The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, June 17-23

06/17/2015 10:00 AM |


An Unmarried Woman (1978)
Directed by Paul Mazursky
“Guilt… it’s kind of a man-made emotion.” When Martin (Michael Murphy) cries, a union collapses. Soho gallery clerk Erica (Jill Clayburgh) kicks her cheating husband out of their Upper East Side co-op to confront life as a single mother and coveted single, calling bullshit on men’s advances till she meets a potential yang in rugged ex-pat painter Alan Bates. Most filmmakers would use the opportunity to stage a clash of Wall Street vs. abstract expressionism, but Mazursky’s is a blissfully non-essentialist vision of what it means to be a modern woman, with every snap judgment given room to breathe, and a gentle tone maintained throughout. In a supremely confident performance, Clayburgh—who appears in every scene—exudes enviable comfort in her ambivalence, subjected to the film’s uniquely sympathetic view of psychoanalysis and colorful depiction of female friendship. Whether this reaches an apex in a scene that links Hollywood starlets with the self-worth of two generations of women, or another that translates empathy into a Paul McCartney singalong—either way it’s good for the soul. Micah Gottlieb (June 23, 7pm at IFC Center’s “Celluloid Dreams,” followed by discussion with Michael Murphy)