Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Argument Anthony McCall Andrew Tyndall
Argument (1978)
Directed by Anthony McCall and Andrew Tyndall
“How much has this soundtrack changed this image? How much has this caption changed this soundtrack?” this film asks. A British visual artist and an American media monitor teamed up in the late 1970s to examine the men’s fashion ads in an issue of the New York Times Magazine, resulting in a work that links photographs to words printed onscreen and voiceover commentary by three male narrators. Argument will screen in a new digital restoration from the distributor LUX with both filmmakers in person. Some of the film's claims: “The fact that the critic is central to the work’s meaning is never included in the explanation.” “Spectacle places an object beyond analysis by depriving it of social and economic context.” “Artists take responsibility for the meaning of their work by replacing the critic as middleman.” Please click here for an interview with McCall and Tyndall about their film. Aaron Cutler (July 2 at Light Industry)

Blackmail Hitchcock
Blackmail (1929)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Detective Frank Webber (John Longdon) is going to take his girlfriend Alice White (Anny Ondra) to the movies, but she says she's not sure she wants to go because she's "already seen everything worth seeing." The rest of the film is Hitchcock's dazzling demonstration that she hasn't, with stand-alone shots that exist solely to stun, a cast of characters working down the scale from the merely foolish and the thoroughly nasty and venal, and Hitch's first climax set in a recognizable national landmark (a chase through the British National Museum). Blackmail is better known in its sound incarnation, but in silent form it's already fully realized. Vadim Rizov (June 29 at BAM, part of the Hitchcock 9)

The Keep Michael Mann
The Keep (1983)
Directed by Michael Mann
This movie features two signature images: the first holds a man in silhouette as he runs toward the camera, in slow motion, against a harsh, electric-blue light; the second, moments later, finds the same man caught on a precipice, his minuscule figure pinned by the camera at the edge of a vast, cavernous frame. Two images devised in opposition: in one, man is a shadow looming over light; in the other he is a flicker about to be snuffed out by the darkness around him. If there seems little to Mann’s film besides such aesthetic curiosities, it makes a compelling case that there needn’t be. Alex Thompson's photography is sumptuous, a rich melange of smoke and primary colors. The atmospheric ambient score, by Tangerine Dream, throbs and pulsates beautifully. That its narrative is impenetrable is largely irrelevant: one needs only to soak in the texture of the thing. Calum Marsh (July 2 at Nitehawk)

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