January Films: MoMA’s 17th Festival of Film Preservation and a Celebration of Kubrick’s ‘Space Odyssey’
Bertrand Tavernier’s eight-part personal history, Journeys Through French Cinema, starts streaming this month on Cohen Media’s Amazon channel. The first two episodes are devoted to his “go-to” directors, the third to musicals, and the fourth to cinema under German occupation. Four more follow in February. Amazon.
The seventeenth iteration of MoMA’s annual festival of film preservation, “To Save and Project,” includes restored versions of D. W. Griffith’s 1924 drama of German hyper-inflation Isn’t Life Wonderful and Raoul Walsh’s 1927 Loves of Carmen starring Dolores del Río as the Gypsy femme fatal. Also, a notorious debut with the Czech-language version of Hedy Lamarr’s precocious vehicle Ecstasy (1933); two movies by the forgotten nouvelle vague precursor Louis Valray; one of the first features produced in the Ivory Coast, Timité Bassori’s The Woman with the Knife (1969), and much more. Museum of Modern Art, January 9–22.
A significant archival discovery and restoration, made 101 years ago and rarely screened since, Charles Davenport’s silent feature Broken Barriers (also known as Khavah) represents the American debut of Sholem Aleichem’s signature character, Tevye the Dairyman—and also the first American movie to evoke a lost Jewish folk community. Visiting the set, a reporter for one Yiddish daily wrote that “if not for the yellow trolley car that unexpectedly runs through this rural site, you might think you saw an actual Ukrainian landscape.” Film at Lincoln Center, January 19.
A 70mm screening of 2001 kicks off the exhibition “Envisioning 2001: Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey,” as well as weekly showings of 2001 and an ongoing series, “Influencing the Odyssey: Films that Inspired Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke.” The latter includes everything from avant-garde movies (by Jordan Belson and Arthur Lipsett) and World’s Fair films to 70mm epics (How the West Was Won), Max Ophuls, Ingmar Bergman, and the 1963 Czech sci-fi film Ikarie XB-1. Museum of the Moving Image, January 17–July 19.
The story of two traumatized young women working in a Leningrad hospital filled with maimed soldiers in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Kantemir Balagov’s deeply compassionate second feature, Beanpole, is a remarkably assured, well-acted, and clear-eyed look at human misery in a broken land—shot not in shades of gray but, in keeping with the twenty-eight-year-old Balagov’s brilliant direction, the rich green and crimson palette of a Brighton Beach pelmeni palace. Film Forum, January 29–February 11.