5 Film Series to Catch in N.Y.C. This Weekend
Our guide to film series and special screenings happening this weekend and in the week ahead. All our movie reviews are at nytimes.com/reviews/movies.
BAMCINEMAFEST 2019 at BAM Rose Cinemas (through June 22). With the best of Sundance, South by Southwest and movies too eccentric or experimental to turn up at either festival, this annual showcase stakes its claim for being at the cutting edge of American independent cinema. Highlights include a spotlight screening of Hilary Brougher’s Ingmar Bergman-esque drama “South Mountain” (on Saturday), starring Talia Balsam (“Mad Men”) as an artist coming to terms with a failing marriage, and Brett Story’s “The Hottest August” (on Sunday); an essay documentary shot in New York in 2017, “August” ponders the state of the American climate — environmental, economic and political — and the future. Shuttling between Russian-immigrant and African-American enclaves of Milwaukee, “Give Me Liberty” (on Monday), the centerpiece film, is a sustained, madcap chronicle of an extraordinarily hectic day in the life of a driver for the disabled. It marks the director, Kirill Mikhanovsky, as a gifted formalist (and humanist).
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FILM FESTIVAL at Film at Lincoln Center and IFC Center (through June 20). This is the 30th year for the annual filmic showcase of the nongovernmental research group Human Rights Watch; the lineup, mainly documentaries, furthers the organization’s goal of drawing attention to oppression, abuses and ethnic conflicts across the globe. “On the President’s Orders,” showing on Saturday and Monday, takes a ground-level look at the brutality of the so-called war on drugs waged by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. “Everything Must Fall,” on Monday and Tuesday, chronicles the impact of a South African movement protesting discrimination against poorer blacks by the country’s higher-education institutions. “Está Todo Bien” (“It’s All Good”), on Wednesday and Thursday, explores fundamental problems in Venezuela’s health care system.
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
‘PARIS IS BURNING’ at Film Forum (June 14-27). Jennie Livingston’s documentary might not pack quite the same punch that it did in 1991, when it was more unusual to see such a frank and empathetic portrait of gay and transgender persons on screen. But this time capsule of New York’s drag ball competitions in the late 1980s is a remarkable record both of the scene and of its participants, some of whom found in the dance “houses” a surrogate family after being shunned by their own. It is also a sobering reminder of a period when transgender persons faced (even more) danger simply for existing — one of the principal subjects is murdered before the movie’s end. The film will show in a new digital remastering.
‘THE SKY SOCIALIST’ at Anthology Film Archives (June 14-16). Shot in the 1960s, this perennially unfinished work from the experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs finally has its premiere in a completed form. Shot near the Brooklyn Bridge, the movie casts Flo Jacobs (the filmmaker’s wife) as a “miraculously spared Anne Frank,” Dave Leveson as the writer Isadore Lhevinne and Julie Motz as the “muse of cinema.” The narrative is strictly for fans of the Ken Jacobs cosmology — to enjoy it, “you have to be as crazy as I was making the film,” he warns in an artist’s note — yet the film is also paired on Saturday and Sunday with “The Sky Socialist: Environs and Out-Takes,” a compilation of extra footage that offers amazing views of some parts of Lower Manhattan that have since vanished, like the Ferry Street area where the Jacobs lived.
STARRING DIANA ROSS at the Museum of the Moving Image (June 15-16). Ross turned 75 this year, and in anticipation of her celebratory performance at Radio City Music Hall on June 22, the museum is showing three of the singer’s most notable screen vehicles: “Lady Sings the Blues” (on Saturday), in which she plays Billie Holiday; “Mahogany” (on Saturday), directed by the Motown Records founder Berry Gordy; and “The Wiz” (on Saturday and Sunday), the maligned film adaptation of the groundbreaking Broadway show based on “The Wizard of Oz.”
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