Sep 11, 2009

Screenings About Town, 9/11-9/13

Having recently returned from an end of the summer sojourn to the provinces, I've found that the first weekend of fall offers too many cinematic choices to make any sort of informed and rational decision about what to go see (again). While many in this city will understandably spend much of this rainy Friday ruminating on the eighth anniversary of our countries' violent, headfirst plunge into the 21th century, ponder attending some of the terrific, little seen films on display in New York all weekend. Among the highlights:

Margarita Jimeno's electrifying portrait of the NYC based, Eastern-Euro flavored, rock act act Gogol Bordello opens at the Cinema Village today. In Gogol Bordello Non-Stop, she follows Eugene Hutz (star of Madonna's Filth and Wisdom) and his wacky, multi-ethnic band of Gypsy Punks to venues around the globe. While the doc doesn't push the envelope aesthetically, her subjects are never less than entertaining. Here's an interview with Jimeno I conducted last year for Spout.

Rooftop Films closes its 2009 season with a pair of shorts blocks, narratives on Friday and New York non-fiction on Saturday. Having fallen short of their 2009 fund raising goals, this indelible non-profit screening series and granting institution could certainly use your support, but the real reason to go tonight is to see a bevy of fantastic shorts, including two of my favorites from this year. Don Hertzfeldt's I Am So Proud of You, his award winning follow up to the Sundance winning short Everything Will Be Ok was made with financial support from the Rooftop Filmmakers Fund and is every bit as impressive as his previous effort. Meanwhile, 25 New Face Dustin Cretton's heartbreaking 2009 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Short Term 12 will close the block.

MoMA opens Edwin's Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly for a week long run tonight. Check out the interview I conducted with the IFFR FIPRESCI Prize winner when the film had its US premiere at Rooftop Films in July.

On Saturday night the venerable Williamsburg based collaborative center for "non-fiction media research and group production" UnionDocs will screen the still undistributed 2008 Best Film Not Playing a Theater Near You winner Sita Sings the Blues. Nina Paley's delightful DIY animated musical hasn't been able to find many audiences outside of the festival circuit because of rights issues concerning the Annette Hanshaw songs used on its soundtrack. Trust that it is a one of a kind movie, buoyant and uplifting, so see it when and wherever you can. Here's an interview I conducted for Spout with Paley last year.