This week, we feature an especially rewarding set of recommendations for viewings over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. And I can't help but note the irony of celebrating the life of one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, just a few days before the coronation of one of the very worst.
(OK, political mini-rant over. Back to the movies.)
This weekend's featured choices include a tribute to David Bowie - who we lost a year ago this week - at Japan Society; some of the best films by Eric Rohmer and Steven Spielberg at Metrograph; three key entries in the Rocky series, also at Metrograph; and a master class from visual effects maestro Rob Legato at Museum of the Moving Image.
Click through the gallery below for more details of the goodies on offer this weekend.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima, 1983) at Japan Society
Japan Society honors two groundbreaking artists, David Bowie and Nagisa Oshima – who both passed away around the second week of January (Bowie last year, Oshima in 2013) – with this singular collaboration. Bowie’s inimitable visual presence and his unique chameleon-like ability to adopt radically varying personae always went hand in hand with his music. Whether in music videos, live concerts, or feature films, he never ceased challenging himself and his fans, always stretching the boundaries of what was possible in every artistic medium in which he worked.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence captures one of Bowie’s very finest screen performances, as a British officer held in a Japanese POW camp during World War II, an enigmatic character who becomes an object of fascination for two of the camp commanders, played by equally talented multi-hyphenates: composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and future actor-director Takeshi Kitano. Oshima’s intricately ornate mapping of the complex relationship between captors and captives – here involving violence, humor, and repressed sexuality – creates indelibly memorable atmospherics. This screening is a rare opportunity to view this beautiful work in 35mm.
(Jan. 13, 7pm; more info/tickets)