The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, February 25-March 3

02/25/2015 8:00 AM |


The Tree of Knowledge (1981)
Directed by Nils Malmros
Malmros’s magisterial coming-of-age film follows the rearranging social circles of a gaggle of pre-adolescent schoolchildren in 1950s Denmark, whose wants and desires shift according to the season. These children get fined for school misbehavior, foregrounding the film’s economy of desire: as over a dozen(!) individual personalities clash, gossip, and go dancing in the dark, an increasing desperation sets in at countless community gatherings, with never a dull moment—all while the most popular girl, Elin (Eva Gram Schjoldager) becomes an empathetic victim of her own prudishness. Caustic images of sexual awakening recall Goodbye, Columbus and L’Origine du Monde, as the film’s darting energy—filmed over two years to enhance the subjects’ precociousness—navigates intuitively between cruelty and grace. Micah Gottlieb (Feb 28, 3:15pm at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Film Comment Selects” Malmros sidebar)