Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Good Time To Be a Moviegoer

Lots of interesting films in NYC right now. (Yes, I know a lot of you don't live in New York, but there's a pretty good chance that if it's interesting here it won't be too dull where you are.) The Museum of Modern Art is doing their annual new German series; my review of one of the films is here, and there is at least one very intriguing item on the menu, a film about Hildegarde of Bingen by Margarethe von Trotta. Now that is a rather unlikely match -- medieval mystic meets hard-nosed modern radical feminist.

And, of course, the Tribeca Film Festival is right around the corner. I will have a lot to say about that both here and in Jewish Week.

In the meantime, let me pull your coat to a couple of films that I mentioned recently. Everyone Else is an impressive second feature by German filmmaker Maren Ade. It's a leisurely drama with a lot of wit, focusing on a couple who are vacationing in the sun and pondering the future of their relationship. Although they seem perfectly happy with one another and with their lives and careers back home, the seams and cracks begin to show when they compare themselves to the people around them. Ade gives this an agreeably meandering pace that seems to reflect not only the aimlessness of a vacation but also the diffuseness of her protagonists' lives. It's an intelligent and deeply likeable film, not a quality one sees enough of these days.

Beyond the Burly Q, which opens here on April 23, is also a film that meanders quite a bit. In fact, Leslie Zemeckis's documentary feature about the golden age of burlesque has only the loosest of structures. But the material and the interview subjects -- a veritable who's who of the grande dames of the burlesque stage, as well as family members -- are so delightful and the subject so engaging that it almost doesn't matter. For sheer fun, this is a winner, although I wish it had been tighter and better organized.