The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: February 18-24

02/18/2015 8:16 AM |

The Landlord

The Landlord (1970)
Directed by Hal Ashby
Philadelphia-born multihyphenate Bill Gunn, who died from encephalitis in 1989 at 54, remains one of America’s most underrated creative forces. He’s perhaps best known for writing and directing the sui generis African-American vampire movie Ganja & Hess (1973), but equally startling is his astringent screenplay for Ashby’s debut: a prescient, and ultimately very moving gentrification satire. It stars a perfectly cast Beau Bridges as Elgar, a laidback, toothsome rich kid who buys up property in a Park Slope ghetto with the intention of turfing out the locals and building his own luxury pad. A series of unexpected personal entanglements severely complicate matters, however, and Elgar finds himself with more responsibility than he’d bargained for. The seeds of Ashby’s soon-to-be trademark countercultural vibe are evident in the restless formal play, ‘groovy’ production design and music, and further augmented by Gordon Willis’ blissfully gauzy cinematography. Ashley Clark (Feb 21, 2pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s “See It Big!: Gordon Willis”)