“THE BABADOOK” and more Stylish Genre to Play NY’s New Directors/New FilmsMovies/TV,News Samuel Zimmerman
Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA’s annual New Directors/NewFilms is a showcase of just that, a slate of exciting, emerging talent and the work they’ve created. The 2014 edition, as it’s revealed, is no exception, bringing two stunning, acclaimed Sundance titles to New York, as well as the highly anticipated new experimental giallo from Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS.
Leading the thrilling genre film within ND/NF is my favorite film of Sundance, Jennifer Kent’s striking debut, THE BABADOOK, in which a single mother and her son must contend with an entity that’s risen out of a storybook. Also playing is Ana Lily Amirpour’s romantic, black-and-white A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, which gained buzz by being the first “Iranian Vampire Western,” but deserves it for crafting a beautiful, eerie and swooning story about connection. Finally, the aforementioned THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS will alter your state, as the second feature from AMER directors Cattet & Forzani is even more stylish, severe and tantalizing. Also very much of interest is the intriguing THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA, a seemingly experimental retelling of the Slavic folk tale.
Find full descriptions and screening dates of all four titles below. Tickets go on sale to Film Society and MoMA members Monday, March 3 at noon. General public tickets go on sale Monday, March 10 at noon. New Directors/New Films tickets can be purchased online at NewDirectors.org or in person at the box offices of the Film Society of Lincoln Center (W. 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue) and The Museum of Modern Art (11 W. 53rd Street).
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Ana Lily Amirpour, USA, 2014, DCP, 107 min.
This super-stylish and spellbinding Persian take on the vampire genre doubles as a compact metaphor for the current state of Iran. Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature guides us on a dreamlike walk on the wild side, into the nocturnal and sparsely populated underworld of “Bad City,” an Iran of the mind that nevertheless rings true. In a cool and brooding scenario that involves just a handful of characters, an alluring female vampire stalks potential victims with a judgmental eye—but isn’t immune to romantic desire when it presents itself in the form of a young hunk who’s looking for a way out of his dead-end existence. With to-die-for high-contrast black-and-white cinematography and a sexy cast that oozes charisma, horror has seldom seemed so hot.
Persian with English subtitles
Wednesday, March 19, 7:00pm & 8:00pm – MoMA
Jennifer Kent, Australia, 2014, DCP, 95 min.
Young widow Amelia lives with her seven-year-old son, Samuel, who seems to get odder by the day. His father’s death in an accident when driving Amelia to the hospital to give birth to him may have something to do with the boy’s unnerving behavior, which scares other children and perhaps even his own mother. But when a sinister children’s book called Mister Babadook mysteriously appears—and keeps reappearing—Amelia begins to wonder if there’s a presence in the house more disturbed than her son. Jennifer Kent’s visually stunning debut genuinely frightens us with the revelation that the things that go bump in the night may be buried deep inside our psyches, not just in the basement. An IFC Midnight release.
Satuday, March 22, 9:30pm – FSLC
Sunday, March 23, 9:00pm – MoMA
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Belgium/France/Luxembourg, 2013, DCP, 102 min.
Deepening and amplifying their super-fetishistic remix of Italian giallo and horror tropes in Amer (ND/NF 2010), Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani here create a delirious and increasingly baroque pastiche of the trance film and cinéma fantastique—and then push it to breaking point. Returning home from a business trip, Dan (Klaus Tange) finds that his wife has disappeared. When the police are of no help, he begins to obsessively investigate their singular and increasingly surreal art deco apartment building in search of clues to her whereabouts. Traditional narrative dissolves into mise en abyme in this kaleidoscopic, vertiginous adventure in sound and image, sadism and eroticism, and the real and the imagined. The unwary may be shaken up by the Belgian duo’s overpowering and percussive stylistic shocks, but in this haunted-house movie, one thing’s for sure: the eyes have it. A Strand Releasing release.
French and Dutch with English subtitles
Friday, March 28, 9:00pm – MoMA
Sunday, March 30, 1:15pm – FSLC
The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga (World Premiere)
Jessica Oreck, USA/Russia/Ukraine/Poland, 2013, HDCam, 73 min.
Deep in the forest, wedged in cracks in the bark and under moss-covered rocks, memories and myths are hidden. These subconscious tales and reminiscences, drawn from the natural world, inform the societies we build. Jessica Oreck’s fantastical work combines animation, traditional storytelling, and contemporary nonfiction filmmaking styles to recount the Slavic folktale of the frightful Baba Yaga, a witch said to live in a woodland hut perched on chicken legs who roasts her guests for dinner. But as modern conflicts and scourges encroached, and their refugees fled to the forest, the implications of her presence began to shift. An impressive contemporary allegory on progress, the past, and the power of nature.
Saturday, March 22, 1:30pm – FSLC
Monday, March 24, 6:15pm – MoMA