19 Films to See This Week: Kiarostami, Borowczyk, Kubrick + More

From IFC Center and BAM  to Film Forum and The Film Society of Lincoln Center, check out the 19 films to see this week around the city.

**MONDAY, APRIL 6**

NED RIFLE, Hal Hartley
IFC Center

The third and final film in the Henry Fool trilogy. Henry Fool and Fay Grim’s son Ned sets out to find and kill his father for destroying his mother’s life. But his aims are frustrated by the troublesome, sexy, and hilarious Susan, whose connection to Henry predates even his arrival in the lives of the Grim family. A funny, sad, and sexy adventure, Ned Rifle is an intellectually stimulating and compassionate satire.

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THE KILLING, Stanley Kubrick
BAM

Harris and Kubrick kicked off their three-film winning streak with this ultra-tense heist film, in which a band of two-bit crooks pull an elaborate racetrack robbery—only to see their perfectly laid plan unravel after the job. Unfolding in an intricate flashback structure, this coolly ironic noir features hardboiled dialogue by Jim Thompson and memorable character turns by professional oddballs like Elisha Cook Jr. and Timothy Carey.

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TELEFON, Don Siegel
BAM

In this pulse-pounding Cold War espionage thriller, produced by Harris, a Russian officer (Bronson) is dispatched to the US to thwart a rogue KGB operative (Pleasence) activating brainwashed sleeper agents to kill Americans. Action auteur Don Siegel injects plenty of snap, crackle, and pop into this twist-filled spy-versus-spy yarn.

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BEHIND CONVENT WALLS, Walerian Borowczyk
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Inspired by a passage in Stendhal’s Promenades dans Rome, Borowczyk’s first Italian production concerns the antics of a convent full of sexually repressed nuns. Deceptively frivolous, Borowczyk’s film is nevertheless a serious exploration of the relationship between flesh and spirit. Likened to Boccaccio by Alberto Moravia, Behind Convent Walls features striking handheld cinematography by Luciano Tovoli and the final performance of Borowczyk’s wife, Ligia Branice. Note: contains explicit sexual content.

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STORY OF SIN, Walerian Borowczyk
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Based on the novel by Stefan Żeromski, Story of Sin is Borowczyk’s singular Polish feature film. Grażyna Długołęcka plays Ewa Pobratyńska, the doomed heroine whose passion for a married anthropology student takes her on a perilous journey across early-20th-century Europe. Casting a critical eye on the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, Story of Sin counts as Borowczyk’s most passionate film, a delirious melodrama that reaches an ecstatic pitch. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Note: contains explicit sexual content.

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INTOLERANCE, D.W. Griffith
Film Forum

(1916) Overwhelmingly spectacular follow-up to The Birth of a Nation, with Lillian Gish’s cradle-rocking tying together stories of Christ, the 16th century St. Bartholomew Day Massacre, the fall of Babylon, and a modern day story capped by the original car vs. train race to deliver the reprieve. This restoration features a lush orchestral score by Carl Davis. Approx. 167 min. DCP.

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**TUESDAY, APRIL 7**

LOVE RITES, Walerian Borowcyzk
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Borowczyk’s final feature returns with a vengeance to a signature theme—emasculation. Vain clothing buyer Hugo (Mathieu Carrière) meets beautiful Myriam (Marina Pierro) on the Metro and pursues her, discovering to his delight that she’s a prostitute. The crafty Myriam, of course, has more in mind for their encounter than smug Hugo bargained for. Though perhaps less graphic than Borowczyk’s best-known works, Love Rites nevertheless turns the sexual tables with perverse exactitude. Note: contains explicit sexual content.

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LULU, Walerian Borowczyk
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Based on the Lulu plays by Frank Wedekind (which formed the basis for G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box), Borowczyk presents a terse, stripped-back account of the eponymous antiheroine. Filmed in a series of stylized sets designed by the director himself, Lulu is as cool as an erotic fantasy played out inside a doll’s house. Anne Bennent puts her stamp on the role immortalized by Louise Brooks, and Udo Kier memorably turns up as Jack the Ripper. Note: contains explicit sexual content.

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THAT GUY DICK MILLER, Elijah Drenner
Anthology Film Archives

You know the face, and have heard the voice, but just can’t figure out where. The character actor’s character actor, Dick Miller is nothing short of a living legend to those who delight in his every bit role, in a career that to date encompasses more than 175 feature films and over 2,000 television appearances. The new documentary, THAT GUY DICK MILLER, performs the Nobel-Award-worthy public service of shining a spotlight on this national treasure, one of the most reliably inspired and omnipresent actors of the past 50-plus years.

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THE HOWLING, Joe Dante
Anthology Film Archives

“A popular Los Angeles TV reporter is given doctor’s orders to visit a remote consciousness-raising retreat called ‘The Colony’ after a traumatic incident with a serial killer. The bizarre behavior of the residents begins to make sense once the reporter discovers that she is staying amidst a community of werewolves! THE HOWLING is not only a great werewolf movie, but also a witty and knowing commentary on the genre itself. The film is as full of impressive werewolf transformation scenes as of social satire, which is no surprise given that the special effects were done by Rob Bottin (THE THING) and the screenplay was written by John Sayles.” –THE WEXNER CENTER

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**WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8**

RETURN TO HOMS, Talai Derki
BAM

BAMcinématek and LIU present the winner of the inaugural George Polk Documentary Film Award, an extraordinary, visceral film that dives into the Syrian resistance with a frenzied immediacy, intimately capturing two friend’s haunting battle cry for justice. As a siege takes hold in Homs, friends Basset and Osama gather a circle of brave but inexperienced insurgents, determined to protect the city’s captive civilians and help them get out of the warzone. In a standoff reminiscent of David and Goliath, a handful of stranded amateur fighters hold out against the snipers, tanks, and mortars of the Syrian Army while their city crumbles around them.

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THE BEAST, Walerian Borowczyk
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Bestial dreams interrupt the venal plans of a French aristocrat attempting to save a crumbling mansion by marrying off his deformed son to a horny American heiress. Drawing on the legends surrounding the beast of Gévaudan, Prosper Mérimée’s novella Lokis and Freud’s Wolf Man, The Beast is an erotic black farce hell-bent on trampling every pretense of good taste. In The Beast, the only decorum and restraint is to be found in Scarlatti’s harpsichord music. Note: contains explicit sexual content.

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A BUCKET OF BLOOD, Roger Corman
Anthology Film Archives

In his most famous (and regrettably one of his very few) starring roles, Miller shines as Walter Paisley, an aspiring beatnik who stumbles on art-world success when he accidentally kills his landlady’s cat and, on a whim, covers it in clay. After passing the result off as a genuine sculpture he’s proclaimed an artistic genius. But soon he finds himself pursuing increasingly desperate and horrific means to produce new sculptures and maintain his artistic glory. A BUCKET OF BLOOD is an ingenious satire of counter-cultural pretension, and among the highpoints of Corman and Miller’s careers.

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IMITATION OF LIFE, Douglas Sirk
Film Forum

(1959) “I’m going up and up and up. And no one’s going to pull me down!” When single mother Lana Turner loses her daughter (eventually growing up to be Sandra Dee) at Coney Island, she winds up finding equally husband-less African American mother Juanita Moore and budding photographer John Gavin, gaining both a loyal domestic and Faithful Friend. But then the betrayals multiply, as Turner single-mindedly pursues Broadway super-stardom — while blind to Dee and Gavin getting overly-chummy — and Moore’s daughter Susan Kohner (“giving one of the most desperate performances in Sirk’s work” — David Thompson) breaks her mother’s heart by “passing for white.” Sirk’s remake of a Fannie Hurst tear-jerker (films in 1934 with Claudette Colbert) was one of its studio’s biggest hits ever and the director’s farewell to Hollywood, subconsciously symbolized by its grandiose final funeral, featuring gospel great Mahalia Jackson. With competing Best Supporting Actress nominations for Moore and the in-life Hispanic/Jewish Kohner. This new 4K restoration showcases the lush Technicolor cinematography of Russell Metty, who’d shot the supremely b&w Touch of Evil only a year before. Approx. 124 min. DCP.

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THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, Ernest B. Schoedsack
MoMA

1932. USA. Directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack, Irving Pichel. Screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman, from the story by Richard Connell. With Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Leslie Banks. The first and most famous adaptation of Richard Connell’s 1924 short story casts a young, not-quite-formed McCrea as a famous big game hunter who finds himself washed ashore on a tropical island controlled by a mad Russian count (Leslie Banks) who enjoys a good hunt himself. Produced by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper, and shot at the same time as their King Kong—with which the film shares cast members Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong, several sets, and a lively sense of primitive urges. 63 min.

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**THURSDAY, APRIL 9**

IMMORAL WOMEN, Walerian Borowczyk
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

A film in three parts that brings together tales of women in different historical epochs who use their sexuality to triumph over the men that oppress them. In the first, set in Renaissance Rome, a baker’s daughter (Borowczyk muse Marina Pierro) models for a Vatican artist and pits him against a grotesque moneylender. The second episode charts the revenge of a Belle Époque teenager (Gaëlle Legrand) when her parents decide that her relationship with her pet bunny is too close for comfort. Finally, in modern-day Paris, a woman (Pascale Christophe) is kidnapped, and her husband proves less loyal than her beloved Doberman. Borowczyk brazenly explores motifs of bestiality, bourgeois moralism, and wanton revenge. Note: contains explicit sexual content.

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SPACE IS THE PLACE + AFRONAUTS, John Coney
BAM

The movie version of Sun Ra’s concept album features the legendary avant-garde jazz musician and mystic in his only fictional film appearance. Rejecting a linear plot in favor of a mélange of interplanetary travel, sharp social commentary, goofy pseudo-Blaxploitation stylistics, and thrilling concert performance, this kaleidoscopic, hugely entertaining adventure is a wild ride.

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HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD, Joe Dante and Allan Arkush
Anthology Film Archives

The directorial debut of both Joe Dante (THE HOWLING, GREMLINS) and Allan Arkush (ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL), this deliriously entertaining pastiche of exploitation film tropes was the result of a bet between producer Jon Davison and Roger Corman that Davison could make the cheapest film yet created for Corman’s New World Pictures. Dante and Arkush pulled off this impressive feat by shooting on leftover short ends of raw stock and by freely incorporating footage from previous New World films, including NIGHT CALL NURSES, BIG BAD MAMA, and DEATH RACE 2000. Amongst its many references and homages to drive-in cinema classics, it includes a cameo by Dick Miller reprising his role as BUCKET OF BLOOD’s Walter Paisley!

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CERTIFIED COPY, Abbas Kiarostami
MoMA

2010. Iran. Directed by Abbas Kiarostami. With Juliette Binoche, William Shimell. Author James Miller travels through Italy promoting his book about the original versus the copy. At a meet-and-greet, James is taken with a beautiful French woman, and they agree to meet again and visit a romantic Tuscan city. As their relationship begins to blossom, hidden secrets begin to percolate. In French, English, Italian; English subtitles. 106 min.

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