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Sunday, May 13

Fritz Lang's Indian Epic at Anthology

What’s Showing Today? Sunday, May 13
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Featured Screening: Fritz Lang’s Indian Epic at Anthology Film Archives

I’ve always puzzled over the relative obscurity of The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse given it is the final work by master artist Fritz Lang  and a fittingly pat and provocative swansong, one that returns to the characters, themes and narrative style of his early serial-inspired structures of constantly upping the ante with hair-raising thrills—Screen Slate contributor Patrick Dahl addresses it in the essay Back to the Scene of the Crime. In fact, it’s the third of three final films to take this approach, each of which were made after Lang’s abandoning Hollywood for supposed retirement in his native Germany.

Before bidding farewell with Mabuse, Lang was compelled by producer Artur Brauner to revisit his and his ex-wife and collaborator Thea von Harbou‘s script for The Indian Tomb, which was previously directed 1921 by Joe May. Harbou collaborated with Lang on nearly all his directorial work from the original Mabuse, The Gambler through 1933’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, a run which also includes Metropolis, M, Die Nibelungen and others. They split in 1933 when Lang, child of a converted Catholic mother with Jewish heritage and therefore subject to extermination under Nazi eugenics laws, fled Germany in advance of the Nazi Party’s ascent. Harbou continued to have a massive level of success as a prolific writer and director working with the Nazi party until serving time in a British prison camp post-WWII and passing away in 1954. It’s these sympathies—and Lang’s discovering her in bed with a secret Indian lover (indeed it was their shared affinity for India that is said to have ignited the romantic spark between Lang and Harbou)—which led to the dissolution of their marriage. For Brauner, a Polish Jew who had emigrated to Berlin after the war, Lang split the story into two feature-length films: The Indian Tomb and Tiger of Eschnapur. Lang isn’t known for his use of color—of 45 films, there’s only The Return of Frank James, Western Union, American Guerrilla in the Philippines, Rancho Notorious and Moonfleet—yet it’s simply stunning here, and like American Guerrilla employs it to particularly good use in some breathtaking on-location scenes in places where filming was typically forbidden. The work is also fine spotlight for voluptuous star Debra Paget, particularly a scene in which she strips to something best described as a diamond-studded bikini to charm a snake with her body. Adventure!

Rare 35mm prints screen Anthology Film Archives tonight at 7:15 and 9:30 pm courtesy of the Migrating Forms festival.

Also Noted

Tonight Microscope Gallery presents Visions of Burroughs, an evening dedicated to the film collaborations between William S. Burroughs and friends, most notably filmmaker Antony Balch and artist Brion Gysin. Balch was a commercial filmmaker, exhibitor and distributor who became one Burroughs’s closest associates in the 1960s. He was noted for his flamboyant manner and queer tastes—as a distributor his titles included The Devil Bat, Freaks, The Corpse Grinders, Supervixens and Kenneth Anger’s Invocation of My Demon Brother, and his two superb attempts at what its possible he regarded as mainstream narrative horror films are a wild melange of Lugosi-style camp, teen lust, grand guignol gore and sweltering homoeroticism; the wildly transgressive realization of everything Rocky Horror only wishes it were. Yet their neither as provocative nor driven by such blatant as the Burroughs films, which are seemingly derived from variously candid and bizarre staged tableaux of Burroughs then literally cut up and reassembled per Burroughs and Gysin’s Cut Up technique of divining hidden intentions through random assemblage. Gysin and Ian Sommerville, inventors of the dreamachine, provide the soundtrack for The Cut-Ups, and a number of the works variously feature spoken text written and performed by Burroughs. (The narration for Towers Open Fire, the group’s seminal collaboration, is extremely discomforting.) They’re a uniquely frenzied experience and a singularly effective portrait of Burroughs. The program is rounded out by Commissioner of Sewers, a 30 minute piece by Klaus Maeck centered around an attempt to interview Burroughs.

Today

Migrating Forms at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details

  • It’s the Earth, Not the Moon (Gonçalo Tocha). 2011. 180 min. 2:00 pm.
  • Group Program. Work by Madison Brookshire & Tashi Wada, Mark Lewis, Ximena Cuevas and Emily Wardill. 5:30 pm.
  • The Tiger of Eschnapur (Fritz Lang). 35mm. 1959. 101 min. 7:15 pm.
  • The Indian Tomb (Fritz Lang). 35mm. 1959. 102 min. 9:30 pm.

New Czech Films at BAMCinématek
Series Details

  • Long Live the Family (Radim Spacek). Details. 35mm. 2011. 90 min. 2:00 and 4:00 pm.

The Next Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev at BAMCinématek
Series Details

  • The Banishment (Tomas Lunak). Details. 35mm. 2007. 157 min. 6:00 and 9:00 pm.

Coward on Film at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Series Details

  • Bitter Sweet (Herbert Wilcox). Details. 35mm. 1933. 93 min. 12:30 pm.
  • Private Lives (Sidney Franklin). Details. DVD. 1931. 84 min. 2:30 pm.
  • Coward the Actor + Our Man in Havana. Details. 35mm. 1959. 111 min. 6:15 pm.
  • Design for Living (Ernst Lubitsch). Details. 35mm. 1933. 91 min. 8:45 pm.

Beyond the Image at Maysles Cinema
Series Details

  • War Photographer (Christian Frei). 2002. 96 min. 7:30 pm.

Mahfouz at the Movies at MoMA
Series Details

  • The Hunger (Ali Badrakhan). Details. 1986. 120 min. 1:00 pm.

Focus Features: 10th Anniversary Salute at MoMA
Series Details

  • Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola). Details. 2003. 102 min. 1:00 pm.

Contemporary Galleries: 1980-Now at MoMA
Series Details

  • Stan Brakhage 1988-1989Details. 67 min. 3:00 pm.

Tracey Moffatt at MoMA
Series Details

  • Montage Series, Program 2Details. 3:00 pm.
  • Montage Series, Program 1Details. 5:00 pm.

Werner Schroeter at MoMA
Series Details

  • Eika KatappaDetails. 1969. 147 min. 3:15 pm.
  • The Death of Maria Malibran with Dietrich Kuhlbrodt im Gespräch mit Werner SchroeterDetails. 1972/2010. 123 min. 6:30 pm.

Fashion in Film: If Looks Could Kill at Museum of the Moving Image
Series Details

  • Mildred Pierce (Mildred Pierce). Details. 1945. 111 min. 1:00 pm.
  • Mildred Pierce (Todd Haynes). Details. 2011. 330 min. 4:00 pm.

Aardman Features at Museum of the Moving Image
Series Details

  • Wallace & Gromit in: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Steve Box & Nick Park). Details. 2005. 85 min. 1:30 pm.

Shot by Rybczyński at Spectacle
Series Details

  • Angst (Gerald Kargl). Details. Digital. 1983. 75 min. 7:30 pm.
  • The Dancing Hawk (Grzegorz Królikiewicz). Details. Digital. 1977. 98 min. 9:30 pm.

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

  • WILDNESSDetails. HD. 2012. 72 min. Noon and 2:00 pm.
  • Wu Tsang in Conversation with Matt Wolf. Details. 4:00 pm.

Black Orpheus (Marcel Camus) at FB Gallery. Details. 1959. 107 min. 7:00 pm.
To Catch a Thief
 (Alfred Hitchcock) at IFC CenterDetails. DCP. 1955. 103 min. 11:00 am.
Visions of Burroughs—William S. Burroughs film collaborations, interview, and more at Microscope Gallery. Details. Including work by Antony Balch, Brion Gysin, Ian Somerville, Klaus Maeck and others. Video. 1963-1991. Appx. 60 min. 7:00 pm.
Sunrise (F.W. Murnau) at NitehawkDetails. Live score. Noon.
Stand by Me (Rob Reiner) at NitehawkDetails. 12:35 pm.

Ongoing

The Observers (Jacqueline Goss) at Anthology Film ArchivesDetails. 16mm-to-video. 2011. 67 min. 7:00 and 8:45 pm.
Patience (After Sebald)
 (Grant Gee) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 84 min. 1:00, 2:50, 4:40, 6:30, 8:20 and 10:00 pm.
Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir) at Film ForumDetails. 35mm of 4K restoration. 1937. 114 min. 1:00, 4:35 and 8:10 pm.
Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger) at Film ForumDetails. DCP. 1958. 94 min. 3:00, 7:45 and 9:40 pm.
Gerhard Richter Painting (Corinna Belz) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 94 min. 1:00 and 5:45 pm.
The Connection
 (Shirley Clarke) at IFC CenterDetails. 1963. 110 min. 12:30 and 7:00 pm.

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