In Bertrand Tavernier’s sweeping romantic epic, young and beautiful Marie de Mézières (Mélanie Thierry) has a big problem: It seems that every man she meets falls in love with her. Already in a passionate relationship with the heroic Henri de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel), a leader of the Catholics against the Protestant Huguenots in the French Wars of Religion of the 1560s, Marie is suddenly part of a shady deal between her father (Philippe Magnan) and the Duke de Montpensier (Michel Vuillermoz), marrying her off to the rather uninspiring though steadfast Prince Philippe de Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet), who warms to his bride much quicker than she to him. Returning to the battlefield, Philippe asks his mentor, the older and wiser Count de Chabannes (Lambert Wilson), to teach Marie in the ways of the court to prepare her for meeting Catherine de Medici, but even such a solid, moralistic man as Chabannes — who deserted from the army after killing a peasant family, supposedly in the name of his lord and saviour — cannot prevent himself from succumbing to the many charms of his unaware charge. And when she meets the wild and unpredictable Duke d’Anjou (Raphaël Personnaz), the king’s brother is smitten as well. But through it all, Marie, a modern woman who wants to learn to write and make her own choices, remains fiercely drawn to Henri, a forbidden love that threatens dire consequences. Based on the 1662 novella by Madame de La Fayette, The Princess of Montpensier is a thrilling tale of love and war, of honor and betrayal.
Master filmmaker Tavernier (The Clockmaker of Saint-Paul, A Sunday in the Country), who cowrote the daring script with longtime collaborator Jean Cosmos and François-Oliver Rousseau, focuses on character and story rather than pomp and circumstance, creating an intoxicating intimacy often missing from the genre. Thierry is alluring as Marie, who can be seen as an early feminist in a time when women were little more than possessions. Even at two hours and twenty minutes, the film flies by; you’ll feel sorry you can’t spend more time with the many wonderfully drawn characters who help make The Princess of Montpensier such a marvelous treat. The film is screening at the Quad on June 27 at 4:00 in the series “Film & Nothing But: Bertrand Tavernier,” consisting of seventeen Tavernier films being shown in conjunction with the theatrical release of his new documentary, My Journey through French Cinema, which opens June 23 at the Quad; Tavernier will introduce or participate in Q&As at nine screenings, including A Week’s Vacation, Death Watch, and Safe Conduct. In addition, he’ll be at all four films that make up “Tavernier Treasures,” a quartet of his favorites: Marcel Carné’s Hôtel du Nord, Pierre Schoendoerffer’s The 317th Platoon, Jacques Becker’s It Happened at the Inn, and Henri Decoin’s The Truth of Our Marriage..
IN TRANSIT (Albert Maysles, Lynn True, Nelson Walker, David Usui, and Ben Wu, 2015)
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts., 212-660-0312
Maysles Documentary Center, 343 Lenox Ave./Malcolm X Blvd., between 127th & 128th Sts., 212-537-6843
Opens Friday, June 23
“There’s something about a train that’s magic,” Richie Havens sang in a series of 1980s Amtrak commercials. Master documentarian Albert Maysles goes in search of that magic in his final film, In Transit. In 2014-15, Maysles, who passed away in 2015 at the age of eighty-eight, and his team took several trips on Amtrak’s Empire Builder, described as “America’s busiest long-distance train route,” which carries passengers between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest over the course of three days, following much of the route that explorers Lewis and Clark mapped out in the early nineteenth century. Maysles, Nelson Walker, David Usui, and Ben Wu focus handheld cameras on men, women, and children of all ages and ethnicities as they talk with other passengers about transitions they’re going through. One pregnant woman is past her due date, hoping she makes it to Minnesota to give birth with members of her family. She makes friends with a man who is photographing everywhere they go. A young man has suddenly quit his job to try to make a new life with his high school sweetheart in Indiana. A Native American talks about how he is riding the train to think about his relationship with his partner, which is on the ropes. An abused woman is returning from seeing her daughter for the first time in nearly half a century. Sometimes they’re speaking directly with Maysles, and other times the filmmakers are like flies on the wall, picking up snippets of conversations as the passengers share their hopes and dreams, along with their struggles and fears, in true cinéma vérité fashion. Everyone is open and free, including the conductors. “This is the only job I’ve ever wanted,” one of the trainmen explains.
Early on, a young woman says, “My friend CJ is always like, ‘How do you do it? How do you go to these places? How do you do these things? How do you just pack up and go? Aren’t you scared?’ Like, yeah, of course you’re scared. And it’s like at the same time you know what’s scarier? Staying exactly where you were, doing exactly what you always have done.” To which a young man adds, “Sometimes you just gotta do it. You know, what have you really to lose?” The Empire Builder has a viewing carriage, a car with a row of comfortable seats that face the window, offering passengers beautiful views of an America that not everyone sees, an America in which they are trying to start anew. It’s a calm, slow-moving film that doesn’t identify anyone by name, seventy-six minutes that share a narrow but candid look at who we are, and where we’re going. “I don’t really want to get off the train,” a single mother of four admits. It might not be one of Maysles’s best — his legacy consists of such seminal works as Salesman, Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens, and What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A., made with his brother, David — but In Transit is a fitting end to his journey. “I wanted to make a film about trains, but really about the unity of humankind,” he said shortly before his death. In Transit opens June 23 at Metrograph on the Lower East Side and the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem; the 7:00 Metrograph screening on June 23 will be introduced by True and will be followed by a Q&A with True, Usui, and casting director Martha Wollner, while MDC will host Q&As at the 7:00 show on June 24 with True and supervising producer Erika Dilday and at the 7:30 show on June 29 with True and Walker, with more to be announced.
St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery
131 East Tenth St. between Second & Third Aves.
June 23 - July 1, free (advance RSVP recommended), 6:00 - 10:00 pm
Photographer David Michalek and choreographer Yvonne Rainer have teamed up on SlowDancing/TrioA, a free multimedia installation on view nightly at Danspace Project from June 23 through July 1 from 6:00 to 10:00. Ten years ago, Michalek first showed Slow Dancing, hyper-slow-motion videos of dancers and choreographers filmed for five seconds and stretched into ten-minute portraits. “I love dance. I love watching it. I love what dancers do, who they are, and what they stand for,” Michalek, who is married to Wendy Whelan, explains on his website about the series. Michalek has now turned his attention to Rainer’s iconic 1966 Trio A, which was part of the larger work The Mind Is a Muscle. “The dance has been understood as inaugurating a new field of practice that embraced laconic movements and ordinary bodies, and helped usher in postmodern, task-based dance,” Berkeley associate professor of art history Julia Bryan-Wilson wrote in October magazine in 2012. “In addition, Trio A has refigured what it means to talk about the medium — or mediums — of contemporary art.” For their collaboration, Michalek filmed forty-six dancers performing the approximately five-minute piece, with each participant getting seven seconds onscreen. The cast includes Siobhan Burke, Emily Coates, Robbie Cook, Jodi Melnick, Elliot Mercer, Richard Move, Wendy Perron, Stephen Petronio, Francisca Quintanilla, Macy Sullivan, David Thomson, Isabelle Vergara, Timothy Ward, Rainer, Whelan, and Raindears company member Pat Catterson, who worked with Rainer on the project and performed the piece at MoMA in 2009. There will be a trio of 6:30 conversations during the week-long run, with choreographer Hilary Easton on June 24, Lydia Bell on June 27, and Judy Hussie-Taylor on June 29, who all contributed to a print program guide as well. “Trio A is a dance that both does and does not want to perform, both does and does not want to be filmed,” Coates writes in the guide. “So it alters the expectations of the medium. Yvonne ‘Trio A-ifies’ David’s screens from within, forcing viewers, yet again, to reconsider their own desires in relation to an image. . . . Trio A questions the nature of performance itself.” Admission is free but advance RSVP is recommended here.
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St.
Wednesday - Monday through October 23, $17-$22
Alexander Calder, kineticism, and the Whitney have been inextricably linked since the institution acquired in May 1982 the Pennsylvania-born artist’s delightful “Calder’s Circus,” which, when on view, is always accompanied by a video showing the work in action. In addition, on rare occasions, it is activated live. The Whitney will be activating many of Calder’s other works in the new exhibition “Calder: Hypermobility,” set in motion at specific times to a specially commissioned sound walk by Jim O’Rourke. Activations, by motor or air, will take place multiple times each day (Monday to Thursday at 12 noon, 2:00, and 4:00; Friday at 12 noon, 2:00, 4:00, 7:30, 8:00, and 9:00; and Saturday and Sunday on the hour from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm). In addition, the Calder Foundation will activate the rarely exhibited “Object with Red Ball” on June 21 at 2:00, “Boomerangs” on June 28 at 2:00, “Tightrope” on July 9 at 4:00, “Goldfish Bowl” on July 12 at 2:00, and two untitled pieces on July 18 and 26 at 2:00, with more to come in August, September, and October. Below is a list of special performances by other artists during the run of the show, some of which require advance tickets.
Wednesday, July 19
Sunday, July 23
Christian Marclay performs Calder’s “Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere” (Calder’s first suspended mobile), with cellist Okkyung Lee, Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Saturday, August 5
Sunday, August 6
Jack Quartet, music by Earle Brown, John Cage, Morton Feldman, and others, Hurst Family Galleries
Thursday, September 7
Sunday, September 10
Arto Lindsay, noisemakers and rattles, in conjunction with the exhibition “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium,” Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Thursday, September 28
Jill Magid, Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Friday, September 29
Sunday, October 1
Math Bass and Lauren Davis Fisher perform “Quiet Work in Session,” Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Thursday, October 5
Friday, October 6
C. Spencer Yeh, Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Saturday, October 7
A screening of films commissioned by the Calder Foundation by artists Ephraim Asili, Rosa Barba, Lucy Raven, Agnès Varda, and others, followed by a conversation moderated by Victoria Brooks, Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Friday, October 13
Sunday, October 15
Empire State Works in Progress, with artist Abigail DeVille and director Charlotte Brathwaite, Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Friday, October 20
Sunday, October 22
Nora Schultz, Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Make Music New York is back for its eleventh summer season, celebrating the longest day of the year with more than a thousand free concerts across the city on June 21. There are participatory events, live music in parks and plazas, unique gatherings in unusual places, and just about anything else you can think of. Below are only a handful of the highlights, arranged chronologically.
49 Flutes, fortieth anniversary of John Cage’s “49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs,” 147 locations, dawn and dusk
Inside the Bird Chorus, with composer David Rothenberg on clarinet and Derek Gripper on guitar at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 5:30 am; Jordan McLean on trumpet at Cherry Hill in Central Park, 5:30 am; Dave Kadden on oboe at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve, 9:00 am; Michael Pestel on woodwinds at Wave Hill, 9:00 am; Volker Goetz on trumpet at Fresh Kills Park, 7:00 pm; Bobby Sanabria & Project X featuring Jeff Lederer at Crotona Park, 7:00 pm
The Ella Fitzgerald Piano Bar, Harlem and East Harlem, Apollo Theater, 11:00; Red Rooster, 12:30; Sister’s Cuisine, 2:15; Uptown Grand Central Community Plaza, 3:45; and National Jazz Museum in Harlem, 5:15
Street Studios, with Miles Francis, Harman Audio 527 Madison Ave., 11:00 am – 3:00 pm; with Kid Koi, Gotham Market at the Ashland, 590 Fulton St., Brooklyn, 12:30-3:30; with Aaron Lazansky, Tomasia Kastner, and students from NYC Parks’ Computer Resource Centers, Andrew Freedman Home, 1125 Grand Concourse, Bronx, 4:00-7:00; with Angus Tarnawsky, Skill Mill NYC, 949 Amsterdam Ave., 5:00-8:00; with Manhattan Producers Alliance, La Plaza de Las Americas, West 175th St. & Broadway 5:15-7:00
Fourth annual Porch Stomp, Nolan Park, Governors Island, 12 noon – 5:00 pm
Joe’s Pub Block Party, with Jose Conde, 12 noon; Fumi Tanakadate & the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center Ensemble, 1:00; Hervé, 2:00; Svetlana & the Delancey Five, 3:00; Vuyo Sotashe, 4:00; Batalá, 5:00, Astor Place Plaza
South Shore Lawn Party, the Kreischer Mansion, Charleston, Staten Island, 12 noon – 9:00 pm
Gérard Grisey’s Le Noir de l’Étoile, American Museum of Natural History, Hall of the Universe, 12:30
Mass Appeals: Electronic Instruments, NYU, 35 West Fourth St., Room 303, 3:00; Djembes, Mullaly Park, 5:00 pm; Harmonicas, Central Park’s Pond Lawn, 5:30; Ukuleles, Pilgrim Hill, Central Park, 5:30; Guitars, Union Square Park, 6:00; Mandolins, Theodore Roosevelt Park, 6:00; French Horns, Madison Square Park, 6:30; Accordions, Bryant Park, 7:00; Cellos, Bushwick Inlet Park, 7:00; Recorders, Straus Park, 7:00
Concerto for Buildings, works by Daniel Goode (“Concerto for Buildings”), Lainie Fefferman (“Cloud Noodles”), Miguel Bolivar (“Going Up”), Devon Cupo (“Quit While You Exist”), and Christian Rivera (“When I See You Again”), with Mantra Youth Percussion and Rahway High School Wind Ensemble, performed on eight buildings on Greene St. between Grand & Broome, 5:00
On the Waterfront, with duo pianists Karl Larsson and Hitomi Honda, 4:30, and Mannes Prep students, Pier I, Hudson River Gateway off West Seventieth St., 5:00
Offerings and Songs to the Solstice Sun, with Irka Mateo, Anne Loftus Playground, Fort Tryon Park, 5:00
WTC @ WTC, The Well-Tempered Clavier, with Athena Adamopoulos, Kathy Chen, Larry Edoff, Melody Fader, Joan Forsyth, Leslie Dobrenski Frost, Alfredo Garcia, Jr., Vadim Ghin, Liam Kaplan, Kingsley Matthew, Blair McMillen, Barbara Podgurski. Lara Saldanha, Eleanor Sandresky, Qian Shen, Irene Tse, Jenny Undercofler. Anna Vinnitsky, and the students of Joan Forsyth, Eugenia Glivinski, Adrienne Kim, Nathaniel LaNasa, Elena Leonova, Tatjana Rankovich, Gena Raps, and Emily White, 9/11 Memorial plaza, 5:00 – 8:00
The Mp3 Experiment Number Fourteen, Battery Park, 7:00
Sxip Shirley’s The Gauntlet, with Choral Chameleon, West Dalehead Arch, Central Park, 7:00
Upon entering the Joyce on Saturday night, June 17, to see Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project, we were sad to hear that the performance of the brand-new duet In Silence We Speak had been canceled due to an injury. However, the three pieces that remained, all very different, made up a program that still worked extremely well. First was New York City Ballet wunderkind Justin Peck’s 2013 Murder Ballades, his debut as a contemporary dance choreographer. The curtain is raised, revealing six pairs of sneakers onstage, in front of Sterling Ruby’s colorful abstract backdrop of vertical and horizontal bars. Stephanie Amurao, Aaron Carr, Julia Eichten, Nathan Makolandra, Robbie Moore, and Rachelle Rafailedes, all in casual modern-day dress (Peck did the costume design), enter, lace on the sneakers, and proceed to run around the stage, the buzz of sudden freedom in the air, as if Peck is breaking free of ballet en pointe, at least momentarily. (He continues to dance and choreograph for NYCB.) Over the course of six sections, the dancers appear to be having a great time as they divide into solos and duets, including a lovely pas de deux between Makolandra and Rafailedes, and intersect in fluid trios and a variety of lines and patterns. At one point, Carr actually pauses to look at Ruby’s painting, making sure we all acknowledge its grandeur. Peck displays an infectious glee with his vigorous movement language, although it can get repetitive and a little too showy, but it works breathlessly with Bryce Dessner’s energetic score and Brandon Stirling Baker’s pinpoint lighting.
Next was Merce Cunningham’s MinEvent, a 2006 majestic collage that is like a Mondrian canvas brought to glorious life. Arranged and staged by Silas Riener, it’s performed by Amurao, Carr, Eichten, Makolandra, Moore, David Adrian Freeland Jr., and Lilja Rúriksdóttir, wearing tight black costumes, designed by Millepied, marked with spare, rectilinear thin stripes of color, the women’s and men’s costumes mirror images of each other. The often staccato, almost mechanical abstract movement, sudden stops and starts that seem to presage voguing but with blank facial expressions, form Mondrian-esque geometric patterns, not just with the shapes of the bodies, but with how the lines on the costumes merge. John Cage’s “Music for Piano” is performed live by Adam Tendler, who is like a seventh dancer, having to stand so he can pluck the strings inside of the instrument in addition to playing the regular keys, the minimalist score balancing sound with silence.
The evening concluded with Millepied’s adventurous, multimedia Orpheus Highway, making its world premiere at the Joyce. The piece is set to Steve Reich’s stirring “Triple Quartet,” played live by PUBLIQuartet, featuring Curtis Stewart and Jannina Norpoth on violin, Nick Revel on viola, and Amanda Gookin on cello. Wearing contemporary clothing and sneakers (the costumes were designed by Millepied), Morgan Lugo, Amurao, Carr, Eichten, Freeland Jr., Makolandra, Moore, Rúriksdóttir, and Janie Taylor (replacing Rafailedes) dance in front of a film of themselves (but with Rafailedes instead of Taylor) that Millepied shot in Marfa, Texas, on the local streets, down a narrow alley, and on an endless highway in the middle of nowhere. Freeland Jr. and Taylor reenact the tragic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, as all the live dancers move in opposition to, in unison with, and completely differently from their screen doppelgängers. There’s a lot going on, so you’re not always sure where to look, and your mind can’t help but try to make sense of how the filmed images relate to the live ones, but just let it unfold without thinking too hard about it. In some ways, it’s an innovative combination of the two works that preceded it. The two-week Joyce run continues through June 25; Program A consists of Millepied’s Hearts & Arrows, Ohad Naharin’s Yag, and In Silence We Speak if Carla Korbës has recovered.
FILM AND NOTHING BUT: BERTRAND TAVERNIER / TAVERNIER TREASURES
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
“As well as having his place in the world of cinema as a successful filmmaker, Bertrand Tavernier is a devoted film historian,” three-time Oscar-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker writes in the foreword to Stephen Hay’s Bertrand Tavernier: The Film-maker of Lyon. “A complete cinema enthusiast, he has been working diligently over the years to educate people about film history, touring festivals incessantly, talking to critics, students, and general audiences about his passion for the filmmakers who have gone before him.” The seventy-six-year-old auteur will be in New York this week for the opening of his latest film, My Journey through French Cinema, which opens June 23 at the Quad, to further spread his love of the movies. In conjunction with the new documentary, the Quad is presenting “Film & Nothing But: Bertrand Tavernier,” consisting of seventeen of his films, with Tavernier either introducing or participating in Q&As at nine screenings, including Beatrice, Coup de torchon, Let Joy Reign Supreme, ’Round Midnight, and Safe Conduct. In addition, he’ll be at all four films that make up “Tavernier Treasures,” a quartet of his favorites: Marcel Carné’s Hôtel du Nord, Pierre Schoendoerffer’s The 317th Platoon, Jacques Becker’s It Happened at the Inn, and Henri Decoin’s The Truth of Our Marriage.
THE CLOCKMAKER (L’HORLOGER DE SAINT-PAUL) (Bertrand Tavernier, 1973)
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Tuesday, June 20, 6:45 (followed by Tavernier Q&A)
Monday, June 26, 9:30
Wednesday, June 28, 7:00
“Film and Nothing But: Bertrand Tavernier” begins June 20 with Life and Nothing But, In the Electric Mist, and Tavernier’s first feature-length work, The Clockmaker. Based on Georges Simenon’s novel L’horloger de Saint-Paul, his debut is a quiet, introspective triumph from start to finish. Philippe Noiret stars as the title character, Michel Descombes, a widowed clockmaker who is told by a police inspector (Jean Rochefort) that his son, Antoine (Jacques Denis), has killed a man and is on the run with a woman named Liliane (Christine Pascal). A despondent Michel struggles to understand what led his son to commit such a crime, examining deep inside himself in the process. The many scenes that center on the clockmaker and the inspector discussing life in general terms are simply wonderful, except when the cop talks about the movies, which takes the audience out of the film, especially when they mention La Grande Bouffe, Noiret’s previous work. Otherwise, The Clockmaker is an absolute gem, with Tavernier’s subtle narrative style guiding Noiret (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, Le vieux fusil) to one of the greatest understated performances you’re ever likely to see. Winner of the Silver Bear at the 1974 Berlinale, The Clockmaker is screening at the Quad on June 20 at 6:45, June 26 at 9:30, and June 28 at 7:00; Tavernier will participate in a Q&A following the June 20 show.