Manhattan may claim the city’s best known art house cinemas (Film Forum, to name one), but Brooklyn now has a handful of underground and established cinematheques. Here are a few whose programming is worth staying home for.
Starr Space, 108-110 Starr St., Bushwick
Cinema 16’s moniker refers to Amos Vogel’s influential film society, based in New York City from 1947-1963. In its first incarnation, the society was particularly famous for having screened the early film works of Maya Deren, who ran in the same circle as Marcel Duchamp and Anais Nin. Brooklyn photographer Molly Surno has resurrected the storied, experimental film society by curating events featuring silent shorts scored live by local bands. Thus far Starr Space’s walls have flickered with the likes of Polish filmmaker Wladysaz Starewicz, Russian director Jan Svenkmajer, and the Brothers Quay.
Showtimes: The next event on November 21st features the films of French director Robert Enrico (famous for his work with icons Brigitte Bardot and Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Harry Smith, once christened by Kenneth Anger as “the greatest living magician.” Artanker Convoy performs the score. site>>
Brooklyn Independent Cinema Series
Barbes, 376 9th St., Park Slope
Convivial South Slope boite Barbes hosts a bi-monthly screening series committed to showcasing contemporary independent filmmaking. The series, while not exactly spanking new (their third anniversary approaches), provides a vital forum for local artists to interact and engage with each other’s work, as many films represent the fruits of Brooklyn’s own filmmaking labors.
Showtimes: This coming Monday, Nov. 24 a program of award-winning selected shorts from the Red Hook Film Festival will be screened. site>>
Third Floor of 55 33rd St., Industry City, Sunset Park
Light Industry is, to BB’s mind, the Brooklyn destination for underground new media. Thomas Beard and Ed Halter, NYC-based film programmers and critics, develop evenings of experimental film and art, each of which is hosted and organized by a guest curator, artist, or critic. Past screenings have ranged from Cory Arcangel’s irreverent and goofy Nintendo-hacks to bootleg video screenings of Paul Chan’s site specific, guerilla outdoor stagings of Waiting for Godot (performed by NY’s Classical Theatre of Harlem) in Katrina-devastated neighborhoods of New Orleans.
Showtimes: Coming up December 2 is “Hellfire and Rhinestones,” curated by Leah Churner, an assemblage that centers on “the golden age of televangelism” through footage that highlights the glitzy, show-biz vocabulary of evangelical Christian television broadcasts. site>>
322 Union Ave., Williamsburg
Christopher Allen’s non-profit documentary arts collaborative runs The Documentary Bodega Series, weekly screenings of contemporary, specifically documentary works. The films are carefully selected by Allen’s co-op of artists and curators, and the events aim to offer the opportunity to see exceptional new work in doses slightly more reasonable than prescribed in festival environments.
Showtimes: Allen’s “reasonable” film festivals are manageably chopped up and rationed out over a series of Sunday evenings at 7pm. Union Docs also showcases audio works, or “sound documentary,” on the last Sundays of each month. site>>
BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene
Ok, so underground is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of BAM, but BAMcinematek (its nine-year-old repertory film program) offers celluloid fare that often flies under the radar. Florence Almozini, who programmed the Ocularis film series at the old Galapagos, selects an eclectic mix of local and international, experimental and classic films.
Showtimes: In time for Thanksgiving (November 21-30), BAMcinematek offers a respite from pre- and post-feast cabin fever with their “Punk n’ Pie” film series about the UK’s punk and post-punk music culture. Trade Mom and Dad for “Sid and Nancy” or catch Derek Jarman’s “Jubilee” (1977), which chronicles Queen Elizabeth I as she travels 400 years into an anarchic 20th century filled with music by Adam Ant, Brian Eno, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. site>>
Sent by Jocelyn. Photos, from top, courtesy Cine 16, Light Industry and BAM.