Friday, February 17

Jan Svankmajer's Alice at MoMI

What’s Showing Today? Friday, February 17
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Featured Screening: Jan Švankmajer’s Alice at Museum of the Moving Image

Timed to coincide with the February 25 conclusion of the Surviving Life exhibition, two-weekend retrospective of the work of Czech animator Jan Švankmajer begins today at Museum of the Moving Image. Tonight’s film is his 1988 Alice, the first of his six features following short film work that had dated back to 1964.

“Unless we again begin to tell fairy tales and ghost stories before going to sleep and recounting our dreams upon waking, nothing more is to be expected of our Western civilization,” Švankmajer said shortly before making Alice. This loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland follows a 1971 short form adaptation of Through the Looking-Glass‘ Jabberwocky poem, and it’s notably darker and more macabre than other adaptations. Combining live action and stop-motion animation, it’s young protagonist explores a milieu that, in Švankmajer’s style, is a veritable Mütter Museum of decaying spaces, mud-caked mason jars, discarded bones and odd ephemera. Yet this is no cynically self-conscious revisionist take on a story so widely adapted in the span of its life; rather, this is Švankmajer’s honest attempt to portray the story on screen bereft of the fable-like morality often imposed upon it. Alice, who also narrates the story through rupturing closeups to the mouth, is much more active than she is in other versions of the tale. As Švankmajer explained in a recent interview, “So far all adaptations of Alice (including the latest by Tim Burton) present it as a fairy tale, but Carroll wrote it as a dream. And between a dream and a fairy tale there is a fundamental difference. While a fairy tale has got an educational aspect – it works with the moral of the lifted forefinger (good overcomes evil), dream, as an expression of our unconscious, uncompromisingly pursues the realisation of our most secret wishes without considering rational and moral inhibitions, because it is driven by the principle of pleasure. My Alice is a realised dream.”

The Švankmajer program continues tomorrow with a shorts program, which includes Jabberwocky, and his contemporary, mindbending riff on Faust. And if you’d like to see more, check out this insanely comprehensive, generously illustrated overview of his work on Dennis Cooper‘s blog.

Also Recommended

Unheralded action-sleaze filmmaker Joseph Zito (Bloodrage, The Prowler, Friday the 13th: The FInal Chapter) teamed up with Chuck Norris for 1985’s Invasion U.S.A., which is presented by Hammer to Nail tonight at 92YTribeca. It’s followed at 10:30 pm by Jean-Claude Van Damme in Hard Target, John Woo‘s American debut. Check out how insanely comprehensive its Wikipedia article is. Who’s moderating this shit?

William Wellman‘s The Ox-Bow Incident, frequently cited in interviews by Tom Waits as a source of wonder and inspiration, plays Film Forum. It’s not part of the two-for-one bill that includes Heroes for Sale and Wild Boys of the Road.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center‘s Film Comment Selects series starts tonight. It includes an 11:00 pm screening of Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii, whose timing strikes me as a nod to the group’s midnight-worthy head reputation and also an acknowledgement that most of their fans—especially those who frequent Lincoln Center—probably no longer have the wherewithal to stay up quite that late past bedtime. Other countercultural nods include—fuck.—a détourned Bush II-era Hollywood compilation film by J. Hoberman and James Franco‘s conceptual re-appropriation of River Phoenix outtakes from My Own Private Idaho, titled My Own Private River. Next month visionary filmmakers Nicholas Winding Refn and James Wan will appear at FSLC with their version of Svankmajer’s Alice synced up to A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

Tonight is the all-out last chance to watch Dennis Hopper loose his shit as if lost and broken in the melancholy depths of God’s tear in White Star at Spectacle Theater. Do. Not. Miss.


Beer Goggles at 92YTribeca
Series Details

  • Invasion U.S.A. (Joseph Zito). Details. 35mm. 1985. 107 min. 8:00 pm.
  • Hard Target (John Woo). Details. 35mm. 1993. 97 min. 10:30 pm.

The Wooster Group Film and Video at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details

  • Three Places in Rhode Island & Future Real Moments 1Details. 7:00 pm.
  • The Road to ImmortalityDetails. 9:00 pm.

New Voices in Black Cinema at BAMcinématek
Series Details

  • The American Dream (Jamil Walker Smith). Details. 2011. 80 min. 2:00 pm.
  • DEFORCE (Daniel Falconer). Details. Q&A. 2010. 86 min. 4:30 pm.
  • The Tested (Russell Costanzo). Details. Q&A. 2010. 107 min. 6:50 pm.
  • Lesson Before Love (Dui Jarrod). Details. Q&A. 2011. 107 min. 9:30 pm.

William Wellman at Film Forum
Series Details • Wild Boys and Heroes are 2-for-1

  • The Ox-Bow IncidentDetails. 35mm. 1943. 1:00 pm.
  • Heroes for Sale. Details. 35mm. 1933. 2:30, 5:15 and 8:00 pm.
  • Wild Boys of the Road. Details. 35mm. 1933. 3:55, 6:40 and 9:25 pm.

Film Comment Selects 2012 at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Series Details

  • Snowtown (Justin Kurzel). Details. 2011. 119 min. 1:30 pm.
  • We Have a Pope (Nanni Moretti). Details. 35mm. 2011. 104 min. 6:00 pm.
  • Transfer (Damir Lukacevic). Details. 2010. 93 min. 4:00 pm.
  • Faust (Aleksandr Sokurov). Details. 35mm. 2011. 135 min. 8:15 pm.
  • Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii (Adrian Mabel). Details. 35mm. 1971. 85 min. 11 pm.

Documentary Fortnight 2012 at MoMA
Series Details

  • Ivan & Ivana (Jeff Silva). Details. 2011. 80 min. 4:30 pm.
  • The Tiniest Place (Tatiana Huezo Sanchez). Details. 2011. 104 min. 8:00 pm.

The Films of Jan Svankmajer at Museum of the Moving Image
Series Details

  • Alice. Details. 1988. 86 min. 7:00 pm.

The Films of Roland Klick at Spectacle Theater
Series Details

  • White StarDetails. 1983. 92 min. 7:30 pm.
  • SupermarktDetails. 1974. 80 min. 9:30 pm.

L’Enfant (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) at IFC CenterDetails. 35mm. 2005. 95 min. 11:00 am.
 (Vincente Minnelli) at The Rubin Museum. Details. Intro by Fern Mallis. 1958. 119 min. 9:30 pm.
Black Butterfly (Charlotte Berlin & Leif Lindblom) at Scandinavia House. Details. 2011. 6:30 pm.


Jaws (Steven Spielberg) at IFC Center. Details. 1975. 124 min.
They Live (John Carpenter) at IFC CenterDetails. 35mm. 1988. 93 min. 12:05 am.
Eraserhead (David Lynch) at IFC CenterDetails. 1977. 97 min. 12:25 am.
The Dark Crystal (Jim Henson & Frank Oz) at Landmark Sunshine. Details. 1982. 95 min.
Street Trash (J. Michael Muro) at Nitehawk Cinema. Details. Roy Frumkes & Rocco Simonelli Q&A. 35mm. 1987. 91 min.
Kill All Redneck Pricks (William Badgley) at Nitehawk Cinema. Details. 2011. 84 min.
Beauty Queen Butcher (Jill Raz Zurborg) at Spectacle Theater. Details. Digital. 1991. 118 min.


The Forgotten Space (Allan Sekula & Noël Burch) at Anthology Film ArchivesDetails. Video. 2010. 112 min. 6:45 and 9:15 pm.
Michael (Markus Schleinzer) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 96 min. 1:15, 3:15, 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00 pm.
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 123 min. 1:15, 4:00, 6:45 and 9:10 pm.
Talking Landscape: Early Media Work, 1974-1984 (Andrea Callard) at Maysles CinemaDetails. 2012. 80 min. 7:30 pm.



Below listed North-South