This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


(photo by Robyn Von Swank)

Nightfall: A Moonlit Exploration will be filled with surprises at Green-Wood Cemetery (photo by Robyn Von Swank)

Green-Wood Cemetery
25th St. at Fifth Ave., Brooklyn
Saturday, October 20, $75, 8:00

Friday’s site-specific performance of Nightfall: A Moonlit Exploration is sold out, but tickets are still available for Saturday’s show, taking place in historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. You’ll be guided through the Gothic Arches and up and down the endless paths, following thousands of flickering candles as you pass by a vast array of tombs, graves, and crypts that date back hundreds of years. As you go, you’ll encounter music, storytelling, film, and more by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Rooftop Films, Morbid Anatomy, and others, curated by Unison Media, the company behind “Crypt Sessions” and “Angel’s Share.” Tickets are $75, for twenty-one and over only. If you’ve never been to the amazing Green-Wood Cemetery, this should be a great introduction to one of the city’s genuine treasures, especially around Halloween.


French star Jeanne Balibar will be at FIAF for three special events during October

French star Jeanne Balibar will present the world premiere of her one-woman show, Les Historiennes, at FIAF on October 13

French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
October 13, $30-$60, 7:00
Film series continues Tuesdays through October 30

On October 13, extraordinary French actress Jeanne Balibar will be at Florence Gould Hall for the world premiere of Les Historiennes (“The Historians”), a one-woman show that concludes FIAF’s annual Crossing the Line multidisciplinary festival. Balibar, the daughter of a renowned philosopher and a well-respected physicist, will portray three characters in the presentation: the Murderer, based on Anne-Emmanuelle Demartini’s writings on Violette Nozière, a teenager who killed her father in the 1930s; the Slave, based on Charlotte de Castelnau’s writings on several historical issues; and the Actress, about French stage and film star Delphine Seyrig and her father, archaeologist Henri Seyrig. In conjunction with Les Historiennes, FIAF has been hosting “Brilliant Quirky: Jeanne Balibar on Film,” consisting of ten Balibar movies on Tuesdays through October 30. On October 9 she will be at FIAF for a Q&A following the 7:30 sneak preview screening of Barbara, directed by Mathieu Amalric, who was celebrated at FIAF three years ago with his own film series and his US theatrical debut in Le Moral des ménages (“Fight or Flight”).

Jeanne Balibar

Jeanne Balibar will be at FIAF on October 9 to discuss her latest film, Mathieu Amalric’s Barbara

In addition, Maison Française at Columbia is hosting several free, related discussions with the scholars that inspired Les Historiennes, in French with English translations. Last night, “Writing History from a Crime: The Violette Nozière Case” featured Demartini in conversation with Stephane Gerson and Judith Surkis. On October 10 at 6:00, “Marriage and Slavery in the Early Portuguese Atlantic World” features de Castelnau-L’Estoile in conversation with Amy Chazkel and Roquinaldo Ferreira, followed on October 11 at 6:00 by “Biography and the Social Sciences: the Case of Claude Lévi-Strauss” with Loyer in conversation with Emmanuelle Saada and Camille Robcis. And on October 12, Balibar will join Demartini, Loyer, and de Castelnau-L’Estoile for “Women’s voices, women’s stories” at 1:00. “Brilliant Quirky: Jeanne Balibar on Film” continues with such other Balibar flicks as Raúl Ruiz’s Comedy of Innocence and 2013’s Par exemple, Électre, her first film as a director, a collaboration with Pierre Léon in which she also stars.


The War at Home

Restored documentary follows ten years of student protests at the University of Wisconsin in Madison

THE WAR AT HOME (Glenn Silber, 1979)
New York Film Festival: Film Society of Lincoln Center, Francesca Beale Theater
West 65th St. between Eighth Ave. & Broadway, 212-875-5610
Tuesday, October 9, 8:00
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts., 212-660-0312
Opens Friday, October 12

In 1979, the Oscars paid tribute to a changing sentiment in the country regarding the Vietnam War and its veterans, showering accolades on The Deer Hunter and Coming Home. The next year, Vietnam was not so front and center, although a small but important film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature (and also won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance): Glenn Silber and Barry Alexander Brown’s The War at Home, an eye-opening look at the year-by-year history of the antiwar movement at the University of Wisconsin in Madison from 1963 into the early 1970s. Following a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a rerelease of a new 4K digital restoration by IndieCollect, The War at Home is screening October 9 in the Revivals section of the fifty-sixth annual New York Film Festival before opening for a theatrical run at Metrograph on October 12. Although the revival shows its age, the film is startlingly relevant, serving as both a primer and a warning about peaceful protest today. “When we were producing The War at Home in our twenties, we often said we were ‘making this film for our children’ because we understood that we had lived through an extraordinary political and turbulent period,” Silber and Brown explain on the Kickstarter page. “The film is also about the lessons of this politically intense time when a generation of young Americans confronted their government’s policies and lies.”

Glenn Silber and Barry Alexander Brown in 1979 while making The War at Home

Glenn Silber and Barry Alexander Brown in 1979 while making The War at Home

The film traces the antiwar movement in Madison chronologically, combining new interviews of participants on both sides of the issue with archival footage of the brutality of the war and clips of such politicians as Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon, presidential candidates Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, and Charlene Mitchell, Defense secretary Robert McNamara, and Congressman Gerald R. Ford. In one of the film’s most poignant moments, Sen. Ted Kennedy says to a UW audience that he knows what they are against but asks what they are for. Silber and Brown speak with such pivotal figures as Karleton Armstrong, Wisconsin Student Association vice president Margery Tabankin, sociology professor Maurice Zeitlin, black activists Wahid and Liberty Rashad, Elinore Pullen, Susan Colson, ROTC cadet Jack Calhoun, Evan Stark, Quaker peace activist Betty Boardman, businessman and Holocaust survivor Jack Von Mettenheim, underground newspaper editor Ken Mate, Madison mayor Paul Soglin, campus journalist Jim Rowen, and poet Allen Ginsberg, along with campus police chief Ralph Hanson, Sen. Gaylord Nelson, Madison police chief inspector Herman Thomas, university president H. Edwin Young, and Vietnam veterans Al Jenkins, Doug Bradley, and Ron Carbon. “We were trying to build a whole counterculture,” says Students for a Democratic Society head Henry Haslach, noting that their goal was to have an impact on all social issues, not just the war. The film shows the protestors as they burn draft cards, occupy an administration building, demonstrate against Dow chemical, hold a student strike, travel to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and participate in a national moratorium while featuring songs by Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Buffalo Springfield, and Sgt. Barry Sadler and a remarkable political advertisement that makes today’s attack ads look mild.

(photo by Roger Turner / Wisconsin State Journal)

University of Wisconsin was a hotbed of student protests during the Vietnam War (photo by Roger Turner / Wisconsin State Journal)

Nearly forty years after its initial release, The War at Home is no mere time capsule, particularly as Wisconsin is now a key swing state, and Silber will be at the NYFF screening to talk about the film’s current relevance. “Today, we’re facing another president who’s threatening war, destroying our environmental protections, rejecting climate change, lying to the public, debasing the truth, attacking the news media, and tearing at the very fabric of our democratic institutions. That’s why the resistance has sprung up and is fighting back,” he and Brown write on the Kickstarter page. After the Tuesday screening at the festival, The War at Home will open at Metrograph on Friday, with Silber and Brown appearing at Q&As with an all-star lineup: October 12 at 8:30 with Michael Moore, October 13 at 1:00 with Alex Gibney, October 14 at 1:00 with Mark Rudd, and October 15 at 7:15 with Amy Goodman.


3 Faces

Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi plays himself in gorgeously photographed and beautifully paced 3 Faces

Film Society of Lincoln Center
West 65th St. between Eighth Ave. & Broadway
Monday, October 8, Alice Tully Hall, 5:00
Saturday, October 13, Walter Reade Theater, 8:30
Festival runs through October 14

One of the most brilliant and revered storytellers in the world, Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi proves his genius yet again with his latest cinematic masterpiece, the tenderhearted yet subtly fierce road movie 3 Faces. Making its US premiere this week at the New York Film Festival — it previously won the Best Screenplay prize at Cannes — 3 Faces walks the fine line between fiction and nonfiction while defending the art of filmmaking. Popular Iranian movie and television star Behnaz Jafari, playing herself, has received a video in which a teenage girl named Marziyeh (Marziyeh Rezaei), frustrated that her family will not let her study acting at the conservatory where she’s been accepted, commits suicide onscreen, disappointed that her many texts and phone calls to her hero, Jafari, went unanswered. Deeply upset by the video — which was inspired by a real event — Jafari, who claims to have received no such messages, enlists her friend and colleague, writer-director Panahi, also playing himself, to head into the treacherous mountains to try to find out more about Marziyeh and her friend Maedeh (Maedeh Erteghaei). They learn the girls are from a small village in the Turkish-speaking Azeri region in northwest Iran, and as they make their way through narrow, dangerous mountain roads, they encounter tiny, close-knit communities that still embrace old traditions and rituals and are not exactly looking to help them find out the truth.

3 Faces

Iranian star Behnaz Jafari plays herself as she tries to solve a mystery in Jafar Panahi’s 3 Faces

Panahi (Offside, The Circle) — who is banned from writing and directing films in his native Iran, is not allowed to give interviews, and cannot leave the country — spends much of the time in his car, which not only works as a plot device but also was considered necessary in order for him to hide from local authorities who might turn him in to the government. He and Jafari stop in three villages, the birthplaces of his mother, father, and grandparents, for further safety. The title refers to three generations of women in Iranian cinema: Marziyeh, the young, aspiring artist; Jafari, the current star (coincidentally, when she goes to a café, the men inside are watching an episode from her television series); and Shahrzad, aka Kobra Saeedi, a late 1960s, early 1970s film icon who has essentially vanished from public view following the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79, banned from acting in Iran. (Although Shahrzad does not appear as herself in the film, she does read her poetry in voiceover.) 3 Faces is gorgeously photographed by Amin Jafari and beautifully edited by Mastaneh Mohajer, composed of many long takes with few cuts and little camera movement; early on there is a spectacular eleven-minute scene in which an emotionally tortured Behnaz Jafari listens to Panahi next to her on the phone, gets out of the car, and walks around it, the camera glued to her the whole time in a riveting tour-de-force performance.

3 Faces

Behnaz Jafari and Jafar Panahi encounter culture clashes and more in unique and unusual road movie

3 Faces is Panahi’s fourth film since he was arrested and convicted in 2010 for “colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic”; the other works are This Is Not a Film, Closed Curtain, and Taxi Tehran, all of which Panahi starred in and all of which take place primarily inside either a home or a vehicle. 3 Faces is the first one in which he spends at least some time outside, where it is more risky for him; in fact, whenever he leaves the car in 3 Faces, it is evident how tentative he is, especially when confronted by an angry man. The film also has a clear feminist bent, not only centering on the three generations of women, but also demonstrating the outdated notions of male dominance, as depicted by a stud bull with “golden balls” and one villager’s belief in the mystical power of circumcised foreskin and how he relates it to former macho star Behrouz Vossoughi, who appeared with Shahrzad in the 1973 film The Hateful Wolf and is still active today, living in California. 3 Faces is screening October 8 at Alice Tully Hall and October 13 at the Walter Reade Theater; Panahi, of course, will not be present at either show, as his road has been blocked, leaving him a perilous path that he must navigate with great care.


I Am Cuba

A reluctant prostitute named Maria is unhappy to have to deal with American gamblers in Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: I AM CUBA (SOY CUBA) (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1964)
Film Society of Lincoln Center
West 65th St. between Eighth Ave. & Broadway
Sunday, October 7, Walter Reade Theater, 9:00
Festival runs through October 14

The Revivals section of the fifty-sixth New York Film Festival includes a rare screening of Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1964 political epic, I Am Cuba, in a 4K restoration from Milestone. In the early 1960s, the Soviet Union wanted to cement its hold on Cuba and celebrate its new Communist regime by making a propaganda film celebrating the Cuban Revolution and the end of Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorial reign. The Soviets actually disowned the result, considering it too arty and inaccessible for their needs. But it’s quite a film, a lavishly photographed black-and-white gem that was championed by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola when it was resurrected at the Telluride Film Festival in 1992.

I Am Cuba

A 4K restoration of I Am Cuba is being shown in the Revivals section of the New York Film Festival

I Am Cuba is divided into four sections that tell the story of the nation from different points of view. The film opens in a casino where American men degrade Cuban prostitutes; one of the men demands to see the home of one of the women, Maria, so he trudges with her through a poverty-stricken region and meets an unexpected man. Next, Pedro, a tenant farmer, is told that the land he has been working for decades has been sold to the American company United Fruit, so he takes dire action while protecting his family. (“I used to think the most terrifying thing in life is death,” he says. “Now I know the most terrifying thing in life is life.”) In the third story, a university student named Enrique is overeager to get involved in a campus rebellion, especially after saving a young woman from drunk American soldiers and witnessing a cold-blooded shooting by the police. The final part deals with a pacifist villager named Mariano who is being goaded by a soldier to join the military fight for freedom.

I Am Cuba

A pacifist would rather stay home than fight in I Am Cuba

I Am Cuba is one of the most visually stunning films ever made. Kalatozov and cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky, who had previously collaborated on the extraordinary Palme d’Or winner The Cranes Are Flying, create breathtaking tracking shots from virtually impossible angles, high in the air and underwater, assisted by camera operator Alexander Calzatti, who was practically a stuntman to achieve whatever was necessary. A joint production of the Soviet company Mosfilm and the new Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry, the film was written by Soviet poet and novelist Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Cuban director and writer Enrique Pineda Barnet and features interstitial narration by Havana-born actress Raquel Revuelta as the voice of the nation. “Is this a happy picture?” she asks. “Don’t avert your eyes. Look! I am Cuba. For you, I am the casino, the bar, the hotels. But the hands of these children and old people are also me.” Later she encourages her citizenry to take up arms, softly stating, “I am Cuba. Your hands have gotten used to farming tools. But now a rifle is in your hands. You are not shooting to kill. You are firing at the past. You are firing to protect your future.” The film, of course, takes on added relevance today given the US government’s relationship with Cuba and the death of Fidel Castro in November 2016; there are also scenes that seem to prefigure the coming civil rights and peace movements in the US that occurred after the film was made. I Am Cuba is screening on October 7 at 9:00 at the Walter Reade Theater in the Revivals section of the New York Film Festival, which also includes Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Hyenas, Glenn Silber’s The War at Home, and Aleksei Guerman’s Khrustalyov, My Car!


Carmine Street Guitars

Rick Kelly and Cindy Hulej are a mutual admiration society in Carmine Street Guitars

Film Society of Lincoln Center
West 65th St. between Eighth Ave. & Broadway
Saturday, October 6, Walter Reade Theater, 4:15
Monday, October 8, Francesca Beale Theater, 2:30
Festival runs through October 14

In the second half of Ron Mann’s utterly delightful and unique documentary Carmine Street Guitars, a well-dressed, well-groomed young man enters the title store in Greenwich Village and identifies himself as Adam Shalom, a Realtor who is selling the building next door. Shalom tries to talk about square footage, but Carmine Street Guitars founder and owner Rick Kelly barely looks up as he continues cleaning a fret. It’s a critical, uncomfortable moment in an otherwise intimate and inviting film; throughout the rest of the eighty-minute documentary, the soft-spoken Kelly talks guitars and craftsmanship with a stream of very cool musicians and his punk-looking young apprentice, Cindy Hulej. But Shalom’s arrival harkens to one of the main reasons why Mann made the movie: to capture one of the last remaining old-time shops in a changing neighborhood, a former bohemian paradise that has been taken over by hipsters and corporate culture, by upscale stores and restaurants and luxury apartments. You’ll actually cheer that Kelly gives Shalom such short shrift, but you’ll also realize that Shalom and others might be knocking again at that door all too soon.

Carmine Street Guitars

Rick Kelly welcomes “instigator” Jim Jarmusch to his Greenwich Village shop in Carmine Street Guitars

The rest of the film is an absolute treat. Mann follows five days in the life of Carmine Street Guitars; each day begins with a static shot of the store from across the street, emphasizing it as part of a community as people walk by or Kelly, who was born in Bay Shore, arrives with a piece of wood he’s scavenged. The camera then moves indoors to show Kelly and Hulej making guitars by hand, using old, outdated tools and wood primarily from local buildings that date back to the nineteenth century. Kelly doesn’t do computers and doesn’t own a cell phone; he leaves all that to Hulej, who posts pictures of new six-strings on Instagram. Meanwhile, Kelly’s ninetysomething mother, Dorothy, works in the back of the crazily cluttered store, taking care of the books with an ancient adding machine. Over the course of the week, they are visited by such musicians as Dallas and Travis Good of the Sadies (who composed the film’s soundtrack), “Captain” Kirk Douglas of the Roots, Eleanor Friedberger, Dave Hill of Valley Lodge, Jamie Hince of the Kills, Nels Cline of Wilco, Christine Bougie of Bahamas, Marc Ribot, and Charlie Sexton. Bill Frisell plays an impromptu surf-guitar instrumental version of the Beach Boys’ “Surfer Girl.” Stewart Hurwood, Lou Reed’s longtime guitar tech, talks about using Reed’s guitars for the ongoing “DRONES” live installation. “It’s like playing a piece of New York,” Lenny Kaye says about the guitars made from local wood while also referring to the shop as part of the “real village.”

Mann, the Canadian director of such previous nonfiction films as Grass, Know Your Mushrooms, and Comic Book Confidential, was inspired to make the movie at the suggestion of his friend Jarmusch, who in addition to directing such works as Stranger Than Paradise (which featured Balint), Down by Law, and 2016 NYFF selection Paterson is in the New York band Sqürl. Plus, it was Jarmusch who first got Kelly interested in crafting his guitars with wood from buildings, “the bones of old New York,” resulting in Telecaster-based six-strings infused with the history of Chumley’s, McSorley’s, the Chelsea Hotel, and other city landmarks. Carmine Street Guitars, which is far more than just mere guitar porn, is screening in the Spotlight on Documentary section of the New York Film Festival on October 6 and 8, with Mann participating in Q&As after each show, joined by special guests, including Kelly and Hulej on October 6. The film will be preceded by the world premiere of eighty-seven-year-old Manfred Kirchheimer’s thirty-nine-minute Dream of a City, a collage of 16mm black-and-white images of construction sites and street scenes taken between 1958 and 1960, set to music by Shostakovich and Debussy. Kirchheimer (Stations of the Elevated) will also be at both Q&As as well as the October 6 free NYFF Docs Talk with Alexis Bloom, James Longley, Mark Bozek, and Tom Surgal, moderated by Lesli Klainberg.



Giant fluffy puppies get in the way of a Portuguese soccer star’s dreams in Diamantino

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: DIAMANTINO (Daniel Schmidt & Gabriel Abrantes, 2018)
Film Society of Lincoln Center
West 65th St. between Eighth Ave. & Broadway
Thursday, October 4, Walter Reade Theater, 9:30
Friday, October 5, Howard Gilman Theater, 6:30
Saturday, October 13, Howard Gilman Theater, 9:15
Festival runs through October 14

At the fifty-sixth annual New York Film Festival, you can catch a documentary, foreign-language picture, political thriller, high-tech crime chiller, comedy, romantic melodrama, fantasy and sci-fi, and more — all in one wildly entertaining film. Diamantino, Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s full-length feature debut, is an absurdist multigenre mashup that is as tense as it is funny, an unpredictable romp that evokes Ernst Lubitsch, Howard Hawks, Michel Gondry, Philip K. Dick, South Park, Cinderella, James Bond, Being There, Minority Report, and Au Hasard Balthazar while feeling wholly original. Carloto Cotta stars as the title character, Diamantino Matamouros, a Portuguese soccer star à la Cristiano Ronaldo (pre-sexual assault allegations) who sees giant fluffy puppies when he is on the field. After botching a penalty kick in the World Cup Final, the stupendously beautiful star learns that his beloved father and mentor (Chico Chapas) has died. His evil twin sisters, Sónia (Anabela Moreira) and Natasha (Margarida Moreira), become his agents and make a secret deal with the mysterious Dr. Lamborghini (Carla Maciel) and a government minister (Silva Joana). Meanwhile, investigators Aisha Brito (Cleo Tavares) and Lucia (Vargas Maria Leite) — lovers who are soon to be married — are looking into Diamantino’s finances and devise a plan to get close to him by having Aisha pose as a male refugee named Rahim who Diamantino adopts as his son.


Diamantino Matamouros (Carloto Cotta) is surrounded by images of himself in Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s dazzling feature debut

Everyone except his sisters, who know better, thinks he is some kind of genius mastermind, but Diamantino is actually an addled simpleton who understands very little about life. He enjoyed playing soccer, likes eating Nutella and whipped cream sandwiches, and, following his tearful retirement, hangs out with his cat, Mittens, and dedicates himself to raising Rahim, who he does not realize is actually a grown woman. He’s reminiscent of Chance the Gardener (Peter Sellers) in Being There, but his airheaded statements — which are outrageously funny — are seldom mistaken for brilliance, except when he’s manipulated into making fascistic political statements he doesn’t understand.

Diamantino is stunningly photographed by Charles Ackley Anderson, who quickly adapts the film’s visual style as it switches from fantasy to love story to futuristic thriller, with numerous memorable shots, including Lucia in a white nun’s habit on a motorbike, Diamantino and Rahim sleeping on pillows with large images of the soccer star’s head, and a huge fluffy puppy playing goal in the championship game. American-born directors and longtime collaborators Abrantes and Schmidt, who edited the film with Raphaëlle Martin-Holger, show a deep love and respect for movies, infusing Diamantino with charm and energy, humor and compassion, honoring, in their own way, the history of cinema. The rest of the cast and crew do their part as well, from art director Bruno Duarte and composers Ulysse Klotz and Adriana Holtz to the Moreira sisters and multidisciplinary Portuguese star Manuela Moura Guedes as television interviewer Gisele. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes Critics’ Week, Diamantino is screening in the Projections section of the New York Film Festival on October 4 and 5, with Schmidt and Abrantes participating in Q&As after each show. Also, an October 13 screening at 9:15 has just been added.