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Thursday, March 29

Jim Davis at Anthology Film Archives

What’s Showing Today? Thursday, March 29
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Featured Screening: Jim Davis at Anthology Film Archives

Tonight Robert Haller presents a series of films by Jim Davis preserved by Anthology Film Archives. The work, all displayed from 16mm, ranges from 1950 to 1971. Haller, the director of AFA’s library collections, has been researching Davis’s films and other artworks and is writing an upcoming book about his work.

The West Virginia-born Davis began his studies at Princeton and initially began as a painter working on glass and plastic. After recovering from an illness, he became fascinated with the movement of light passing through his window and began to orchestrate his own live “visual chamber music” with a masterful control of light through reflective, refractive devices of his own creation. Initially intending to record these performances on film, he instead became a filmmaker in his own right. They aren’t meant to be intellectualized, though Davis, a devotee of Einstein’s theories of space, time, gravity and electro-magnetic phenomena, allowed for connections between his symphonies of light and advancements in physics and our growing understanding of the universe. Lacking an optical printer, he made many of the films through multiple passes. He explained both aspects of his process in 1957 remarks made at the Museum of the Modern Art, which are presented on Robert Haller’s website:

In my own abstract films the forms of color are produced by means of intercepting light rays–sometimes natural light and sometimes artificial light– instead of by “animation.” These abstract forms are entirely artificially invented and consciously controlled by a variety of devices. Having produced these moving, changing forms of color by the use of light–they are then recorded by the motion-picture camera.

They are further controlled in the editing. In this final stage these forms are organized in sequences very similar to the way the composer organizes the artificially invented sounds of music. As in music–the intent here is to stimulate the imagination and the emotions and thereby communicate abstract ideas–rather than to present facts or to tell a story. This is a kind of music made to be looked at–or a kind of abstract dance. There is a conscious attempt to invent forms which suggest–in wholly nonscientific terms–the new and unfamiliar world which modern science is revealing.

Tonight’s Jim Davis screening begins at 7:00 pm.

Also Noted

Tonight

CUNY’s Global Film Series on Women’s Human Rights begins today, and this evening DCTV hosts a FREE 7:30 pm screening of Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity. This documentary chronicles the efforts of an organized group of Grandmothers seeking to find the missing children which were stripped from their mothers, who had been tortured and killed, and turned over to supporters of the military regime during the Argentinian Dirty War–a horrific run of state-sponsored, U.S.-backed terrorism lasting 1976 to 1983 (when Gerald Ford left office there was a minor cessation during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, after which time Ronald Reagan announced Carter’s human rights condemnations had weakened ties with allies against Communism and reinstated taxpayer funding for Argentinian martial terrorism—in total, nearly $150,000,000). As the description elaborates: “These women are dedicated to finding their missing grandchildren, the babies who were taken from pregnant women during the Dirty War. The women were captured and murdered and their babies were given to supporters of the military regime. Now in their 20s and 30s, these ‘lost’ grandchildren have no knowledge of their past or of their true identities. Las Abuelas is trying to change that. Through direct interviews with Las Abuelas, the found grandchildren, and other members of their families and communities, Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity seeks to tell the story as it is still unfolding, and bring the historical and cultural context that is needed to help people around the world understand the impact that such a crisis has for people of many different generations.” Director C.A. Tuggle will be in attendance for discussion, and the event is preceded by a reception at 7:00 pm.

Directors Nina Rosenblum and Daniel Allentuck are at IFC Center to present a sneak preview of Ordinary Miracles: The Photo League’s New York. The documentary chronicles the storied NY photo co-op founded by Sol Libohn and Sid Gorssman, which sprouted an impressive roster of socially and artistically progressive photographers including Morris Engle, Arthur Leipzig, Helen Levitt, Weegee, Ansel Adams, Ruth Orkin, Margaret Bourke-White, Richard Avedon and more. As the film description affirms, “no other organization, with the exception of the Farm Security Administration (most of whose members also belonged tothe Photo League), was more important–or had a more lasting influence on American photography.” Given its roots in the Berlin-based Communist association Workers International Relief, the league was eventually destroyed by the United States Government’s red scare—notably, one of its members, sub-mediocre photographer Angela Calomiris, had in fact been an FBI plant within the CPUSA from 1942 to 1949, and her testimony helped seal the Photo League’s fate along with those of her supposed sisters in the lesbian community on whom she also informed. She quickly made a bald-faced, craven attempt to parlay this into celebrity via book and film deals. Calomiris was very soon forgotten and died in Mexico while the esteem of the Photo League as an organization and as a body of artwork continues to grow. Don’t fink!

Tonight 92YTribeca features 2008’s The House Bunny, the fictional tale of a Playboy Bunny who is booted out of the mansion and finds a new lease on life as the house other of an outcast sorority. Feminist film journal Joans Digest‘s publisher Miriam Bale is a great champion of the film as, “intentional or not, . . . an original and affirmative examination of diverse manifestations of maternal love and sisterhood” that is “also very funny.” She moderates a post-screening panel that includes Melissa Anderson of The Village Voice, TIME arts editor Jessica Winter, Girl Power author Marisa Meltzer and New Yorker cartoonist Tad Friend.

There are several Screen Slate readers who would never forgive me if I neglected to call attention to seminal Charles Bronson bayou-borne bare-knuckle boxing pic Hard Times, which also marks the directing debut of Walter Hill. That’s 4:30, 6:50 and 9:30 today at BAMCinématek. The previously scheduled “cinemachat” with Elliott Stein has been cancelled.

The final Screen Slate-presented showings of Morning Patrol and A Dream Come True have been CANCELLED as Spectacle Theater takes a break to make a few minor but helpful improvements. The theater re-opens Saturday for the out-of-this-world Spectacle Space Jam Sci-Fi Marathon before transitioning to April’s World of Darkness international noir series. I’m presenting another Greek film, O Drakos, and a totally-off-the-radar brutal and elegiac Japanese revenge picture I, The Executioner. Other titles in the series include The Red Light Bandit, D.O.A., PaniqueCairo Station and Scarlet Street. Check out a stunning series trailer here.

Today

New Directors/New Films at Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA

Sleepwalking: The Films of Sara Driver/Sara Driver Selects at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details

  • Cat People (Jacques Tourneur). Details. 35mm. 1942. 73 min. 7:30 pm.
  • You Are Not IDetails. Actress Suzanne Fletcher in attendance. 16mm. 1981. 48 min. 9:15 pm.

15 For 15: Celebrating Rialto Pictures at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Series Details

  • It Always Rains on Sunday (Robert Hamer). Details. 35mm. 1947. 92 min. 1:30 pm.
  • Diva (Jean-Jacques Beineix). Details. 35mm. 1981. 117 min. 3:30 pm.

La Vita e Cinema: The Films of Nanni Moretti at IFC Center
Series Details

  • Ecce Bombo. Details. 35mm. 1978. 103 min. 7:00 pm.
  • Sweet Dreams. Details. 35mm. 1981. 105 min. 9:15 pm.

Cruel and Unusual Comedy, Part 3: Selections from the Eye Film Institute at MoMA
Series Details

  • Domestic AbuseDetails. 1906-1913. 42 min. 1:30 pm.

Contemporary Galleries: 1980-Now at MoMA
Series Details

  • Faust 3: Candida Albacore and Faust 4 (Stan Brakhage). Details. 1988-1989. 64 min. 3:00 pm.

Nearly Distant Futures at Spectacle Theater
Series Details

  • Morning Patrol (Nikos Nikolaidis). Details. Digital. 1987. 104 min. 7:30 pm.
  • A Dream Come True (René Laloux & Moebius) with Universe (Colin Low & Roman Kroitor). Details. With a special Dennis Hopper surprise. 1960/1963. 107 min. 9:30 pm.

Whitney Biennial 2012 at The Whitney Museum
Series Details • Through May 27

  • Laida Lertxundi ProgramDetails. 16mm. 2007-2011. 36 min. Repeats hourly from Noon to 5:00 pm.

The House Bunny (Fred Wolf) at 92YTribecaDetails. Followed by panel discussion with Tad Friend, Melissa Anderson, Jessica Winter, Marisa Meltzer and Miriam Bale. 35mm. 2008. 97 min. 7:30 pm.
Jim Davis and AFA at Anthology Film Archives. Details. 16mm. 1950-1971. 60 min. 7:00 pm.
Hard Times (Walter Hill) at BAMCinématek. Details. Cinema chat with Elliott Stein at 6:50 pm CANCELLED. 35mm. 1975. 93 min. 4:30, 6:50 and 9:30 pm.
Saturday Night Fever (John Badham) at Chelsea ClearviewDetails. Early show introduced by drag queen Hedda Lettuce. 1977. 118 min. 7:00 and 9:30 pm.
Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (C.A. Tuggle) at DCTV. Details. Tuggle in attendance. 2012. 7:30 pm.
Ordinary Miracles: The Photo League’s New York (Nina Rosenblum & Daniel Allentuck) at IFC Center. Details. Directors in attendance. 2012. 78 min. 8:00 pm.
Woman Thou Art Loosened!: On the 7th Day (Neema Barnette) at Museum of the Moving Image. Details. 2012. 101 min. 7:00 pm.

OPENING: Shannon Plumb & Marianna Rothen “Last Seduction” at Hendershot Gallery, 195 Chrystie Street. 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Ongoing

The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies) at Film ForumDetails. 35mm. 1992. 83 min. 1:00, 2:45, 4:30, 6:15, 8:00 and 9:45 pm.
The Island President (Jon Shenk) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 101 min. 1:15, 3:15, 5:30, 7:50 and 10:00 pm.
Gerhard Richter Painting (Corinna Belz) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 94 min. 1:00, 6:10 and 10:15 pm.
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 122 min. 3:00 and 8:00 pm.

Galleries

Museums

Below listed North-South

Uptown

  • David Lynch at Tilton Gallery, 8 East 76 Street. Open Tues-Sat 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Ends April 14.

Midtown

Chelsea

Downtown

Brooklyn