-long run.

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Afternoon (One Week Engagement: April 1-7)
Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang (The River, What Time Is It There?), one of the most tirelessly brilliant filmmakers in the world, sits down for an extended conversation with his long-time muse Lee Kang-sheng, in a ramshackle rural house to discuss all manner of things professional and very personal. True Tsai fans, prepare to bliss out.

The Measure of a Man and Vincent London Retrospective (One Week Engagement: April 15-21)
One of the most robust and dynamic actors currently working in French cinema, Vincent Lindon officially arrived as a force to be reckoned with on the international stage when he won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 for The Measure of a Man. Vincent Lindon is subtly overwhelming as unemployed everyman Thierry, who, after losing his factory job, must submit to a series of humiliating ordeals in his search for work. After numerous dead ends, Skype interviews, ritualized personal critiques by fellow jobseekers, Thierry finds a job, which proves no less soul-sucking. Brizé’s drama is powerful and moving depiction of our contemporary economic reality.

On the occasion of the release of The Measure of a Man, we’re pleased to present a selection of films that showcase four of his greatest performances. Each of them uncovers a different facet of this generous and vital leading man, a tough-guy and a romantic hero in equal measure. Films include Seventh Heaven (1997), Friday Night (2002), Pater (2007), and Bastards (2013)

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Los Sures (One Week Engagement: April 15-21)
Thirty years ago, South Williamsburg was known as “Los Sures,” a place imbued with vibrant life, a community of close-knit Puerto Rican and Dominican families living amidst everyday economic struggle. Today, with the neighborhood fully gentrified, it feels vital to remember this lost world, and Diego Echeverria’s essential documentary, shot in the early eighties on 16mm, brings it all back to life, through the eyes of five different residents. Rediscovered in 2007, the film has become a cornerstone program of the Williamsburg arts nonprofit Union Docs, which not only restored the film but in 2015 began the “Living Los Sures” historical memory project, which helps fund filmmakers in continuing to document the neighborhood.

Hockney (One Week Engagement: April 22-28)
For the first time, the brilliant artist David Hockney has given us access to his personal archive of photographs and home movies; the result is an unparalleled visual diary of his life. Randall Wright’s new documentary Hockney weaves together a portrait of the multifaceted artist from this intimate, never-before-seen footage and frank interviews with close friends. One of the great surviving icons of the 1960s, Hockney started his career with nearly instant success, but in private he has struggled with his art, relationships, and the tragedy of AIDS, making his optimism and sense of adventure truly uplifting. Hockney is funny, inspiring, bold, and visionary, the definitive exploration of one the most significant artists of his generation.

Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands (One Week Theatrical Engagement: (April 29 – May 5)
In the new documentary Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands, writer and filmmaker Christian Braad Thomsen delves into the life and work of singular New German cinema bad-boy artist Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starting with incredible footage of Fassbinder winning the grand prize at the 1969 Berlin Film Festival for his debut feature Love Is Colder Than Death—amidst boos and catcalls. Official Selection of the 2015 Berlin Film Festival.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Top Ten Films on 35mm (April 22-28) 
As a countdown to our release of this probing, entertaining new film, we present Fassbinder’s expectedly idiosyncratic Top 10, as published in 1982, a year before his death. What a lineup: we start with #1 of all time, Luchino Visconti’s decadent The Damned (1969) and then count down the rest— The Naked and the Dead (Raoul Walsh, 1958), Lola Montes (Max Ophuls, 1955), Flamingo Road (Michael Curtiz, 1949), Salò (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 975), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953),  Dishonored (Josef von Sternberg, 1931), The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955), Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954), and The Red Snowball Tree (Vasiliy Shukshin, 1971).

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What do you think of the first slate?


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