Advice in Retrospect(ives)
Written by Bwog Staff
Looking for an intellectually rigorous way to procrastinate during reading week? Scrabulous isn’t doing it for you? Bwog film expert Christian Kamongi shares his picks for the Pasolini, Ophuls, and Sembene retrospectives.
Heretical Epiphanies: The Cinematic Pilgrimages of Pier Paolo Pasolini
Marxist, poet, homosexual, pious Catholic, and renowned intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini is one of the landmark figures of postwar European cinema. Whether it’s his adaptations of classical texts (Canterbury Tales, Decameron, Arabian Nights), an extraordinarily orthodox depiction of Jesus, or neo-realist influenced explorations of the Roman underworld his films share spontaneity and intellectual virtuosity. Lincoln Center will be presenting a retrospective which will include Salo, one of the most controversial works in cinematic history as well as one of the most difficult to retain (don’t bother trying for the Criterion version of it, it’s literally out of print).
Must See: The Gospel According to St. Matthew
November 28th-December 4th, Walter Reade Theater, 65th St. and Lincoln Center (Above Alice Tully Hall)
The Cinema of Max Ophuls
The limited access to Ophuls’ oeuvre on DVD and VHS makes this retrospective a must-see, BAM Cinematek is presenting 12 of his features as well as a new print of Letters from an Unknown Women. If any of you viewed the lustrous print of The Earrings of Madame de… at Film Forum earlier this year you’ll be able to fully comprehend the necessity of a theatrical encounter with Ophuls. Every scene comes across like a celluloid canvas, a world that when filtered through Ophuls borderline absurd sophistication leads to what Jonathan Rosenbaum referred to as an evolution of the screen into “watery silk”.
Must See: La Ronde
November 28th-December 18th, BAM Cinematek Theater, Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Ousmane Sembene Retrospective
For those interested in the neo-colonial experience this retrospective is heaven-sent, a fully comprehensive display of the work of the African continent’s late auteur laureate. A title that considering the variety of African national experiences provides you with a clue to the authority of his work in capturing class, gender, nationality, and religion. His sophisticated yet essential usage of narrative (he was after all considered Senegal’s foremost novelist) and honesty for characterization may make him the least pretentious master since Ozu. From Black Girl to Moolaadé his films were motivated by an untarnished reputation for social progress as well as a deep understanding that such a progress was based in unflinching documentations of the plight of the underprivileged.
Through his deceptively simple tales there lies a perfectly harnessed counter-hegemonic subversion that provide his work with a complex majesty that makes them grow more and more universal with every viewing.
Must See: Moolaadé
November 30th- December 13th, Film Forum, 209 W Houston Street, Manhattan