MAY IN THEATER
RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: A CELEBRATION
opens May 5
A titanic force in Japanese music, Ryuichi Sakamoto managed throughout his working life to combine popular acclaim with serious-minded artistic ambition: while enjoying chart-topping successes with synth-pop innovators Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), Sakamoto would simultaneously pursue a solo career as a composer of experimental electronic music. Sakamoto’s career in film scoring began auspiciously with his work on Nagisa Ōshima’s 1983 Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, in which he also starred opposite David Bowie and Takeshi Kitano. The music of Mr. Lawrence, which combines synthesizers, orchestral arrangements, and traditional Japanese instruments, was immediately recognized as a major accomplishment and marked the beginning of a remarkable 40-year run of film scoring that saw Sakamoto collaborate with such directors as Bernardo Bertolucci, Pedro Almodóvar, Jun Ichikawa, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Always a musical pioneer, never content with the commonplace, Sakamoto’s film work was only one facet of his extraordinary creative life, but it would have been more than enough by itself to make him a legend.
async - Love After Love - Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon
The Last Emperor - Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence - The Revenant
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda - Tony Takitani
Identification Marks: The Films of Jerzy Skolimowski
opens May 5
Poet, actor, painter, screenwriter, and director, Jerzy Skolimowski is a creative whirlwind who—even after leaving his native Poland in search of greater artistic freedom—has never stopped working, and with 2022’s EO, produced one of the finest works of an already legendary career. After co-writing the screenplays for Andrzej Wajda’s 1960 Innocent Sorcerers and Knife in the Water, the 1962 debut feature of Roman Polanski, a fellow graduate of the Polish Film School in Lodz, Skolimowski exploded onto the international film scene with his own brilliant breakout works, Identification Marks: None and Walkover, films of youthful brio and rebellion starring the director as alter ego Andrzej Leszczyc. His peripatetic career would see him making masterworks in Belgium, the UK, and the US before a triumphant return to post-Communist Poland where, now in his eighties, he continues to make films distinguished by their spirit of exuberant experimentation.
Co-presented with the Polish Cultural Institute NY
11 Minutes - Barrier - Deep End
EO - Essential Killing - Four Nights With Anna
Hands Up! - Identification Marks: None - Innocent Sorcerers
Knife in the Water - Moonlighting - The Shout
Queens of the Qing Dynasty
OPENS May 5
McKenzie’s follow-up to her knockout 2016 feature debut Werewolf—an intimate portrait of young methadone users in Cape Breton Island, Canada—is another compelling, empathetic study of characters on the fringe of society that confirms the writer-director as a major talent. Following a failed suicide attempt, introverted small town teenager Star (Sarah Walker) is subjected to constant invasive monitoring that does little to help her—until her encounter with An (Ziyin Zheng), a similarly genderqueer international student from Shanghai who’s been assigned to watch her in hospital, offers an unexpected chance for connection. Their blossoming relationship—two kindred spirits meeting across spectrums of culture, queerness, and neurodiversity—unfolds with alchemic crackle, leading up to a deeply moving denouement.
Q&A with director Ashley McKenzie on May 5th
SAKAMOTO’S ASYNC PRESENTED BY WEERASETHAKUL
For one night only, visionary Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul will be in attendance at 7 Ludlow to honor the late Ryuichi Sakamoto—a dear friend and collaborator—with a special tribute screening of Apichatpong’s 2017 short aysnc - first light, a deeply moving joint work from Apichatpong and Sakamoto, which was launched in conjunction with the release of Sakamoto’s 2017 acclaimed album by the same name, and which features close friends, amongst them Tilda Swinton, recording themselves whilst they fall asleep. The film screens alongside the three titles that would go on to win the async short film competition: Sandup Rongkup’s In a Happy Place (chosen by Apichatpong), Mikhail Basov’s Poetry of Banality (chosen by Sakamoto), and the Audience Award-winner, J. K.Wang’s Shosho ni mitsu.
Following the screening, an async surround album-listening event will take place for the first time ever in the United States. From inception, Sakamoto had envisioned a surround-sound version of his 2017 album. This expanded surround version, created in collaboration with Shiro Takatani, poignantly brings that vision to life, playing inside the theater, in 5.1 channel surround sound.
Also Starring... Susannah York
opens May 12
When London-born Susannah York shot to stardom with her role in Tom Jones, Tony Richardson’s rollicking 1963 period comedy, the press publicized the blue-eyed beauty as the very personification of sexy, sultry Swinging London. But as York’s long and storied career would go on to show, she was no flash in the pan fashion plate, but one of the finest British actresses of her generation, always in search of challenging projects to which she could lend her arrestingly vibrant presence, attracting particular praise as a flipped-out flapper in Sydney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? This edition of “Also Starring…” proves that York was far much more than a delicate English Rose.
Loophole - The Maids - Sands of the Kalahari
The Shout - They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? -Tom Jones
Tunes of Glory
Julius Eastman: A Different Score
Opens May 12
A towering but still-too-little-known figure in the world of musical minimalism, New York-born composer, pianist, and singer Julius Eastman blazed a trail through experimental music circles from his 1966 debut at NYC’s Town Hall to his premature death in 1990 at 49 years of age. Since then a new generation of scholars and fans have begun to reclaim Eastman from his undeserved obscurity, a process we’re eager to contribute to with this program focusing on Eastman and the world of way out mid-century avant-garde music that he shaped and was shaped by. Co-curated by Anaïs Ngbanzo, whose new documentary on Eastman, A Different Score, which includes never-before-seen footage from Eastman’s archives and will have its world premiere at Metrograph, and musician Devonté Hynes, a longtime admirer of Eastman’s work who plays a central role in Ngbanzo’s film.
“The beauty of these films lie in the artists, the scenes and music they portray. For some of them for the very interesting way they were filmed.”–Anaïs Ngbanz
“These films are inspiring to me and share a key creative and musical link, I go back to them often.”–Devonté Hynes
Q&As with Anaïs Ngbanzo & Devonté Hynes May 12 and 13
A Different Score - New Music: Sounds and Voices From the Avant-Garde New York 1971
Ornette: Made In America - Sisters With Transistors - The Connection
Mother's Day at Metrograph
Opens May 13
Mom took you to your first movies, so what better occasion to pay her back than Mother’s Day? Here at Metrograph we’re celebrating the day with movies offering very piquant perspectives on the mother and child bond: Wayne Wang’s note-perfect 1993 adaptation of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, describing the peculiarities of relations between Chinese American women and their immigrant mothers; Pedro Almodóvar’s 1999 All About My Mother, an homage to classic melodrama set in a commune of bereaved women in Barcelona and dedicated “to all the people who want to be mothers.”
All About My Mother - The Joy Luck Club - Lady Bird
The Body: Louise Bonnet Selects
Presented with Gagosian
As part of Metrograph’s ongoing collaboration with Gagosian, the Swiss painter Louise Bonnet selects films that explore and unsettle the idea of “the body.”
“The protagonists in these movies are ruled by their outer shells, their bodies—they are betrayed by them, changed by them, and their lives are sometimes turned upside down because of them.”—Louise Bonnet
A. I. Artificial Intelligence - All That Jazz - Audition
Kung Fu Master - The Autopsy of Jane Doe - The Brood
Under the Skin
Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint
Opens May 19
The Swedish painter and mystic Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) was, for decades after her death, a nearly forgotten figure in art history, but the small coterie of admirers who’d discovered the trailblazing abstract canvases she’d begun to produce around 1906 swelled to an army after a blockbuster 2018 Guggenheim exhibition of these visionary works, predicting and predating those of long-canonized abstractionists. Dyrschka, in her assured debut, continues the crucial work of placing af Klint in her rightful place in the story of abstract art, throwing light on the painter’s spiritual beliefs and practice as well as illustrating the forces that deprived her of due credit for her innovations in her lifetime.
A Zeitgeist Films Release in Association with Kino Lorber.
Late nites: wanna bet?
The riveting revolutions of the roulette wheel, read ‘em and weep reveals, fortunes won and lost in an instant, and make-or-break longshots coming through—high stakes gambling makes for high stakes drama, so it’s no surprise that movies through the years have bet big on depictions of games of chance. Every number’s a winner in this Late Nites series, which will take you from glamorous Monte Carlo to grubby Reno, and from the rise of Las Vegas to the razing of old Atlantic City. You’d be nuts not to get in on this action.
Atlantic City - Bay of Angels - Bob le Fambeur
California Split - Casino - The Gambler
Hard Eight - The Hustler - Pale Flower
Mur Murs: Documentaries from Agnès Varda
While the Nouvelle vague filmmakers were, as a group, engaged with the intrinsically documentary quality of cinema, taking movies out of the studios and into the street, none were so deeply involved with nonfiction throughout their careers as Varda, who’d been an established photojournalist years before making her first feature, and who would routinely alternate between fiction and nonfiction modes—often in the same film. Here you can follow the trajectory of Varda’s inspired documentary work through the years in three landmark films: 1975’s Daguerréotypes, a collection of vignettes shot in the vicinity of Varda’s home on Rue Daguerre; 1981’s Mur Murs, a study of Los Angelino street art (and Chicano culture); and 2000’s The Gleaners and I, a touchingly hand-made work which finds the 82-year-old Varda simultaneously enthusiastically embracing new digital technology and looking back over her long life.
Daguerréotypes - The Gleaners and I - Mur Murs
Brunch at Metrograph
Opens May 27
The Metrograph Commissary is open for brunch again, and while we’re not necessarily saying you should start your day with a mimosa or three, we have lined up some time-tested pop crowd-pleasers in the cinemas that’ll look even better if you’ve had a couple. Titles picked with as much care as the Commissary staff lavishes on the cocktails they make, and the perfect high note to hit at the top of Saturdays and Sundays this summer.
The Breakfast Club - Clueless - Grease