Museum of the Moving Image's 3rd Annual FIRST LOOK Showcase Set for Now thru 1/17
First Look, Museum of the Moving Image's annual showcase for inventive new international cinema, returns for its third year with a program of 16 films from 10 countries, to be presented on weekends from today, January 10 through 19, 2014.
First Look opens today, January 10, with the U.S. premiere of Alexandre Rockwell's Little Feet, a charming and bittersweet tale of two young siblings on their own, starring Rockwell's own children Nico and Lana; all three will appear in person with the screening. Closing Night on Sunday, January 19, will be the U.S. premiere of Antonin Peretjatko's The Rendez Vous of Déjà Vu (La fille du 14 Juillet), a colorful and freewheeling romantic burlesque, with shades of French New Wave and Monty Python, set amidst a beach vacation in France; Peretjatko will appear in person. Featured countries for other First Look films are Canada, Chile, Egypt, Greece, Ireland, Peru, Spain, and the United Kingdom. All of the films have played to acclaim at international film festivals, and all are New York premieres and many are U.S. premieres. Many of the filmmakers will be present for post-screening discussions.
Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, December 17, at 10:00 a.m. at movingimage.us.
Chief Curator David Schwartz, who programmed First Look with Assistant Curator of Film Aliza Ma, said: "Between the delightfully free-spirited opening and closing night films, Little Feet and The Rendez-Vous of Déjà Vu, is an eclectic selection of films that offer fascinating excursions into the histories of film and music (Rohmer in Paris, Natan, Wavemakers), deeply intimate personal stories (The Inner Jungle, The Summer of Flying Fish), bracingly dark comic visions (Ape, Vic + Flo Saw a Bear), riveting social dramas that unfold in unforgettable landscapes (Rags and Tatters, The Quispe Girls, To the Wolf), and distinctive and beautiful short films (Old Moon, Looking for Adventure and America). We are also very pleased to be presenting a special preview screening of Visitors, the contemplative and stunning new film by Godfrey Reggio with a score by Philip Glass. What this year's films have in common is that they are all visually and cinematically spellbinding movies that will linger in the memory."
The films in First Look 2014 are:
• OPENING NIGHT: Alexandre Rockwell's Little Feet (United States, 2013). Rockwell, one of the leading iconoclasts of American independent film (In the Soup, 13 Moons), brings indie cinema back to its ultra-low-budget roots with this film reminiscent of Truffaut and Jean Vigo, and starring his own two children. Followed by a reception, with Alexandre, Lana, and Nico Rockwell in person. U.S. Premiere.
• Raisa Bonnet's short film Old Moon (Puerto Rico, 2013). Bonnet, a student of Alexandre Rockwell at NYU, shot this almost wordless tale about the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother in Puerto Rico; the film screens with Rockwell's Little Feet on Opening Night.
• Richard Misek's Rohmer in Paris (United Kingdom, 2013). A loving ode to the French New Wave master Eric Rohmer, and to cinema itself, Rohmer in Paris is made entirely with footage from Rohmer's films, with a narration by Misek. U.S. Premiere. Screening followed by Eric Rohmer's short The Bakery Girl of Monceau (La boulangère de Monceau) (France, 1963).
• Juan Barrero's The Inner Jungle (La Jungla Interior) (Spain, 2013). Barrero's autobiographical film intimately captures his relationship with girlfriend Gala Pérez Iñesta as they approach a major milestone in their lives; with Barrero and star Gala Pérez Iñesta in person, who will give a brief violin performance after the screening. U.S. Premiere.
• Valérie Massadian's short film America (United States/France, 2013). Massadian (whose film Nana screened in First Look 2012) was given a reel of 35mm film and a day to make a film in one shot. The result is this lush meditation on love filmed deep in a Northwestern forest; screening with The Inner Jungle. U.S. Premiere.
• Denis Côté's Vic + Flo Saw a Bear (Vic + Flo ont vu un ours) (Canada, 2013). Critic-turned-auteur Denis Côté paints a darkly comic portrait of spiritual isolation and doomed love for lesbian lovers trying to reconstruct life after prison in a remote Quebecois forest; with Côté in person. Winner of Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for "a feature film that opens new perspectives" at Berlin Film Festival. New York Premiere.
• Marcela Said's The Summer of Flying Fish (El verano de los peces voladores) (Chile, 2013). Said's debut feature is a bittersweet coming-of-age tale set amidst the majestic primeval forests of Patagonia. U.S. Premiere.
• Sebastián Sepúlveda's The Quispe Girls (Las Ninas Quispe) (Chile, 2013). Set during Pinochet-era Chile, The Quispe Girls tells the tragic and true story of a family of sisters whose livelihood herding goats in the remote mountains of Chile is threatened. U.S. Premiere.
• Kimi Takesue's Looking for Adventure (United States/Peru, 2013). New York filmmaker Takesue (Where Are You Taking Me?) explores the pleasures and strains of group tourism in Peru; with Takesue in person. Showing with The Quispe Girls. U.S. Premiere.
• Godfrey Reggio's Visitors (United States, 2013). This new film from the maker of Koyaanisqatsi also features a score by Philip Glass, but might otherwise be considered the stylistic opposite of its predecessor, a cosmic look at the human experience conveyed in crisply beautiful black-and-white images; with Reggio and co-editor and co-filmmaker Jon Kane in person. A special preview screening courtesy of Cinedigm Films. New York Premiere.
• Caroline Martel's Wavemakers (Le chant des ondes) (Canada, 2012). Martel tells the rich history of the Ondes Martenot, the electronic musical instrument, through archival material, an entrancing soundtrack, and interviews with musicians Jonny Greenwood and Suzanne Binet-Audet, the "Jimi Hendrix of the Martenot." The screening will be followed by a live performance on the Ondes Martenot; with Martel in person. New York Premiere.
• Ahmad Abdalla's Rags and Tatters (Egypt, 2013). The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 is the backdrop and driver of circumstance in this tale of an escaped convict searching for a way home on the outskirts of Cairo. U.S. Premiere.
• Joel Potrykus's Ape (United States, 2012). Michigan native Joel Potrykus won the Best New Director and Best First Feature prizes at the Locarno Film Festival for his vividly downbeat portrait of a struggling comedian in Grand Rapids; with Potrykus in person. New York Premiere.
• Aran Hughes and Christina Koutsospyrou's To the Wolf (Sto Lyko) (Greece, 2013). A hybrid of documentary and fiction, To the Wolf captures the struggles of two goatherding families as they try to survive in the wilderness of the Greek mountains during a period of national crisis. U.S. Premiere.
• David Cairns and Paul Duane's Natan (Ireland, 2013). A fascinating and lovingly crafted documentary that attempts to restore the record on French film pioneer Bernard Natan who died in Auschwitz; co-director Paul Duane in person. New York Premiere.
• CLOSING NIGHT: Antonin Peretjatko's The Rendez Vous of Déjà Vu (La fille du 14 Juillet) (France, 2013). U.S. Premiere. A highlight of the Cannes Director's Fortnight, Antonin Peretjatko's film is a fast-paced, pun-and-gag-filled romantic burlesque about a lovelorn museum guard who falls for a woman; with Peretjatko in person and followed by a reception. U.S. Premiere.
The complete First Look 2014 schedule with descriptions is included below.
Tickets for First Look films are $10 each ($6 for Museum members / Free for Silver Screen members and above), with the exception of Visitors preview screening which are $20 public ($12 Museum members / Free for Silver Screen members and above). An All Festival Pass is available for $40 ($24 Museum members). Complimentary industry and press passes are available.
The Closing Night film The Rendez Vous of Déjà Vu is supported by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy NY (www.frenchculture.org/) and MyFrenchFilmFestival.com, a worldwide online festival, with 20 French films in competition; in the United States, it will take place from January 17 through February 17, 2014, on myFrenchFilmFestival.com, iTunes, and in selected U.S. cinemas.
The Village Voice is the official media sponsor of First Look 2014.
About First Look: Museum of the Moving Image established First Look in 2012 to showcase new and inventive international cinema-offering an oasis of thoughtful and provocative filmmaking amid the hype and noise of the awards season. Positioned in early January, before the Sundance, Rotterdam, and Berlin film festivals, First Look is a great way for New York filmgoers to start the year. David Hudson, on Keyframe Daily, called it "one of the most noteworthy curatorial efforts anywhere." Among the hits and discoveries from the first two years are Chantal Akerman's Almayer's Folly, Thomas Andersen's Reconversão, Bruno Dumont's Outside Satan, and Philippe Garrel's That Summer.
'FIRST LOOK 2014' SCHEDULE, JANUARY 10-19, 2014
All screenings take place in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater at Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue in Astoria, NY. Tickets for screenings are $10 each ($6 for Museum members / free for Silver Screen members and above) unless otherwise noted. An All Festival Pass is available for $40 ($24 for Museum members / free for Silver Screen members and above).
OPENING NIGHT FILM AND RECEPTION
With director Alexandre Rockwell, and stars Lana Rockwell and Nico Rockwell in person. Preceded by the short film Old Moon, followed by reception
FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 7:00 P.M.
U.S. Dir. Alexandre Rockwell. 2013, 60 mins. U.S. Premiere. DCP courtesy of the director. With Lana Rockwell, Nico Rockwell, Rene Cuante-Bautista. Alexandre Rockwell (In the Soup, 13 Moons) has been one of the leading iconoclasts of American independent film since the 1980s. With his utterly charming and deceptively modest new movie Little Feet, he has found a way to reinvigorate indie cinema, bringing it back to its ultra-low budget roots and infusing it with a spirit of improvisation and spontaneity. Rockwell's children Nico and Lana star as a brother and sister living in Los Angeles who are barely cared for by their widowed father who dresses in an animal suit for a living and collapses drunk at night. When one of their pet goldfish dies, the children set off on an expedition to the "Los Angeles River" to find a new mate for the fish. Evoking the spirit of Jean Vigo and François Truffaut, this black-and-white odyssey film has a childlike spirit of whimsy, adventure, and bittersweet emotions. Photographed on grainy 16mm film stock, its visual style can be called magical neorealism. Winner, Special Jury Prize, Mar Del Plata International Film Festival.
Preceded by Old Moon. Puerto Rico. Dir. Raisa Bonnet. 2013, 11 mins. New York Premiere. Digital projection courtesy of the filmmaker. With María Velázquez, Laura Cristina Cardona, Julio Ramos. This short film, by a student of Alexandre Rockwell at NYU, is set in Puerto Rico, and gently depicts an almost wordless tale about the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother. It premiered with Little Feet at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Rohmer in Paris
SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 2:00 P.M.
United Kingdom. Dir. Richard Misek. 2013, 67 mins. U.S. Premiere. Digital format from Pascale Ramonda. Richard Misek's Rohmer in Paris is a loving ode to the Nouvelle Vague master Eric Rohmer, and to cinema itself. "Cinephilia is an obsession waiting to be triggered," says Misek in his narration, relating an anecdote about the time he accidentally walked into a shot while Rohmer was filming Rendezvous in Paris (1995), a chance encounter which sparked his love for cinema. Drawn to Rohmer's career, but also to his love for city walking (flânerie) in the city, Misek traces the physical paths taken by Rohmer and his characters while weaving together rare archival footage, photographs, and audio with contemporary images taken from the same locations. Premiered at CPH Dox, Copenhagen. Showing with: The Bakery Girl of Monceau (La boulangère de Monceau). France. Dir. Eric Rohmer. 1963, 23 mins. 35mm print from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, courtesy of Les Films du Losange. With Barbet Schroeder, Claudine Soubrier, and Michèle Girardon. The inaugural work in Rohmer's cycle "Six Moral Tales," the short film The Bakery Girl of Monceau tells the story of a young law student who finds himself in a spiritual and physical bind, beguiled by two women: the artistic and ethereal blonde Sylvie and the sensual, mysterious brunette Jacqueline. The 16mm film was made in one afternoon on the streets near Rohmer's Paris office.
The Inner Jungle
With director Juan Barrero and Gala Pérez Iñesta in person, followed by live music by Gala Pérez Iñesta
Preceded by the short film America
SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 4:15 P.M.
The Inner Jungle (La Jungla Interior)
Spain. Dir. Juan Barrero. 2013, 75 mins. U.S. Premiere. DCP courtesy of Eddie Saeta. With Gala Pérez Iñesta. Filmmaking doesn't get more intimate than Juan Barrero's unique autobiographical film The Inner Jungle. The main on-camera subject is Barrero's girlfriend, Gala Pérez Iñesta. Before a long scientific expedition to the Galapagos Islands, Juan takes Gala to his childhood town, where they talk about their future plans. When he returns from the jungle five months later to find that Gala is pregnant, Barrero uses his camera to candidly-and lyrically-record the wide range of feelings that pass between the couple. Evocatively drawing links between his own life and Darwin's account of an orchid's and mosquito's symbiosis through insemination, Barrero's film expresses the strange combination of terror and amazement surrounding romance and pregnancy. Iñesta, who is shown in the film to be a superb violinist, will give a brief live performance after the screening. Premiered at Viennale.
Preceded by America. U.S./France. Dir. Valerie Massadian. 2013, 7 mins. U.S. Premiere. DCP source: M'Aidez Films. During a trip to Seattle, French filmmaker Massadian (whose Nana was in First Look 2012) was given one reel of 35mm film and one day to make a film in one shot. The result is a lush meditation on love filmed deep in a Northwestern forest. Premiered at Locarno Film Festival.
Vic + Flo Saw a Bear (Vic + Flo ont vu un ours)
With director Denis Côté in person
SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 7:00 P.M.
Canada. Dir. Denis Côté. 2013, 95 mins. New York Premiere. DCP from M'Aidez Films. With Pierrette Robitaille, Romane Bohringer. Vic + Flo Saw a Bear is the seventh feature in eight years for the prolific critic-turned-auteur Denis Côté, and an evolution of his distinctive visual style and artful play on generic conventions. Set in Côté's native northern Québéc, the film follows its eponymous heroines-a pair of audacious lesbian lovers and ex-cellmates- after their release from prison and subsequent retreat to a secluded sugar shack to live with Vic's aged uncle Émil. Gazed upon by locals with increasing suspicion and derision, Vic and Flo soon find themselves haunted by past sins, and drift into a menacing state of danger and despair. Exploring remote northern landscapes and the marginalized characters that inhabit them, Côté paints a ruminative portrait of spiritual isolation and doomed love that is at once grotesque, darkly humorous, poetic, and oddly uplifting. Berlin Film Festival, winner of Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for "a feature film that opens new perspectives."
The Summer of Flying Fish (El verano de los peces voladores)
SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 1:30 P.M.
Chile. Dir. Marcela Said. 2013, 95 mins. U.S. Premiere. DCP from Outsider Pictures. With Francisca Walker, Gregory Cohen, María Izquierdo. Chilean documentarian Marcela Said's debut feature situates a tender, bittersweet coming-of-age story in the expansive terrains of southern Chile near Patagonia, creating an indelible atmospheric reverie, and offering a profound contemplation of the deeply rooted political and historical tensions that threaten the picturesque beauty of these landscapes. As bright-eyed teenager Manena vacations with her family in their summer lake house, she meets new friends, finds her first love, and embarks on a journey of discovery. Amidst the majestic, mist-shrouded foliage of these primeval forests, there is a sense of impending irrevocable loss, as she bears witness to the predicament of the indigenous Mapuche locals-to whom this land once belonged, and who must now work for her father and his wealthy landowner friends to sustain their living. Premiered at Cannes Film Festival, Director's Fortnight.
The Quispe Girls
Preceded by Looking for Adventure, with director Kimi Takesue in person
SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 4;00 P.M.
The Quispe Girls (Las Niñas Quispe)
Chile. Dir. Sebastián Sepúlveda. 2013, 80 mins. U.S. Premiere. DCP from Pascale Ramonda. In the remote, almost primeval world of a nearly isolated Chilean mountainscape in 1974, three goat-herding sisters survive, somewhat rootlessly after the death of a fourth sister. Pinochet's rise to power is a distant echo, and the new dictator's edict against herding threatens their meager livelihood. The aging matriarch, Justa, is suspicious of the clothing salesman who visits occasionally; the youngest sister, Luciana, holds on to her romantic desires. Using a mix of actors (including Catalina Saavedra from The Maid) and non-actors, including Digna Quispe, the real sisters' niece, this mesmerizing film, based on a true and tragic story, tells an intimate tale against a stark yet magnificent landscape. Premiered at Venice Film Festival, Critics' Week.
Preceded by Looking for Adventure. U.S./Peru. Dir. Kimi Takesue. 2013, 43 mins. U.S. Premiere. Digital format courtesy of filmmaker. The experimental documentary filmmaker Kimi Takesue has developed a distinctive style marked by a striking sense of composition, color, and understated observation. Looking for Pleasure explores the pleasures, strains, and choreography of group tourism in Peru. Structured as a series of formal-and beautiful-tableaus, the film explores the tension between the commodification of Peruvian culture for foreign consumption and the tourist's desire for new experiences and adventure. Premiered at Mar Del Plata International Film Festival.
SPECIAL PREVIEW SCREENING
With director Godfrey Reggio and Jon Kane in person
SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 7:30 P.M.
United States. Dir. Godfrey Reggio. 2013, 87 mins. New York Premiere. DCP courtesy of Cinedigm. Music by Phillip Glass. Associate director and editor, Jon Kane. Godfrey Reggio's new film-his first in more than a decade-is in some ways the stylistic opposite of his dazzling and powerful 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi, which had globetrotting color photography and thousands of edits. Visitors, in crisply beautiful black-and-white, consisting of just 74 shots, is a stunning and trancelike experience that looks deeply at-and beyond-the human experience, taking viewers on a journey to the moon and back, while examining the human species-and an unforgettable gorilla from the Bronx Zoo. Ultimately, Visitors is a movie whose subject is the audience itself, and the very act of seeing-and, of course, listening, with its gorgeous score by Phillip Glass. Visitors opens in theaters on January 24. Premiered at Toronto International Film Festival.
Tickets: $20 public / $12 Museum members (free for Silver Screen members and above).
Wavemakers (Le chant des ondes)
With director Caroline Martel in person, and a live musical performance by Jean Laurendeau
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 7:00 P.M.
Canada. Dir. Caroline Martel. 2012, 96 mins. New York Premiere. DCP courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada. With Suzanne Binet-Audet, Jonny Greenwood, Jean Laurendeau. One of the most compelling music documentaries in years, Wavemakers delves deeply into the history and legacy of an electronic instrument with a haunting, ethereal sound. Invented in 1928, the Ondes Martenot is so sensitive and expressive that musicians, artisans, and scientists are still trying to unravel its secrets. Integrating vérité scenes, rare archival material, and an entrancing soundtrack, the film draws us into the spell of the Martenot. The instrument has been featured in films by Abel Gance and Fritz Lang, and such recent films as There Will Be Blood, with a score by composer and Radiohead band member Jonny Greenwood, who is among the contemporary practitioners who appear in Wavemakers, along with Suzanne Binet-Audet, the "Jimi Hendrix of the Martenot." Wavemakers takes us on a journey to the very essence of music and to the deeper cosmic mysteries that the Martenot evokes. The screening will be followed by a live performance on the Ondes Martenot by Jean Laurendeau. International premiere, Rotterdam International Film Festival.
Rags and Tatters (Farsh wa ghata)
SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 1:30 P.M.
Egypt. Dir. Ahmad Abdalla. 2013, 87 mins. U.S. Premiere. DCP from Visit Films. With Asser Yassin, Amr Abed, Yara Goubran, Mohammed Mamdouh, Atef Yousef. Escaping after years in jail, a man tries to find his way home on the outskirts of a Cairo that has been turned upside down by the protests of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. As he revisits the family and country he has been separated from for so long, he finds that everything about life as he knew it has irrevocably changed. Using a semi-documentary handheld style partly inspired by the amateur coverage of the revolution, Rags and Tatters is a powerfully visual experience with virtually no dialogue. Rather than celebrating the triumph of the revolution, Rags and Tatters is suffused with a sense of uncertainty and chaos. Premiered at Toronto International Film Festival.
With directorJoel Potrykus in person
SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 4:00 P.M.
United States. Dir. Joel Potrykus. 2012, 86 mins. New York Premiere. DCP from Factory 25. With Joshua Burge. The phrase "struggling comedian" has never been more fitting than to describe the fictional Grand Rapids standup comic and part-time arsonist Trevor Newandyke in Joel Potrykus's vividly downbeat Ape. Potrykus won the Best New Director and Best First Feature prizes at the Locarno Film Festival, where programmer Olivier Père called it "a nightmarish, nihilistic tale. The ultra-low budget Ape has all the qualities to become a standard for a generation that has no future, and is also a political manifesto for the best of new American cinema."
To the Wolf (Sto Lyko)
SUNDAY, JANUARY 19, 2:00 P.M.
Greece. Dirs. Aran Hughes, Christina Koutsospyrou. 2013, 74 mins. U.S. Premiere. DCP from Pascale Ramonda. Poverty and rain seem to be the constants in the grim lives of two goatherding families struggling to survive in the wilderness of the Greek mountains during a period of national crisis. Conceived as a study of a past way of life, this bleakly beautiful film is a hybrid of documentary and fiction that shows the effects of economic turmoil in a remote village. "Greece is finished. It's dead!" says one of the villagers. The film's physical austerity mirrors the nation's economic austerity, and it builds towards a startling finale. Premiered at Berlinale 2013.
With co-director Paul Duane in person
SUNDAY, JANUARY 19, 4:00 P.M.
Ireland. Dirs. David Cairns, Paul Duane. 2013, 66 mins. New York Premiere. DCP courtesy of the filmmakers. Bernard Natan was a forgotten pioneer of French cinema who died in Auschwitz, and is known, perhaps erroneously, as an early director of silent soft-core porn movies. An immigrant who made it his ambition to create a truly French national cinema, Natan did more than anyone else to bring sound film to France. He started France's first television company and first cinema advertising company; he experimented with widescreen photography and color; and he helped popularize the Pathé newsreel. This fascinating and lovingly crafted documentary film tries to discover why Natan was erased from history, while also raising provocative questions about the way that we learn history from documentary films. Premiered at Edinburgh International Film Festival,Telluride Film Festival.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
The Rendez-Vous of Déjà Vu (La fille du 14 Juillet)
With director Antonin Peretjatko in person
SUNDAY, JANUARY 19, 6:30 P.M.
France. Dir. Antonin Peretjatko. 2013, 88 mins. U.S. Premiere. DCP from Ecce Films. With Vimala Pons, Gregoire Tachnakian. Fast-paced, pun-and-gag-filled, and refreshingly silly, The Rendez-Vous of Déjà Vu, featured at this year's Director's Fortnight at Cannes, is a romantic burlesque about a lovelorn museum guard who falls for a woman-a friend of a friend-and tries to win her heart during a beach vacation. A colorful romp filled with digressions including chases, a cops-and-robbers shootout, an absurd retelling of Kafka's Metamorphosis, and much more, it recalls the freewheeling spirit of the early French New Wave, but is equally inspired by the films of Richard Lester and Monty Python.