The full lineup of repertory programs and festivals for the summer season at the Film Society of Lincoln Center has been announced, including a retrospective on the classic musicals of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers; a two-week series focusing on the extraordinary work of female cinematographers from around the world; a survey on works filmed on the mythic Pixelvision camera; and a tribute to Germaine Dulac, a pioneering figure of French avant-garde cinema. In addition, the Film Society will present its annual festivals New York Asian Film Festival, Dance on Camera, and Scary Movies. More details and series dates are listed below.
SUMMER 2018 FESTIVAL AND REPERTORY LINEUP
New York Asian Film Festival
June 29-July 12
The seventeenth edition of the New York Asian Film Festival is nearly upon us. This annual survey of essential—and often wild—films is New York’s most exhaustive selection of titles from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and other countries across Southeast Asia. Programmed and operated by Subway Cinema, NYAFF features contemporary premieres and classic titles, plus a host of in-person appearances and Q&As with up-and-coming and established stars and auteurs.
Fred and Ginger
In 1930, three years before Fred Astaire had even appeared on film, writer Robert Benchley had already proclaimed him “the greatest tap dancer in the world.” By the time Flying Down to Rio, his second film and first real breakthrough, opened in 1933, Astaire, along with his sister Adele, had already been hailed as a sensation of the New York and London stages. Ginger Rogers, on the other hand, though already several years into a successful movie acting career, had never danced with a partner before when they were paired on Rio. The rest is history: over nine years, Fred and Ginger would make ten movies together, immortalized as icons for their dazzlingly fleet-footed choreography and their singularly charming onscreen chemistry. It was an artistic partnership that would revolutionize and reimagine the Hollywood musical, reshaping the genre’s legacy for generations to come. Eighty-five years after their first collaboration, the Film Society is delighted to present a three-day complete retrospective of their shared oeuvre. Organized by Lesli Klainberg and Maddie Whittle.
Dance on Camera
The venerable and vibrant Dance on Camera Festival celebrates its 46th edition—for the first time in the summer—with a wide-ranging selection of 16 programs over five days. A treat for dance lovers of all stripes, the festival offers everything from tap to classical ballet to mime, in films from 17 countries, including documentaries that illuminate the artistry of both legendary choreographers (Jerome Robbins, Merce Cunningham) and current masters (Lucinda Childs, Trey McIntyre), and shorts programs that express the diversity of contemporary dance filmmaking. And for the pièce de résistance: Spike Jonze has curated a program of his own shorts especially for this festival, some featuring never-before-seen footage.
The Female Gaze
July 26-August 9
This year, Mudbound DP Rachel Morrison made history as the first woman nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar, a triumph that also underscored the troubling issue of gender inequality in the film industry. Few jobs on a movie set have been as historically closed to women as that of cinematographer—the persistence of the term “cameraman” says it all. Despite this lack of representation, trailblazing women have left their mark on the field through extraordinary artistry and profound vision. As seen through their eyes, films by directors like Claire Denis, Jacques Rivette, Chantal Akerman, Ryan Coogler, and Lucrecia Martel are immeasurably richer, deeper, and more wondrous. Featuring in-person appearances, this international two-week series spotlights the amazing work of such accomplished female cinematographers as Maryse Alberti, Agnès Godard, Ellen Kuras, Natasha Braier, Kirsten Johnson, and Babette Mangolte, while also posing the question: is there such a thing as the “Female Gaze” at all? Organized by Florence Almozini, Tyler Wilson, and Maddie Whittle.
Flat Is Beautiful: The Strange Case of Pixelvision
“Picture what your kids can do with the new PXL-2000.” So went the 1987 advertising campaign for Fisher-Price’s latest offering, a lightweight plastic camcorder conceived specifically for children. Invented by James Wickstead, the device allowed for 11 minutes of footage recorded directly onto a standard audio cassette. Sales proved disappointing; Pixelvision would soon be abandoned by its parent company, and production on new cameras halted after a year. Yet the story of the PXL-2000 was just beginning. Though it failed as a plaything, Pixelvision was taken up by a range of experimental auteurs drawn to its distinctive—grainy, planar, colorless—textures, including Michael Almereyda, who made several feature-length projects with the camera; and a teenage Sadie Benning, who got one for Christmas from their filmmaker father James in 1988, and used it to create intimate studies of burgeoning queer identity. This survey looks back on this curious, fertile episode of media history, showcasing efforts by Almereyda, Benning, Cecilia Dougherty, Peggy Ahwesh, Alex Bag, Joe Gibbons, Richard Linklater, Elisabeth Subrin, and others. While the works varied notably in approach, such directors found inspired ways to deploy the contraption, discovering aesthetic possibility in the very limitations of its design. Organized by Thomas Beard.
Join the Film Society of Lincoln Center for the eleventh edition of Scary Movies. Returning to summer for a second year, New York City’s top horror festival—bringing you the genre’s best from around the globe—offers an exhilarating week of hair-raising premieres and rediscoveries, themed parties, guest appearances, and more. Organized by Rufus de Rham and Laura Kern.
Germaine Dulac was a feminist and socialist artist and thinker of the 1920s and ’30s whose bold experimentation helped legitimize cinema as an art form that would be on the same footing as painting, dance, theater, and music. Best known for The Seashell and the Clergyman, her 1927 collaboration with Antonin Artaud, Dulac straddled the worlds of commercial and experimental cinema, playing with narration, montage, and visual effects, and making the case, in both films and writing, for a “Pure Cinema” approach that took full advantage of the medium’s unique properties. For her, only cinema was up to the task of capturing the spirit of a generation scarred by World War I, who were emancipated by the new freedoms of the 1920s, and whose daily lives had been shaped irreversibly by industrialization and social and cultural modernity. The Film Society is pleased to present a survey of work by this pioneering figure of French avant-garde cinema. Organized by Dan Sullivan and Amélie Garin-Davet.
The Power of the Powerless: Banned Films from the Czechoslovak New Wave
The Czechoslovak New Wave was one of the most radical and brilliant bursts of creativity in film history. The political thaw that allowed it to flourish even within a totalitarian state came to an abrupt end with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Despite stifling restrictions, an intrepid generation of filmmakers continued to challenge Communist censorship by creating art that was provocative, satirical, and deeply critical of authoritarianism. The Czechoslovak Communist government responded the only way it knew how: by banning these works outright, resulting in many works that went unseen in their home country for decades. In anticipation of Václav Havel Day in New York City on September 28—the Czech Republic’s national Statehood Day—join us for another selection of subversive, savagely funny, dark, and defiant films—The Case for the New Hangman (1969), Daisies (1966), The End of a Priest (1969), and Fruits of Paradise (1969), and a tribute to the late Milos Forman with a special screening of Black Peter (1964)—which stand as enduring testaments to the power and necessity of dissident art. Presented in collaboration with the Czech Center New York. Organized by Florence Almozini and Tyler Wilson.