The films of Todd Haynes are at once subversive and sleek. They feature glamorous movie stars, unfold in immaculate domestic spaces, and unfurl with seductive, pleasurable rhythms, yet raise provocative questions about politics, psychology, and pop culture. Haynes, who studied semiotics at Brown, gained notoriety early in his career with a Barbie-doll deconstruction of the life of Karen Carpenter (Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story). His debut feature, the New Queer Cinema milestone Poison, came under fire from the American Family Association sight unseen. A bold iconoclast, he is also a canny updater of directors like Max Ophüls, John M. Stahl, and Douglas Sirk. But his films—more than theoretical treatises or referential grab bags—are richly textured, emotionally astute, and grounded in specific, tumultuous moments in American history.
Since Haynes’s 1995 breakthrough, Safe, an ominous illness drama anchored by an extraordinary Julianne Moore, this most unpredictable of major American filmmakers has made two fractured, inside-out studies of iconic rock stars (Velvet Goldmine deals with the knotty legacy of David Bowie; I’m Not There, with that of Bob Dylan) and two magisterial updates of the Hollywood melodrama centered on women who defy rigid social orders (Far from Heaven and the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce). His latest, Carol, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s pioneering lesbian-themed romance novel The Price of Salt, is one of his boldest films, and perhaps his most moving to date. The Film Society is proud to present this comprehensive survey of Haynes’s deeply influential body of work, supplemented by a selection of his own influences: each title is paired with a film—chosen by the director himself—that informed it in some way.
20 YEARS OF KILLER FILMS
Killer Films, which Haynes’s fearless producer Christine Vachon founded in the mid-’90s, has been getting risky, forward-thinking films made for two decades. Since helping launch the New Queer Cinema—she produced Poison and Tom Kalin’s Swoon, another landmark film in the movement, before she had a company to her name—and joining forces with Pamela Koffler and Katie Roumel, Vachon has taken on a remarkable roster of movies: Boys Don’t Cry, One Hour Photo, Kids, Happiness, Postcards from America, Go Fish. This special screening of two of the company’s most epochal films celebrates their ongoing efforts to clear the stage for voices marginalized, forgotten, or unheard.
Programmed by Dennis Lim
Todd Haynes has always been a bold iconoclast as well as a canny updater of directors like Max Ophüls, John M. Stahl, and Douglas Sirk. But his subversive and sleek films are more than theoretical treatises or referential grab bags: they are richly textured, emotionally astute, and grounded in specific, tumultuous moments in American history. His latest, Carol, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s pioneering lesbian-themed romance novel The Price of Salt, is one of his boldest films, and perhaps the most moving to date. The Film Society is proud to present this comprehensive survey of Haynes’s deeply influential body of work, supplemented by a selection of his own influences.
An Evening with Todd Haynes + A Place in the Sun
Q&A with Todd HaynesJoin us for a special double-feature event with screenings of Carol and Lovers and Lollipops, plus an extended conversation with Todd Haynes.
Shelley Winters’s performance as the doomed young woman at the center of one of Stevens’s biggest runaway successes—the Dreiser adaptation won six Oscars in 1952—is a prototype for many of Haynes’s tragic heroines.
Todd Haynes: Rarities + Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Q&A with Todd Haynes at 7pm screeningA one-night-only event featuring a rare screening of Dottie Gets Spanked, a conversation with Todd Haynes, and a special surprise.
Introduction by Todd Haynes on 11/21Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert’s manic, hysterical assault on American celebrity culture is a true oddity—an X-rated, tonally berserk black comedy commissioned when a major studio decided to fund a parody of one of its own films—and a clear antecedent to Haynes’s three films about the perils and ecstasies of fame.
20 Years of Killer Films
Since helping launch the New Queer Cinema—she produced Poison and Tom Kalin’s Swoon—and joining forces with Pamela Koffler and Katie Roumel, Christine Vachon has been getting risky, forward-thinking films made for two decades. This special screening of two of Killer Films’ most epochal films celebrates their ongoing efforts to clear the stage for voices marginalized, forgotten, or unheard.
Q&A with Christine Vachon & Pamela KofflerKimberly Peirce’s wrenching re-creation of the events leading up to a widely publicized hate crime—the rape and murder of a Nebraska trans man in 1993—was one of Killer Films’ major critical and popular successes.
Intro by Mary Harron and special guestsIn June 1968, Valerie Solanas shot America’s most famous artist. Harron’s film follows the entry of this woman—magnetically played by Lili Taylor—into, and out of, Warhol’s rarified inner circle.
Far from Heaven + The Reckless Moment
The last of the exquisite, turbulent, gaspingly moving melodramas that Max Ophüls made in the U.S. after World War II is this dark melodrama, a suburban nightmare that occupies strikingly Haynesian territory.
I’m Not There and Assassins: A Film Concerning Rimbaud + Eat the Document
How do you film the life of an artist as protean, elusive, surprising, and heavily mythologized as Bob Dylan? Haynes’s biopic, in which six actors take turns embodying the singer, considers that question and swallows it whole. An NYFF45 Selection.
Bob Dylan’s ultimate cinematic testament—never officially released—is this blissful, digressive chronicle of his 1966 UK tour with The Hawks (soon to be The Band) immediately following his debilitating motorcycle accident. Screening with: Assassins: A Film Concerning Rimbaud (Todd Haynes, 43m).
Mildred Pierce + Klute
Alan J. Pakula (All the President’s Men) assembled a remarkable team of collaborators for this seamy underworld thriller about a small-town Pennsylvania PI (Donald Sutherland) drawn into the web of intrigue and murder surrounding a New York call girl (Jane Fonda).
Poison + Fox and His Friends
None of Haynes’s films have been so instantly, visibly influential as his groundbreaking feature debut: an intercut trio of explicitly gay-themed stories saturated with the angry, death-haunted, theory-mad atmosphere of early-’90s LGBT culture. Screening with Decodings (Michael Wallin, 15m).
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, whose desperate, operatic movies are one of Haynes’s formative influences, himself starred in this bleak moral fable, one of the great tragedies of European cinema. An NYFF13 Selection.
Safe + Imitation of Life
Q&A with Todd Haynes on 11/20The unnamed disease afflicting the housewife at the center of Haynes’s indelible AIDS allegory—widely considered one of his masterpieces—has taken on new, unexpected meanings since the film’s release, but nothing has changed the uncanny precision of its setting, look, and tone.
Velvet Goldmine + Performance
Haynes’s delirious rock opera about a journalist (Christian Bale) hired to reconstruct the sordid life story of the failed glam star (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) he’d idolized as a young man is as colorful, noisy, and chaotic as Safe had been clinically restrained. An NYFF36 Selection.
With its narrative logic and polymorphous sexual dynamics, this devilish cult classic from Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell starring James Fox and Mick Jagger would become a foundational text for generations of glam films.
Special Event Pricing: An Evening With Todd Haynes + Todd Haynes: Rarities
$20 – Member, Student & Senior
$25 – General Public
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