"All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it's absolutely necessary. And three, be nice." " - Road House.
#437 | April 17, 2012
INTERVIEW: Jonas Mekas
Steve Dollar and 89 year old New York filmmaker Jonas Mekas reminisce over the demise the famous East Village Bar and subject of Mekas' most recent docu-diary, My Mars Bar Movie. "We came into existence together, so it was friendship," he said, chatting over Lithuanian beer and vodka shots at the Anyway Cafe, one of several East Village bars he frequents more often since Mars Bar closed last June (and was subsequently demolished). The demise of the bar, a refuge for the neighborhood's old-school bohemians, artists and rogues, prompted the filmmaker to edit more than 15 years of casual video footage into the film, which runs this weekend at Anthology. Read more >>
In This Dispatch:
  • What's New: Crime after Crime, Alambrista! (Criterion). 
  • What We're Watching: Paul Goodman Changed My Life, A Trip to the Moon (Restored Limited Edition).   
  • Explore: Hong Sang Two, Beyond Here Lies Nyukkin'.
In 1983 Debbie Peagler sought protection from the man who forced her into prostituion, beat her, and molested her daughter through her neighborhood's Crips gang members. They killed him, and subsequently Peagler was charged and plead guilty to first-degree murder in order to avoid the death penalty. She spent 20 years behind bars before a new California law gave her the opportunity to re-open her case. A real-life courtroom drama of the highest order, the NY Times calls this doc "magnificent, swelling from hushed to howling without the help of narration or posturing from the unfailingly dignified Peagler or her quietly dedicated lawyers. There may well be, as one of her lawyers claims, 'thousands and thousands of Debbies across the U.S.,' but it is this particular one who makes it difficult to leave the theater with dry eyes and an untouched heart."
"When it was first released in 1977, ¡Alambrista! depicted something previously unseen in American fiction films—the lives of undocumented Mexican immigrants from their point of view," notes Charles Ramírez Berg in his essay for Current. Once extremely difficult to track down though it won the pretigious Camera d'Or at Cannes in 1978, the film "was important then—and is now—is because it balanced, deepened, and enriched our national conversation about immigration." The film, starring a young Edward James Olmos, is a stark and vivid  intimate character study and part road movie. The Criterion release includes the short documentary Children of the Fields, which the director shot during his year living with illegal immigrants along the Mexican-US border.
What We're Watching

Paul Goodman Changed My Life
Paul Goodman didn't change my life. Unfortunately. But I wish he had. Born 30 years before me (in 1911), he published his famous work, Growing Up Absurd, around the time I was attending a Christian Science school (Principia College), a place at which a fellow like Goodman -- proudly bisexual and "out" (before the use of that word had even come into being!) -- would not have found favor. Once I abandoned that foolish religion and began to grow up (absurd or not), I did learn something of Goodman and read an occasional essay of his. Read more >>

A Trip to the Moon
Thanks to the happy success of Martin Scorsese's Hugo, the French silent era filmmaker Georges Méliès is now far better known to the general public. Flicker Alley, which distributed a massive box set of surviving Méliès films, has now released a special new two-disc "steelbook" set. It features a brand-new, restored version of Méliès' most famous film, the 14-minute A Trip to the Moon, with the original hand-tinted color back in place, and a new score by Air. And on Blu-RayRead more >>

2005's A Tale of Cinema inaugurated the second phase of Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo's career (Hong 2.0), introducing basic components returned to and toyed with in every subsequent film: drunken directors who swear to change their lives before lapsing a scene later, women alternately being idealized/treated badly but granted final telling-off authority, events repeating themselves with no explanation, goofily inelegant zoom shots. Oki's Movie (screening in NYC through April 22nd) is an excellent introduction for novices, distilling and compacting the familiar elements of Hong's last seven years into 80 minutes, his shortest-ever feature by eight minutes. Read more >>
Hong Sang Two
The original proposed cast for the Farrelly brothers' feature was a dramatic power-house—Jim Carrey, Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn—that would've underscored every eye-gouge and double-slap with considerable darkness. After more than a decade of development delay, the resulting The Three Stooges is an angst-free 91 minutes, the zippiest Farrelly project since their '90s Dumb and Dumber heyday. Watching it is like being run over by a bus and liking it. Read more >>
Beyond Here Lies Nyukkin'

Bartender, I'll Have Another


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