New Yorkers know summer weather is great… until it isn’t. The stench of _______ in the city becomes unbearable (there are so many varieties, I’ll let you fill in the blank with your favorite). We lose half our ice cream cone down our arms before we have a chance to eat it. My personal breaking point? When my skirt and my thighs become a singular entity. And when that moment hits, it’s time to find some indoor relief. Movie theaters, it turns out, are the perfect escape.
Have you ever been in the situation where you’re walking down the aisle of a grocery store, a certain song plays over the speaker and you find yourself overcome with emotion? Maybe it triggered the memory of your first boyfriend, or it reminded you of a particular place, or the lyrics were particularly relevant to a recent event. If you’ve ever stifled sobs in the dairy aisle while deciding between skim and 1%, you’re not alone.
If there were a list of naturally aggressive words in the English language, it feels like “manifesto” would be at the top of that list. But it’s really just a declaration of intentions, be it Marx’s or lululemon’s. Each one carries weight, because once we verbalize or document a motive, we make a formal commitment to it. And one person who seems to understand the power of a manifesto is filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt.
Roselfeldt’s 2015 film, Manifesto, premiered at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and is finally being offered to New York City audiences at Park Avenue Armory’s Drill Hall. In real estate-starved Manhattan, it’s hard not to walk into the space and be awed by its sheer size. The dark, cavernous 55,000-square-foot room holds thirteen giant movie screens. A lone bench sits in front of each one, and as you perch on it, a speaker delivers targeted audio for the piece of film you’re watching.
I love movies. From the classics to the contemporaries, the small indies to the big blockbusters. We’ve been pretty open about that here on the blog where we’ve covered a film festival (here), attended an opening week screening (here), or most recently, just waxed poetic about one of our favorite directors (here). So when the weather warms up, it should come as no surprise that one of our favorite things to do is catch an outdoor movie screening.
New Yorkers are fortunate that there are numerous free outdoor movie screenings offered in many of the city’s amazing parks throughout the summer. You could watch The Omen at Bryant Park, Purple Rain at Hudson River Park, American Graffiti at Brooklyn Bridge Park or The Royal Tenenbaums at McCarren Park. But we’re not the only ones who love movies in New York City, and we’re definitely not the only ones who love free activities. City dwellers wait in anticipation for the schedules to be released at the beginning of the season and appear en masse for showtime. In order to find a spot most of us have to turn up hours earlier, often with blankets and refreshments in tow.
New York City is experiencing a seemingly unending heat wave which is taxing both our spirits and our wallets. Many of us duck indoors, finding solace in brick-and-mortar purveyors where we trade goods and services we don’t really need for the air conditioning we desperately do. But the brief reprieve often does little to slow the faucet of sweat rolling down our scalps and backs. Raphael Pope-Sussman wrote a wonderful piece for Gothamist about the ghosts of heat waves past where he revealed that many New Yorkers once slept on their fire escapes to avoid the stifling heat inside their apartments. I couldn’t help but immediately think of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. The movie — one of my favorites — starts with the view from L.B. Jeffries’s Greenwich Village apartment in the midst of high summer. It scans a courtyard and introduces us to his neighbors, the rising mercury level enabling our voyeurism, since “nobody seems to pull their blinds during a hot spell like this.”
Let’s imagine, for a second, that you watched Casino Royale and fell in love with the Aston Martin. You dreamt of owning it. You started an Aston Martin Fund. You collected pictures of it. You learned everything you could about it. Then one day your best friend shows up at your house in an Aston Martin. “Isn’t it cool?”, he says. “My dad bought it for me.”
Could you be happy for him?
Life doles out its shares of disappointments, but this is a particularly trying brand. It can appear in so many insidious forms: Your friend gets into the college you dreamed of attending. Your sister inherits the piece of jewelry you’d always loved. Your girlfriend gets asked out by the boy you thought was really cute. We congratulate them, rally around them, support them. But a part of us hates them too. How much can you love someone who steals your dream? Mike Birbiglia’s latest movie, Don’t Think Twice, explores this idea and so much more.
My obsession with New York City started early, and when I was a college student in Cleveland I would regularly fantasize about a life in the big, bright city. I browsed through the New York Times’ real estate listings and weekend magazines, perused the New Yorker’s articles and cartoons, and pored over New York Magazine’s news and reviews. I’m still a New York Magazine subscriber today because it was quick to move into the online digital arena, where, like the growing majority, I choose to get most of my news now.
New York Magazine has built several successful online brands — The Cut, Grub Street, The Science of Us, and of course, Vulture. Vulture is their entertainment arm, providing movie, television and music news and reviews. A few years ago the Vulture Festival was hatched: a weekend extravaganza filled with panels, performances, and screenings to fill all your pop culture dreams and desires. The third annual festival included a tour of the Met Breuer led by their in-house art critic, a Rent sing-along, and a morning with The Muppets, among many others. Eclectic, to say the least.
What are the criteria for an outstanding short film? Or, more precisely, what are the criteria for an outstanding student-produced short film? The specificity makes a huge difference, actually. That’s exactly what the Columbia University Film Festival seeks to answer with screenings, voting and discussions. The festival is the result of Columbia University’s MFA students’ years of study in the prestigious school’s film program. As one would expect, being part of the Columbia University system gives the students access to massive film archives, unparalleled research collections and mentorship from industry leaders. Alumni have gone on to produce box office hits (Frozen) and Netflix favorites (Making a Murderer), and are regular film award nominees and winners.
Even New Yorkers with the most rugged, indomitable constitutions know when to shrug their shoulders and concede. Whether it’s a blizzard or a weekend where the MTA decides to re-route all the subway lines you actually use, there are just times when you need to say, “New York, right now, I’m just not that into you.” For those evenings, weekends, weeks or months that you’d just rather spend holed up at home (we won’t judge), we’d like to introduce what we hope will be an ongoing segment called “Celluloid Heroes”, where we’ll pick a movie — preferably an old favorite — and pair it with something fun you can make at home.
To kick off the series, we decided on Giuseppe Tornatore’s cherished and award-winning 1988 masterpiece, Cinema Paradiso.