May Films: Warhol, Basquiat, Derek Jarman, William Fox, and May ’68
Edward II, Derek Jarman’s wittily anachronistic, triumphantly queer gloss on Christopher Marlowe, released in 1991, features Annie Lennox’s rendition of “Every Time We Say Goodbye” and Tilda Swinton as a Margaret Thatcher-like Queen Isabella. So boldly patterned it seems to float in front of the screen like an op art hallucination, it’s showing in a new digital restoration. At IFC Center, May 4–10.
“The Chelsea Girls Exploded” presents a new digital restoration of Andy Warhol’s 1966 double-screen, three-and-a-half-hour magnum opus—the first underground movie to open in a theater with carpets, as the critic for the New York Times memorably put it—both as a unity and in pieces. Other material, including world premieres of ten films related to or partly contained within The Chelsea Girls, will also be screened. At the Museum of Modern Art, May 4–13.
Pegged to the release of her documentary portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Sara Driver’s Boom for Real: The Annotated Edition” is a rich survey of movies made in and about downtown Manhattan circa 1980. In addition to Julian Schnabel’s 1996 Basquiat, with Jeffrey Wright in the title role, the first part of Driver’s program includes Jim Jarmusch’s Permanent Vacation (1980), Charlie Ahearn’s Wild Style (1983), her own Sleepwalk (1986), and a program of work by sometime Super-8 filmmaker Vivienne Dick. The second part is devoted to films admired by Driver and her cohort, Jacques Rivette’s Le Pont du Nord (1981) and Derek Jarman’s Jubilee (1978) among them. At Anthology Film Archives, May 4-29.
The six-program series “May ’68: The Struggle Continues” offers the real deal—various sorts of agit-prop and cinema verité made by Jean-Luc Godard and lesser-known militants in the immediate aftermath of the worker-student uprising. As its title suggests, Godard’s gnarly Une film commes des autres (A Film Like Any Other) is an attempt to find a new form with which to express his new revolutionary consciousness. Two later features, Hervé Le Roux’s investigative documentary Reprise (1996) and Philippe Garrel’s quasi-autobiographical Regular Lovers (2005), attempt to put May in perspective. At Metrograph, May 11-17.
Many of the treasures in “William Fox Presents: Restorations and Rediscoveries from the Fox Film Corporation” are silent, some directed by the likes of Frank Borzage, Allan Dwan, Howard Hawks, F.W. Murnau, and Raoul Walsh. Pre-code talkies include Clara Bow’s wild and crazy swan songs (Call Her Savage and Hoop-La), a pair of Weimar-inflected musicals (I Am Suzanne! and Caravan), and a presumed lost social comedy by John Ford, The Brat. Most are newly restored. At the Museum of Modern Art, May 18–June 5.