April Films: Hong Kong wuxia, Art of the Real, and Mexican noir
Japanese cinema’s deep bench is again demonstrated by “The Other Japanese New Wave: Radical Films from 1958–61” (also called “Beyond Oshima”). Included in the series are the first two features by Kiju Yoshida, the juvenile delinquency film Good-for-Nothing and the prescient media critique Blood is Dry. Quintessential new wave, Koreyoshi Kurahara’s The Warped Ones puts youth crime in the context of modern art, jazz, and aggressive film technique. Harvard Film Archive, March 24–April 27; Japan Society (New York), April 5–27.
Vintage wuxia, Hong Kong director King Hu’s 1973 feature The Fate of Lee Khan is as distinguished for its slow-building suspense and female martial-arts practitioners as for its lightning-fast moves. The film has been restored for theatrical release. Metrograph, April 5–11.
“The Anarchic Cinema of Věra Chytilová” surveys the career of the Czech filmmaker best known for her once banned, now canonical echt-sixties farce Daisies (1966). Beginning with her first, cinema verité-inflected feature Something Different (1963), the Chytilová oeuvre has been distinguished by her caustic treatment of gender issues and social equality—including her rarely screened post-Communist films, The Inheritance or Fuckoffguysgoodday (1992), the rape revenge travesty Traps (1998), and her darkly comic swan song sardonically titled Pleasant Moments (2006). BAM, April 10–18.
The sixth edition of the nonfiction film showcase Art of the Real is a typically varied international mix of experimental and hybrid documentaries. To name three, Andrés Duque’s Karelia: International with Monument plumbs the depths of the mysterious deep forestland on the border between Finland and Russia; Paul Grivas’s Film Catastrophe revisits the sinking of the cruise liner that served as the location for Jean-Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme; and Sarah J. Christman’s Swarm Season offers a cosmic take on the honeybee crisis in Hawaii. Also screening is a tribute to the Japanese experimental filmmaker Toshio Matsumoto. Film Society of Lincoln Center, April 18–28
“Roberto Gavaldón: Night Falls in Mexico” puts the spotlight on the most versatile and prolific of Mexican golden age filmmakers. Active from the mid-1940s into the early 1970s, Gavaldón made both rural and urban melodramas—notably the María Félix vehicle The Kneeling Goddess (1947), the occult thriller In the Palm of Your Hand (1951), the richly sordid Night Falls (1952), and Macario (1960), based on a supernatural story by B. Traven. MoMA, April 24–May 5.