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Friday, December 30, 2011

2011's Most Memorable Movie Moments

Between the daily screenings of our repertory program BAMcinématek and our new releases, BAM plays roughly 350 movies a year. 2011 was a jam-packed year that included in-person appearances by Catherine Deneuve, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly, John Turturro, Noah Baumbach, Peter Bogdanovich, John Landis, Nicolas Winding Refn, Paul Auster, Harry Shearer, Elmo, Barbara Kopple, Robert Downey, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, super furry animals, burlesque dancers, former Attica prisoners, Muppet puppeteers, and Susan Sarandon.

Now that 2011 is eating our dust, I've asked members of the BAMcinématek team to send me some of their favorite BAM film moments of the year.

How about you, intrepid BAM filmgoer? What were your favorite BAM film moments of 2011 and why? We'd love to know!

Florence Almozini, Programming Director

Le rayon vert/Summer / Eric Rohmer

Drive / Nicolas Winding Refn

Mysteries of Lisbon / Raul Ruiz

Repulsion / Roman Polanski

Body Double / Brian de Palma

Sometimes a Great Notion / Paul Newman

The Elephant Man / David Lynch

Some Came Running / Vincente Minnelli

Young Girls of Rochefort / Jacques Demy

Gentlemen Prefer Blonds / Howard Hawks

Brigadoon / Vincente Minnelli

Troy Dandro, Marketing Manager

Brigadoon - The discovery for me in our Minnelli series. What initially struck me as a super-traditional Hollywood musical became something entirely more profound about 3/4ths of the way in, blowing my brain to bits and making me believe in the redemptive power of dreams. Or something like that. The print was freakin' gorgeous, too.

Weekend - Opening night of BAMcinemaFest. Not only the best LGBT-themed film of the millennium (though it faces stiff competition from Céline Sciamma's Tomboy), but one of the best-acted and wonderfully realized dramas of the year.

Repulsion - Catherine Deneuve in person. OMFG! I was too nervous to try to meet her, but seeing her in person is a culmination of my 15 years of cinephilia. Snapping a photo of her cigarette elegantly floating in a half-drunk glass of chardonnay is a BAM highlight for me.

Le rayon vert (Summer) - I related so closely to the heroine of Rohmer's life-affirming masterpiece that it was kind of scary.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch - The last time I saw this movie when I was 13 years old--I actually got all the jokes this second time around.

The Kid with a Bike - Another triumph by two of my favorite living filmmakers. I can't wait to see it again. It opens in 2012 and you must rush out to see it.

Les Demoiselles de Rochefort - I was having a terrible day and life instantly seemed pretty great after seeing Demy's film. Pure cinematic joy. Sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac are beautiful and perfect.

Nostalgia for the Light - Patricio Guzman's latest was one of my favorite documentaries this year. An ingenious linking of 20th century Chilean history to the broader history of the Universe.

Blow Out - Even though our print was pink as a commie sympathizer, De Palma's thriller had my chin on the floor from the opening moments until that final beautiful, blood-curdling scream.

Lookin' to Get Out - My major discovery of the Hal Ashby retrospective. Jon Voigt and Burt Young are total game in this bizarre and hilarious work that feels like a live-action cartoon in its free-wheeling wackiness. Ripe for rediscovery.

The Moment of Truth - I knew nothing of Francesco Rosi before we did a retrospective last summer and this movie was a stunner. Not for the squeamish, the film is a realistic portrayal of the rise and fall of a handsome toreador and features some authentic, gory scenes of bullfighting. Criterion releases it on blu-ray in March and I cannot recommend it enough.

Nellie Killian, Print Trafficker

1. The Complete Minnelli

2. Lost in America (Bonus points for showing just a few days before Minnelli's kindred parable of late capitalism on wheels, The Long, Long Trailer)

3. Time Regained

4. Salvatore Guiliano

5. Gremlins 2

6. Le Rayon Vert

7. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

8. Into the Night

9. The Locket

10. Invaders from Mars/Thing From Another World double feature

Alece Oxendine, Marketing Assistant

One of the many reasons I love working at BAM is the diversity of our programming with films from the African Diaspora that reflect the Brooklyn community, neo-nostalgic flicks that brought me back to my childhood, and rare 35mm prints of Vincente Minnelli films. Each film on my list was an unforgettable experience.

(in no particular order)

The Warriors

Whistle Down the Wind

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Chameleon Street

A Matter of Time

Cabin in the Sky

I Will Follow

The Landlord

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

David Reilly, Assistant Curator

Phantom of the Paradise (4/9) – packed house goes nuts for this rare De Palma classic (filmed partially at BAM!), with The Phantom himself (William Finley) in person for a Q&A.

Postcard (5/2) – North American premiere of Kaneto Shindo’s heart-rending new film, with a special video introduction from the 99-year-old director (shockingly, not the oldest director we’ve featured in BAMcinematek!).

The Color Wheel (6/19) – NY premiere of BAMcinematek regular Alex Ross Perry’s second feature. Following an uncomfortable/hilarious incest-themed finale, the director acknowledges his dad in the audience with a hearty “Happy Father’s Day”!

The Locket (8/15) – after a 15-month hiatus, Elliott Stein returns for his 114th Cinemachat, presenting this fantastic noir from underappreciated auteur John Brahm.

Werewolf of Washington/Coming Apart (8/22-23) – Milton Moses Ginsberg makes a rare public appearance, presenting 35mm prints from his personal collection of his only two features, both major achievements in 60s/70s American independent film.

Attica (9/13) – on the 40th anniversary of the Attica riots (and less than a week before the start of Occupy Wall Street), a panel of Attica Brothers, lawyers, and a former U.S. Attorney General speak passionately about the importance of political resistance movements following a screening of Cinda Firestone’s landmark documentary.

The Human Factor (9/19) – the ever-brilliant Dave Kehr is on hand to discuss this tremendous late Preminger film. A testament to the importance of revisiting even the least-praised of Hollywood auteurist works.

The Complete Vincente Minnelli was the absolute highlight of my filmgoing year. Two moments that really stick out: 1) the U.S. premiere of an added scene in Minnelli’s last film, A Matter of Time (itself a major discovery for Minnelli fans), courtesy of an archival print from the Cinematheque Suisse (10/25); 2) sitting next to a bearded gentleman in full Scottish garb (kilt and all) to watch a flawless print of Brigadoon, my favorite Minnelli film and one of the most underrated Hollywood musicals of all time (11/2).

The Warriors (10/31) – Brooklyn Close-Up kicks off with a bang: David Patrick Kelly charms a costume-laden Halloween audience in his first ever appearance with this cult classic, standing on the very same stage where he performed Chekhov’s Three Sisters over three decades ago.

Puppets on Film had plenty of highlights, but I’ll single out this quote from Marty Robinson during his Q&A for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (11/18). Q: “Which April was hotter, Judith Hoag or the one in the sequel? A: “Let’s just say I only swam naked with the first one.”

The Blues Brothers (11/22) – what can I say, John Landis is an absolute blast.

Ann Yershov, Project Producer

(in Alphabetical Order)

Animals Distract Me
with Isabella Rossellini Q&A

La Chamade – and the entire Catherine Deneuve retrospective

Drive with Nic Refn Q&A

The Landlord and other films in the Hal Ashby series

The Misfits & the entire Marilyn Monroe Series

Naked Island with Benicio Del Toro and Kaneto Shindo Q&A

Scandal with John Hurt Q&A

Skatetown USA

Summer of Sam

Weekend – BAMcinemaFest Opening Night

1 comment:

  1. Marco Ferreri's LIZA: Seeing Catherine Deneuve assume the role of Marcello Mastroianni's dog was unforgettable.