02/25/15 8:00am
02/25/2015 8:00 AM |

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Vivacious Lady (1938)
Directed by George Stevens

Jimmy Stewart excels in everyman mode in Stevens’s nimble RKO rom-com as botany professor Peter, who marries Ginger Rogers’s nightclub singer within hours of their meeting. The newlyweds’ weakness for each other (a near-kiss at a microscope eyepiece stands to make one feel self-conscious) adds a pre-coital high colour to the amusingly wholesome motive that motors the film: monogamy. What’s holding them back from being husband and wife is the backdraft of their secretive, ill-conceived schemes to have Peter’s reproving, provincially influential father approve the precipitate match. Rogers’s economy of movement becomes the fast-talking, farcical form, while Stewart, whose Peter gets drunk during class, hones his well-known Philadelphia Story routine. Thirza Wakefield (Feb 25-27, 1:30pm at MoMA’s “Acteurism: Ginger Rogers“)

02/18/15 8:16am
02/18/2015 8:16 AM |


Quick Billy (1971)
Directed by Bruce Baillie
The South Dakota-born Baillie’s sweet films unfold like waking dreams. His hour-long opus of associations Quick Billy covers life cycles through overlapping sounds and images of things including ocean waves, moonlight, lovemaking, classical and jazz music, caged and wild animals, childhood photographs, and memories of the American West; these myriad simple gifts are gently offered for us to drift among. “Was thinking, why did I make Quick Billy?” Baillie writes by e-mail when queried about his film, which Anthology Film Archives will screen together with a related six-roll film correspondence between him and fellow filmmaker Stan Brakhage. “Seems to have been necessity, to explain my way through another mystery—as a poet must write the poem, or the farmer plant his pepinos and potatoes. Or as our friends the trees reach for the sky. Somehow we are asked for an explanation.” Aaron Cutler (Feb 20, 7:30pm at Anthology Film Archives’s “Essential Cinema”)