June Films: Kazuo Hara, Carlos Reygadas, and a Tribute to Pauline Kael
“Camera Obtrusa: The Action Documentaries of Kazuo Hara” showcases cinema activism at its most single-minded. Best known for The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987), a portrait of a Japanese veteran’s campaign to expose his former commander’s war crimes, Kazuo Hara spent nearly half a century documenting people struggling against illness and exploitation. The six-film retro opens with Hara and Sachiko Kobayashi, his wife and producer, in conversation with his admirer Michael Moore. Museum of Modern Art, June 6–14.
The loves and occasional hates of America’s most celebrated film critic are aired in a 25-film tribute, “Losing It at the Movies: Pauline Kael at 100.” Kael went all out for Bonnie and Clyde, Nashville, and, especially, Last Tango in Paris. Her contempt for Clint Eastwood is acknowledged with the inclusion of The Gauntlet; the series revives such relatively underappreciated films as Brian De Palma’s The Fury, Warren Beatty’s great vehicle Shampoo, and Walter Hill’s much maligned youth film The Warriors. Other notable inclusions are Weekend, The Wild Bunch, The Story of Adèle H., and Richard Pryor Live in Concert. Quad, June 7–20.
Celebrating the great maverick of twenty-first-century Mexican auteurs, “Natural Transgressions: The Films of Carlos Reygadas” includes all four of Reygadas’s unclassifiable features and previews his latest, Our Time. As fearless in his ambitions as he is regionalist in his concerns and resolute in his class consciousness, Reygadas engaged Tarkovsky with his first film, Japón (2002), Warhol with his second, the scandalous Battle in Heaven (2005), and Carl Dreyer (as well as Lars von Trier) with his third, Silent Light (2007), set in a Mennonite colony. Post Tenebras Lux (2012) was more inward-looking, as is Our Time. Museum of the Moving Image, June 8–13
The great film artist Ken Jacobs has revisited his unfinished epic The Sky Socialist, an homage to the Brooklyn Bridge (among other things) shot on 8mm in the mid-1960s and, with help from his wife and collaborator Flo Jacobs (who plays a stand-in for Anne Frank), declared it now complete. The definitive Sky Socialist is showing with The Environs, a new work made from outtakes and related footage, in the context of a series showcasing a selection of the Jacobses’ recent work in digital 3D. Anthology Film Archives, June 14–16.
Growing in stature with each passing year, Elaine May’s 1987 film maudit Ishtar, starring Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty as a pair of severely limited American entertainers blundering through North Africa, is (and always was) the great American political satire of the Reagan Era. Think Iran-contra. Film Forum, June 28–July 4.