VIOLA & THE GRANDMASTER Among Museum of the Moving Image's 'Curators Choice: Best of 2013'
Just as critics and cinephiles are unveiling their "Best of 2013" lists, Museum of the Moving Image is announcing the six titles selected for its now annual Curators' Choice series, screening during the weekend of January 3 through 5, 2014. The films, programmed by Chief Curator David Schwartz and Assistant Curator of Film Aliza Ma, are Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess, Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Pavel's Leviathan, Jem Cohen's Museum Hours, Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin, and Matías Piñeiro's Viola.
David Schwartz stated: "The six films selected for the annual series Curators' Choice are inventive and invigorating works that offer fresh cinematic visions. Master directors Wong Kar-wai (The Grandmaster) and Jia Zhangke (A Touch of Sin) reinvent the wuxia genre with their own distinctive styles. The emerging Argentine director Matías Piñeiro (Viola) and the versatile avant-garde filmmaker Jem Cohen (Museum Hours) create exquisite urban tales that embrace and deconstruct the nature of narrative filmmaking, playfully exploring the ways that theater and art interact with real life. And Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess) and Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Pavel (Leviathan) fully immerse us in two very different subcultures-the early days of computer chess programming, and the rugged world of deep-sea fishing-to create unique and evocative cinematic experiences."
Some screenings will be accompanied by personal (and live-video) appearances by the filmmakers: Matías Piñeiro will participate in a Q&A by live video call following a screening of Viola (January 4); Jem Cohen will appear in person with Museum Hours (January 4); and Andrew Bujalski will participate in a Q&A by live video call following a screening of Computer Chess (January 5). Please see schedule below for descriptions.
Tickets for screenings are included with paid Museum admission ($12 adults / $9 seniors and students / $6 children 3-12) and free for Museum members. Museum members may reserve tickets in advance. For information about Membership and to join, visit http://movingimage.us/support/membership.
Press contact: Tomoko Kawamoto, firstname.lastname@example.org / 718 777 6830
SCHEDULE FOR 'CURATORS' CHOICE: BEST OF 2013,' JANUARY 3-5, 2014
All screenings take place in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater or the Bartos Screening Room at Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue in Astoria. Screenings are included with Museum admission and free for Museum members unless otherwise noted.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 7:00 P.M.
Dir. Wong Kar-wai. 2013, 108 mins. 35mm. With Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chen Chang. Winner of six Golden Horse awards and Hong Kong's submission to the Academy Awards, The Grandmaster marks Wong's astonishing return to genre filmmaking and his seventh collaboration with leading man Tony Leung Chiu-wai. A wuxia epic and biopic, the film follows the storied life of Ip Man-Bruce Lee's mentor- through moments of major historical upheaval in China, from the end of the Sino-Japanese War to the Imperial British rule over Hong Kong, in sublime elliptical action-vignettes. Reinvigorating wuxia with his inimitable aesthetic grandeur, The Grandmaster brilliantly synthesizes elemental principles of kung fu with tenets of historical national discourse, all suffused with breathtakingly sensual imagery.
Followed by a live video call with Matías Piñeiro
SATURDAY, JANUARY 4, 2:00 P.M.
Dir. Matías Piñeiro. 2013, 65 mins. DCP. With María Villar, Agustina Muñoz, Elisa Carricajo, Romina Paula, Gabriela Saidon. The young Argentine filmmaker Matías Piñeiro makes charming, sophisticated, and lyrical films that have much in common with the movies of French director Jacques Rivette. Seemingly digressive, his films are urban roundelays filled with ideas, playfully riffing on the tension between theatricality, storytelling, and real life. In Viola, a group of young actresses rehearse an all-female production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and the lines between performers and their roles gradually slip away.
With director Jem Cohen in person
SATURDAY, JANUARY 4, 3:30 P.M.
Dir. Jem Cohen. 2013, 107 mins. DCP. With Mary Margaret O'Hara, Bobby Sommer, Ela Piplits. A Vienna museum guard befriends an enigmatic visitor, and the grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum becomes a mysterious crossroads which sparks explorations of their lives, the city, and the ways artworks reflect and shape the world. Jem Cohen's beguiling and unique blend of narrative, documentary, essay, art history lesson, and experimental film is a quietly profound contemplation of the relationship between art and life, a film that truly enables us to see in new ways.
Followed by a live video call with Andrew Bujalski
SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2:00 P.M.
Dir. Andrew Bujalski. 2013, 92 mins. DCP. With Kriss Schludermann, Tom Fletcher, Wiley Wiggins, Patrick Riester, Kevin Bewersdorf. Andrew Bujalski, known for his low-budget 16mm features Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation, and Beeswax, used an archaic Sony black-and-white video camera to enhance the grungy retro atmosphere of his sharply observed and surprisingly evocative Computer Chess. The setting is a seedy motel, thirty-some years ago, where a group of chess software programmers meet for a weekend tournament. The film evokes a world just before computers became a part of our daily lives; it raises fascinating questions about our relationship to technology while immersing us in the hermetic subculture of chess, and takes a fascinating detour from technology to also explore the distinctly human messiness of sex and romance.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 5:00 P.M.
Dirs. Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel. 2013, 87 mins. DCP. With Declan Conneely, Johnny Gatcombe, Adrian Guillette. Leviathan is one of the most acclaimed projects of the Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL), an experimental laboratory at Harvard University that promotes innovative combinations of aesthetics and ethnography. A thrilling, immersive documentary, Leviathan is set aboard a hulking fishing vessel as it navigates the treacherous waves off the New England coast-the very waters that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick-and captures the harsh, unforgiving world of the fishermen in haunting yet beautiful detail. Employing an arsenal of cameras that pass freely from film crew to ship crew, and swoop from below sea level to astonishing bird's-eye views, Leviathan is a purely visceral cinematic experience.
A Touch of Sin
SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 7:00 p.m.
Dir. Jia Zhangke. 2013, 133 mins. DCP. With Jiang Wu, Wang Baoqiang, Tao Zhao, Lanshan Luo, Zhang Jia-yi. In Jia Zhangke's candid portrait of contemporary China, a series of vignettes dramatize the tragic injustices experienced by the nation's underprivileged workers, each story rooted in real-life circumstances. A mineworker confronts the apathy of his local politicians and fellow villagers with an ultraviolent killing spree; murder and theft become the last resort for a migrant worker who encounters insurmountable money troubles; a modest receptionist at a massage parlor, threatened by two repugnant petty whistle-stoppers, attempts to protect her body and pride by slaying the men in a moment of sheer divine force (exhuming the ghost of wuxia warrior Yang Hui-ching in King Hu's A Touch of Zen to which the film's English title refers); and finally, a teenage boy submits to mounting social pressures with suicide. Shot in expansive widescreen by longtime collaborator Yu Lik-wai and awarded Best Screenplay at Cannes 2013, A Touch of Sin is Jia's sui generis entrée to wuxia cinema and a fearless, defiant examination of national tragedy.