curated by Sara Maher
It’s easy to get stuck in your own frame of reference and forget to think about the experiences of others. Whatever your excuse – New Yorkers are so unfriendly! I’m super shy! It’s going to snow! – there’s an easy way to connect with people from all over the world: film. These festivals give you the opportunity to see the world through a different lens.
New Directors/New Films
This festival was mentioned in the last issue of The WIRE, but there are still two days left to experience “the work of emerging filmmakers from around the world.” The films wrapping up the festival include Albüm, a social satire about a couple who adopt a child, then find they have no emotional attachment to it; The Giant, following a man with autism and severe physical disabilities as he prepares to compete in a petanque tournament; Happiness University, a mixture of fiction and documentary that observes a retreat for members of the real-life Raelian Church; and Person to Person, a day-in-the-life following various New Yorkers, including a crime reporter and her boss, a clockmaker, and a teenager playing hooky.
• F downtown to 57 St and walk southeast to MoMA (11 W 53rd St). Through Mar 26; various times. $12 MoMA and Film Society members, students, seniors; $16 general admission. Schedule and tickets: newdirectors.org.
This isn’t a festival, per se, but it is a collection of films selected to convey a particular theme, which is good enough for me. In celebration of Women’s History Month and the new film Colossal, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is screening films that feature strong female characters. Categories include: Weird (The Frightened Woman, Teenage Gang Debs), Terror (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors), General (The Color Purple, Johnny Guitar, Mad Max: Fury Road), and, oddly, Tough Guy (The Fifth Element).
• F downtown to Jay St-MetroTech and walk southeast to Alamo Drafthouse City Point (445 Albee St). Through March 31, various times; Colossal starts showing Apr 13. $12-22. Schedule and tickets: drafthouse.com/nyc/program/colossal-women.
Focus on French Cinema
This independent international film festival selects from the best contemporary French-language films from around the world. Films showing at the F-accessible French Institute Alliance Française (fi:af) include the 50th-anniversary screening of A Man and a Woman, which won the 1966 Palme d’or, as well as two Academy Awards in 1967 for Best Foreign-Language Film and Best Original Screenplay; Un Plus Une, about a film composer who falls in love with a woman he meets while working in India; and an excerpt from the upcoming documentary Shoot to Live, covering three years in the life of filmmaker Claude Lelouch.
• F downtown to 63rd St-Lex Av and walk southwest to fi:af (22 E 60th St). Mar 28-30, various times. $15-$270. Schedule and tickets: focusonfrenchcinema.com.
NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival
According to the Website, this film festival provides viewers with “an understanding of the rich mosaic culture of Jews,” with the goal of advancing the understanding of Sephardi history, customs, and art. Genres include documentary, narrative, and short narrative. Subjects include Gertrude Bell, the “female Lawrence of Arabia” (Letters from Baghdad); the WWII volunteer soldiers who took control of Algiers until the Americans showed up (The Night of Fools); a daughter who struggles to take over the family business in a male-dominated society (Gravedigger’s Daughter); and a young woman who decides to reconnect with her religion to find love (Jewish Blind Date).
• F downtown to 14th St and walk northeast to The Center for Jewish History (15 W 16th St). Mar 30-Apr 6, various times. $10-100. Schedule and tickets: nysephardifilmfestival.org.
Havana Film Festival New York
A platform for Cuban and Latino films that would otherwise not have been shown in the United States, the Havana Film Festival strives to display a wide historical and cultural context by showing both newly released films from emerging artists and past films from Latino pioneers. F-accessible venues include the SVA Theatre (Viva) and AMC Loews 34th St 14 (El Buen Cristiano, Santa y Andres), as well as the DGA Theater which is hosting opening- and closing-night celebrations (Esteban and The Forbidden Shore, respectively).
• SVA Theatre: F downtown to 23 St and walk west to 333 W 23rd St. AMC Loews: F downtown to 34 St and walk west to 312 W 34th St. DGA Theater: F downtown to 57 St and walk west to 110 W 57th St. Mar 30-Apr 7, various times. $10-150. Schedule and tickets: hffny.com.