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


 (image © Julio Salgado)

(image © Julio Salgado)

Park Ave. Armory
643 Park Ave. at 67th St.
Sunday, April 14, $25, 3:00

In December, Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera was arrested in Havana for protesting Decree 349, which criminalizes public and private art that the Ministry of Culture deems unpatriotic or does not receive government permission for commercialization. “Before there was censorship, you could play around. Now you go to jail, now they take your house. It’s not a joke. There are no more games to play,” Bruguera told the Guardian in February. “What we want is to eliminate the decree and work together to find regulations that are based on the needs of the artists and what will protect them, not only the government.” Bruguera, an artist-in-residence at Park Avenue Armory, will be at the armory on April 14 for the Sunday Salon discussing a place to seek refuge: The presentation, part of the Interrogations of Form series, is entitled “Museum as Sanctuary.” The salon kicks off at 3:00 with an introduction by Bruguera and “Make Sanctuary Not Art,” a ritual gathering on safe spaces led by Luba Cortes, Geoff Trenchard, Jackie Vimo, and Abou Farman. From 4:30 to 5:30, the pop-up exhibition “You See Me?!?” displays work by undocumented LGBTQ Mexican American artist Julio Salgado and the collective Emulsify, including the video installation “Con Cámaras y Sín Papeles.” The afternoon concludes at 5:30 with “Institutions as Sanctuary in Times of Exclusion,” a conversation with Alexandra Délano Alonso, Camilo Godoy, Sonia Guiñansaca, Bitta Mostofi, and Verónica Ramírez, moderated by Bruguera.


Tribeca Film Festival

Francis Ford Coppola will be at the Tribeca Film Festival screening and discussing Apocalypse Now: Final Cut

Beacon Theatre
2124 Broadway at 75th St.
Tribeca Film Festival runs April 25 - May 5

The hottest events of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival are taking place on the Upper West Side at the Beacon Theatre, where screenings, discussions, and live performances will feature Wu-Tang Clan, Spinal Tap, Francis Ford Coppola, the Trey Anastasio Band, and Martin Scorsese with Robert De Niro. Tickets are going fast, so act now if you want to catch any of these special presentations.

Thursday, April 25
Tribeca TV: Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (Sacha Jenkins, 2019), followed by a live performance by Wu-Tang Clan, $116, 8:00

Friday, April 26
Movies Plus: Between Me and My Mind (Steven Cantor, 2019), followed by a live performance by the Trey Anastasio Band, 8:00

Tribeca Film Festival

Wu-Tang Clan will play live at the Tribeca Film Festival after screening of Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men

Saturday, April 27
Anniversary Screenings: This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984), followed by a discussion with Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Rob Reiner and a live performance by Spinal Tap, $46-$256, 8:00

Sunday, April 28
Directors Series: Martin Scorsese with Robert De Niro, 2:00

Anniversary Screenings: Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979), world premiere of fortieth anniversary 4K Ultra HD restored version, with special Meyer Sound VLFC, followed by a discussion with Francis Ford Coppola, $46-$116, 5:00


Irma (Kati Outinen) and M (Markku Peltola) face an uncertain future in Aki Kaurismäki’s The Man Without a Past

Irma (Kati Outinen) and M (Markku Peltola) face an uncertain future in Aki Kaurismäki’s The Man Without a Past

THE MAN WITHOUT A PAST (Aki Kaurismäki, 2002)
7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Tuesday, April 9, 4:00 & 8:00
Series runs through April 11

Metrograph celebrates the career of Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki with the fab series “Total Kaurismäki Show,” consisting of seventeen features and an evening of nine shorts by the uniquely talented writer-director who sees the world like nobody else. On April 9, Metrograph will be screening The Man Without a Past, Kaurismäki’s touching, funny, dark, and satiric film that won the 2002 Grand Jury Prize at Cannes. In the brutal opening, an unidentified character gets severely beaten and dies, then wakes up with amnesia. M (Markku Peltola) is soon taken in by a desperately poor family who lives in a shack they call a container. He meets Irma (Kati Outinen, in a small role that won her Best Actress at Cannes), and their potential romance is both sweet and absurd. Kaurismäki wrote, produced, and directed this splendid example of the offbeat nature of his work, which is always intelligent, challenging, and rewarding.

Lights in the Dusk

Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi) and Koistinen (Janne Hyytiäinen) consider their future in Lights in the Dusk

LIGHTS IN THE DUSK (Aki Kaurismäki, 2006)
Tuesday, April 9, 6:15 & 10:15

The final installment in his self-described Loser Trilogy (following Drifting Clouds and The Man Without a Past), Lights in the Dusk is another existential masterpiece from Kaurismäki. Janne Hyytiäinen stars as Koistinen, a pathetic little security guard who has pipe dreams of starting his own company. A lonely man with no friends — except for Aila (Maria Heiskanen), who runs a late-night hot-dog van and whom he continually shuns — Koistinen is easily taken in by Mirja (Maria Järvenhelmi), a romantic interest who has ulterior motives. But no matter how bad things get for Koistinen — and they get pretty bad — he just wanders his way through it all, preferring to simply accept the consequences, no matter how undeserved, rather than take a more active role in his life. The character has a lot in common with Kati Outinen’s sad-sack, trampled-upon Iris from Kaurismäki’s The Match Factory Girl — in fact, Outinen makes a cameo in Lights in the Dusk as a cashier at a grocery store.

Marcel (André Wilms) and Arletty Marx (Kati Outinen) face life with a deadpan sense of humor in Aki Kaurismäki’s Le Havre

Marcel (André Wilms) and Arletty Marx (Kati Outinen) face life with a deadpan sense of humor in Aki Kaurismäki’s Le Havre

LE HAVRE (Aki Kaurismäki, 2011)
Wednesday, April 10, 5:00 & 8:30

For more than thirty years, Kaurismäki (Leningrad Cowboys Go America, The Other Side of Hope) has been making existential deadpan black comedies that are often as funny as they are dark and depressing. In the thoroughly engaging Le Havre, Kaurismäki moves the setting to a small port town in France, where shoeshine man Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a self-described former Bohemian, worries about his seriously ill wife (Kati Outinen) while trying to help a young African boy (Blondin Miguel), who was smuggled into the country illegally on board a container ship, steer clear of the police, especially intrepid detective Monet (Jean-Pierre Darroussin), who never says no to a snifter of Calvados. Adding elements of French gangster and WWII Resistance films with Godardian undercurrents — he even casts Jean-Pierre Léaud in a small but pivotal role — Kaurismäki wryly examines how individuals as well as governments deal with illegal immigrants, something that has taken on more importance than ever these days. Through it all, Marcel remains steadfast and stalwart, quietly and humbly going about his business, deadpan every step of the way. Wouter Zoon’s set design runs the gamut from stark grays to bursts of color, while longtime Kaurismäki cinematographer Timo Salminen shoots scene after scene with a beautiful simplicity. Winner of a Fipresci critics award at Cannes and Finland’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Le Havre, the first of a proposed trilogy, is another marvelously unusual, charmingly offbeat tale from a master of the form.


Penny Lane (photo by Joseph Michael Lopez)

Penny Lane will be at Museum of the Moving Image for complete retrospective and new documentary (photo by Joseph Michael Lopez)

Museum of the Moving Image
35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria
April 5–7

In conjunction with the release of her latest nonfiction feature film, documentarian Penny Lane is being celebrated at the Museum of the Moving Image this week with screenings of all four of her full-length films — Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Pain of Others, Our Nixon, and the new Hail Satan? — in addition to her many shorts: Sometimes I Get Lossy, The Abortion Diaries, The Wren, The Commoners, Nellie Bly Makes the News, The Voyagers, The Pleasure Principle, Kitsch Is a Beautiful Lie, Just Add Water: The Story of the Amazing Live Sea Monkeys, How to Write an Autobiography, Men Seeking Women, Normal Appearances, and We Are the Littletons. Lane — yes, it’s her real name — will be at MoMI for all three Saturday programs to discuss her process and the wide range of her subject matter.

Banksy reveals only so much of himself in new documentary

Banksy reveals only so much of himself in compelling documentary

Friday, April 5, 7:00

The series opens with Banksy’s 2010 Exit Through the Gift Shop, which Penny Lane selected as an important influence on her. In 1999, L.A.-based French shopkeeper and amateur videographer Thierry Guetta discovered that he was related to street artist Invader and began filming his cousin putting up his tile works. Guetta, who did not know much about art, soon found himself immersed in the underground graffiti scene. On adventures with such famed street artists as Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Ron English, and Borf, Guetta took thousands of hours of much-sought-after video. The amateur videographer was determined to meet Banksy, the anarchic satirist who has been confounding authorities around the world with his striking, politically sensitive works perpetrated right under their noses, from England to New Orleans to the West Bank. Guetta finally gets his wish and begins filming the seemingly unfilmable as Banksy, whose identity has been a source of controversy for more than a decade, allows Guetta to follow him on the streets and invites him into his studio. But as he states at the beginning of his brilliant documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Banksy—who hides his face from the camera in new interviews and blurs it in older footage—turns the tables on Guetta, making him the subject of this wildly entertaining film.

Guetta is a hysterical character, a hairy man with a thick accent who plays the jester in Banksy’s insightful comedy of errors. Billed as “the world’s first Street Art disaster movie,” Exit, which is narrated by Welsh actor Rhys Ifans (Danny Deckchair) and features a soundtrack by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow sandwiched in between Richard Hawley’s declaratory “Tonight the Streets Are Ours,” is all the more exciting and intriguing because the audience doesn’t know what is actually true and what might be staged; although the film could be one hundred percent real and utterly authentic, significant parts of it could also be completely made up. Who’s to say that’s even Banksy underneath the black hood, talking about Guetta, who absurdly rechristens himself Mr. Brainwash? It could very well be Banksy’s F for Fake from start to finish. No matter. Exit Through the Gift Shop is riotously funny, regardless of how you feel about street art, Banksy, and especially the art market itself (as the title so wryly implies). Exit Through the Gift Shop is screening at MoMI on April 5 at 7:00, preceded by two Lane shorts, 2010’s How to Write an Autobiography and 2014’s We Are the Littletons.

Deputy Assistant Dwight Chapin zooms in on the Nixon White House in all-archival documentary (Super 8 film still, Dipper Films)

Deputy Assistant Dwight Chapin zooms in on the Nixon White House in all-archival documentary (Super 8 film still, Dipper Films)

OUR NIXON (Penny Lane, 2012)
Saturday, April 6, 4:30

Penny Lane will be at MoMI on April 6 at 4:30 to screen and talk about her debut documentary, the all-archival Our Nixon, which offers a compelling new inside look at the Nixon White House. The classic cautionary tale about power, corruption, and paranoia, which ultimately brought down the thirty-seventh president of the United States, has been told many times before, on film (All the President’s Men, Oliver Stone’s Nixon), in books (Woodward and Bernstein’s The Final Days, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon), onstage (Frost/Nixon, Checkers), and even as an opera (John Adams’s Nixon in China). When Nixon moved into the White House in January 1969, he brought along three key figures: Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman, Chief Domestic Adviser John Erlichman, and Deputy Assistant Dwight Chapin. And those three men brought along Super 8 cameras, prepared to document not only their daily lives but also how they were going to change the nation. During its investigation of the Watergate scandal, the FBI confiscated more than five hundred reels of footage, totaling more than twenty-six hours, taken by Haldeman, Erlichman, and Chapin, and these home movies, which belong to the Nixon Library and have been digitized specifically for the film, form the basis of Our Nixon. Director-producer Lane combines this deeply personal footage — showing alternate views of the 1969 inauguration, a White House Easter egg hunt, the moon landing, Trisha Nixon’s wedding, Nixon’s trip to China, the Republican National Convention, and other, more mundane events — with carefully chosen audio excerpts from the White House tapes, creating a unique audiovisual experience.

H. R. Haldeman takes home movies at the Great Wall of China in 1974 (Super 8 film still, Dipper Films)

H. R. Haldeman takes home movies at the Great Wall of China in 1974 (Super 8 film still, Dipper Films)

Lane foregoes any political and historical experts in favor of having the protagonists do all the talking, through radio and television interviews (with Mike Wallace, Barbara Walters, and Phil Donahue), oral histories, and the secret White House recordings. In addition, there are supplemental news reports from Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Daniel Schorr, and others. As interesting as it is to see the home movies, the audiotapes are mesmerizing, revealing some of the behind-the-scenes manipulations that were often not nearly as planned as most people assume. It is actually both frightening and sad to hear Nixon talking to Haldeman about a just-completed short television address he gave to the nation, the president concerned about how he came off and upset that only one colleague called to congratulate him. And just wait till you hear what they have to say about Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Although Our Nixon offers no excuses or apologies for the actions of the Nixon White House, it does humanize, instead of demonize, these central figures, who might not have been quite as overtly evil as many people would like to believe. Of course, that doesn’t mean they come across as a group of cuddly teddy bears either.


The bizarre story of John Romulus Brinkley is recounted in unique ways in “Nuts!”

“NUTS!” (Penny Lane, 2016)
Saturday, April 6, 7:00

Penny Lane will also be at MoMI for her wonderfully titled, inventively told “Nuts!,” which tells the wacky true tale of Dr. John R. Brinkley, a pivotal twentieth-century figure who was part P. T. Barnum, part Donald Trump, a controversial doctor or a quack, a radio pioneer or a snake-oil charlatan, depending on one’s opinion. He became rich and famous by surgically implanting goat glands into men’s testicles, claiming it increased virility, but his story is about much more than that. “This is a film about John Romulus Brinkley, a doctor, amongst other things, a man who succeeded against terrible odds and powerful opposition, a man who changed the world,” narrator Gene Tognacci explains early on. Lane, who previously profiled another intriguing individual in her debut feature-length documentary, 2013’s Our Nixon, this time follows the often outrageous exploits of Brinkley, using text from Clement Wood’s 1934 book, The Life of a Man: A Biography of John R. Brinkley, home movies and photographs, newspaper and magazine articles, and actual radio broadcasts. She also has seven different animators re-create scenes from Brinkley’s life and career, and each artist or team (Drew Christie & Dane Herforth, Julia Veldman C, Michael Pisano, Krystal Downs, Ace & Son Moving Picture Co., Rose Stark, and Hazel Lee Santino & Downs) employs a unique style while maintaining the film’s overall potent sense of humor. Producer-director Lane, who cleverly edited the film with writer Thom Stylinski, initially casts Brinkley as a sympathetic character just trying to get his own piece of the American dream for him and his family in the tiny town of Milford, Kansas, but as Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, gets ever closer in his obsessive quest to discredit Brinkley, everything the goat-gland doctor has built threatens to unravel. But Lane’s genius is yet to come, as she begins to unravel our assumptions and the very process of biography and history itself as the film proceeds to its inevitable conclusion.

It’s hard to believe that “Nuts!” is true, but that’s all part of the fun. Lane just lays it out there for us to see, and you’ll be rooting for Brinkley as he grows his empire, just as you’ll be booing Fishbein for desperately trying to bring him down. Brinkley was a kind of mad genius, understanding how to get ahead in business by giving the people what they want via early infomercials, realizing the vast power of radio, and flouting the rules whenever he could — and then attempting to change them. Lane limits the talking heads to very occasional comments from historian and former Kansas councilman James Reardon, social and cultural historian Dr. Megan Seaholm, Border Radio: Quacks, Yodelers, Pitchmen, Psychics, and Other Amazing Broadcasters of the American Airwaves coauthor Gene Fowler, and Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam author Pope Brock. “Nuts!” is all the more comic for its reality, and Lane has succeeded wildly in transferring that notion to the way she has made the film, literally revealing the hands of the artist as the pages of Wood’s sycophantic book are turned; by the end, viewers will be questioning the documentary form itself just as they’re questioning Brinkley’s validity. In fact, Lane is readying a public online database “for audiences to consider the epistemological and ethical issues at the heart of the nonfiction storytelling process.” “Nuts!” will be preceded by Lane’s 2004 Kitsch Is a Beautiful Lie and 2011 Just Add Water: The Story of the Amazing Live Sea Monkeys.


Christ Stopped at Eboli

Mayor Don Luigi Magalone (Paolo Bonacelli) introduces political prisoner Carlo Levi (Gian Maria Volontè) to his remote Italian village in Christ Stopped at Eboli

Film Forum
209 West Houston St.
April 3-18

Film Forum repertory programming director and Rialto Pictures founder and copresident Bruce Goldstein has spent some 30 years attempting to get the rights to restore and release the 220-minute television version of Francesco Rosi’s 1979 epic, Christ Stopped at Eboli. Now that he has succeeded in his personal quest for that holy grail, it’s easy to see why: The four-part foray into Fascism, faith, and forgotten peasants is a magnificent masterpiece. In 1935, Italian writer, painter, intellectualist, and anti-Fascist leader Carlo Levi (Gian Maria Volontè) was exiled to the remote mountain village of Lucania (now known as Basilicata) in the instep of Italy’s boot, where the small community lived much like its ancestors did. Levi recounted his experience there in his 1945 nonfiction novel, which Rosi adapted into a 150-minute theatrical film and the longer, more in-depth television version; the latter has its long-awaited US theatrical premiere April 3 at Film Forum in a glorious 4K restoration featuring a new translation by Michael F. Moore (who will introduce the 7:00 screening on Wednesday night).

“Christ stopped at Eboli. Where the road and the train abandon the coast and the sea, and venture into the wastelands of Lucania,” Levi says in early voiceover narration. “Christ never came here. Nor did time, the individual soul, or hope, nor did cause and effect, reason or history. No one has set foot on this land, except as a conqueror, an enemy, or an uncomprehending visitor. Today the seasons rush past over the toil of peasants, as they did three thousand years before Christ. In this dark land, without sin or redemption, where evil is not moral, but an earthly sorrow, in all things for eternity. Christ never descended. Christ stopped at Eboli.” It’s not that Jesus stopped in Eboli; he stopped at the edge of the town, without going into this godforsaken place.

Christ Stopped at Eboli

Priest Don Traiella (François Simon) shows Carlo Levi (Gian Maria Volontè) the ruins of his church in Christ Stopped at Eboli

The film opens beautifully, with a shot of one of Levi’s paintings, of a child peering over its left shoulder, mouth turned in sadness, mountains in the background, as Piero Piccioni’s lush, aching score plays underneath. (The image is on the cover of Levi’s book Le parole sono pietre, which means “Words are stones.”) Rosi cuts to Levi’s face; with his heavily gray beard and mustache and thick, wavy hair, he resembles a biblical figure. His eyes search off camera, then he shifts his head to gaze at the painting; Rosi zooms in on the child’s forlorn face, and Levi remembers. “Many years have gone by,” he says, sitting in his studio as Rosi focuses on other paintings of distraught men, women, and children. “Years of war . . . and what we call history. Tossed about by fate, I could not keep the promise I made, when I said goodbye to my peasants, that I would return. And I do not know if or when I can keep it. But closed in a room, in a closed world, I indulge in remembering that other world. Imprisoned in its pain and customs, forgotten by history, by the State, eternally patient. That land of mine, without comfort or kindness, where the peasant lives in misery and isolation, in his motionless civilization, on arid soil, in the presence of death.” It’s an elegiac moment of a man measuring regret as the narrative travels back to 1935.

Levi is a gentle soul who has accepted his temporary fate, exiled from his native Turin to the middle of nowhere in southern Italy. He is staying in a dank room with a family who occasionally gives the second bed to an old friend or a local drunk. He speaks very little, instead taking it all in with his penetrating, thoughtful eyes. He can’t fraternize with the other political prisoners in the village (its real name is Aliano; Levi calls it Gagliano), but he does have conversations with the mayor, Don Luigi Magalone (Paolo Bonacelli), a loyal Fascist who censors Levi’s letters; the priest, Don Traiella (François Simon), an alcoholic with a meager flock; and a clarinetist tax collector (played by a street cleaner from Matera) who fills Levi in on the dire situation of the peasants, who have been ignored by Rome. He goes on long walks with his new dog, Barone, who adopted Levi at the Eboli train station, but he is not allowed to go past the local cemetery.

After his sister, Luisa (Lea Massari), pays him a visit, he gets better living quarters and starts painting again; he particularly wants to do a portrait of his housekeeper, Giulia Venere (Irene Papas), the only woman who is permitted to take care of his home because her virtue is already gone, as she has been pregnant seventeen times from numerous men. He takes a liking to Giulia’s young son Carmelino (Carmelo Lauria), who is curious about Levi. Meanwhile, when the townspeople find out that Levi is a doctor, they demand he treat them even though he tells them that despite his degree he has never practiced medicine. He looks around at the misery that is everywhere — gorgeously photographed by Pasqualino De Santis, using a muted, earthy palette that emphasizes the grayness that hovers over everyone as the camera focuses on a crumbling church, a small protest, the vast, desolate emptiness of the rocky landscape surrounding the village, complemented by Piccioni’s sweeping, melodramatic soundtrack — and tries to get by as basically as he can, without complaint or argument save for the occasional sly aside.

Christ Stopped at Eboli

Giulia Venere (Irene Papas) is the only woman allowed to work for Carlo Levi (Gian Maria Volontè) in Francesco Rosi masterpiece

Volontè (A Fistful of Dollars, A Bullet for the General), who also appeared in Rosi’s Many Wars Ago, The Mattei Affair, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and Lucky Luciano (which is screening at Film Forum on April 14), is impeccable as Levi, who carries himself with grace and dignity, participating in life with the peasants and holding his tongue as news reports announce Il Duce’s invasion of Abyssinia, although he sometimes can’t help but mildly scoff at many of the villagers’ uniquely strange rituals and beliefs. He recognizes his elitism but refuses to flaunt it. While Rosi (Salvatore Giuliano, Three Brothers) includes elements of neo-Realism, Christ Stopped at Eboli is a contemporary fable with surreal touches, with a cast of professional and nonprofessional actors who successfully form a cinematic community, encouraged to improvise to heighten reality. It’s a tenderly told tale of southern Italy — Rosi was born in Naples — and a town that has turned its back on a country that has turned its back on it. The film is imbued with a magical mysticism that is intoxicating; it’s clear why Goldstein spent decades trying to bring it back to life, and now it’s a gift for us all.


Dean Martin and John Wayne have their hands full in Howard Hawks’s Rio Bravo

RIO BRAVO (Howard Hawks, 1959)
7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Friday, April 5, 7:00

Howard Hawks’s anti-High Noon is a surprisingly sensitive, extremely clever exploration of interpersonal relationships disguised as a Western genre picture. John Wayne stars as Sheriff John T. Chance, a big, bold small-town Texas lawman who arrests local bully Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) for committing cold-blooded murder. The cocky Burdette doesn’t expect to be in jail long, not with his brother, Nathan (John Russell), being the most powerful — and potentially dangerous — man in Rio Bravo, and what with Chance’s deputies being useless drunk Dude (Dean Martin) and an old cripple known as Stumpy (Walter Brennan). Despite offers of help from such friends as businessman Pat Wheeler (Ward Bond), Chance is determined to go it with just Dude and Stumpy as they attempt to hold Joe until the federal marshal arrives. But Nathan and his hired band of bounty hunters are just as determined to free Joe, whatever the cost. Chance is not so foolish as to think that he can take Burdette’s crew on just by himself; he actually doesn’t want anyone else to die for something he considers his responsibility. Meanwhile, he is keeping his eyes on Feathers (Angie Dickinson), a tough-talking young woman with a sordid past, and Colorado (Ricky Nelson), a sharpshooting young stud only out for himself.

The set-up is merely an excuse for Hawks to delve into some serious male bonding and potential romance as Dude, called Borrachón (“Drunk”), tries to put down the bottle, Feathers attempts to prove that she’s not all bad, and Colorado eventually replaces his guns for a few minutes with a guitar to sing with Dude and Stumpy. Wayne plays it all marvelously, portraying Chance as a complex individual who understands the fears and desires, limitations and possibilities inherent in everyone he meets, yet always remaining cool. Appropriately enough, the local hotel, run by the always helpful Carlos (Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) and his wife, Consuela (Estelita Rodriguez), is named the Alamo, not boding well for Chance and his meager team. Even at its 141-minute running time, Rio Bravo feels far more intimate than epic. Rio Bravo is being shown April 5 at 7:00 on an IB Technicolor Print at Metrograph on the Lower East Side, the second part of “Kent Jones’s Dream Double Feature,” selected by filmmaker and New York Film Festival director Kent Jones; the first part was Monte Hellman’s The Shooting.



Ami Tomite stars in Sion Sono’s bizarre, beguiling, anarchistic Anti-Porno

ANTI-PORNO (ANCHI PORUNO) (アンチポルノ) (Sion Sono, 2016)
7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
April 4-6, 3:00 & 10:30

“I’m a virgin. A virgin, but a whore,” successful novelist, painter, and fashion designer Kyoko (Ami Tomite) says at the beginning of Sion Sono’s bizarre, deliciously candy-colored, and anarchic Anti-Porno, screening April 4-6 in the “Late Nites at Metrograph” series. You never know what to expect from Siono, whose previous films include the wild and wacky Love & Peace, the wild and crazy Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and the strangely beautiful and touching Himizu. Anti-Porno is part of Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno Reboot Project, a celebration of the forty-fifth anniversary of the studio’s Japanese softcore films, which began in 1971 with Shōgorō Nishimura’s Apartment Wife: Affair in the Afternoon and continued through 1988 with Daisuke Gotō’s Bed Partner. In true Sono style, he honors the format by confusing fiction with reality, star characters with minor newbies, and the past with the present in ways that are as exhilarating as they are confounding.

Anti-Porno offers a candy-colored look at sex and power

Anti-Porno offers a candy-colored look at sex and power

The story takes place primarily in a spectacular apartment decked out in bright yellows, blues, and reds, with large-scale paintings and a lushly alluring open bathroom. Kyoko is a self-obsessed terror who abuses her dedicated assistant, Noriko (Mariko Tsutsui) — or is it the other way around? “I want to be a whore like you,” Noriko begs. There’s fetishism galore, plenty of nudity, a lizard trapped in a bottle, incest, an audience of girls in Sailor Moon outfits, sycophantic hangers-on, a mysterious sex film, and then a man yells, “Cut!” Soon you’re not sure who’s in charge, who’s the lead, and whether you’re watching a movie, a movie-within-a-movie, or a novel-within-a-movie-within-a-movie. “This isn’t my life!” Kyoko screams. Or is it? Sono, who also wrote the script, uses the porn format to question ideas of sexuality, misogyny, freedom, abuse, feminism, exploitation, dominance, art, power, and pornography itself, resulting in a rousing, er, climax. The gorgeous production design is by Takashi Matsuzuka, with striking cinematography by Maki Ito, raunchy costumes by Kazuhiro Sawataishi, and an inventive, wide-ranging score by Susumu Akizuki. “Late Nites at Metrograph” continues Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings with such other unusual fare as Stuart A. Staples’s Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F Percy Smith, Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Bertrand Bonello’s House of Tolerance.