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Shot on expired 16mm film stock and freely incorporating archival footage and folkloric tropes, Pietro Marcello’s beautiful and beguiling film begins as a portrait of the shepherd Tommaso, a local hero in the Campania region of southern Italy, who has volunteered to look after the abandoned Bourbon palace of Carditello despite the state’s apathy and threats from the Mafia. When Tommaso suffers a fatal heart attack during the film’s shooting, Marcello boldly grants his subject’s dying wish: for a Pulcinella…

A unique tribute to the Armenian filmmaker Artavazd Pelešjan, Pietro Marcello juxtaposes excerpts from Pelešjan’s work—marked by the director’s signature approach to montage, a dynamic, rhythmically complex blend of original and archival footage inspired by the theories of Dziga Vertov—with stark black-and-white footage of Pelešjan in latter-day Moscow, leading a life of silence and seclusion. The result is a striking, heterogeneous portrait of a neglected genius, an iconoclast whose radical reimagining of cinematic form finds new expression through Marcello’s similarly radical documentary.

Now playing virtually nationwide through Thursday during our director retrospective.

Pietro Marcello’s haunting documentary is a sui generis love story, following the 20-year relationship between a Sicilian heavy named Vincenzo and a trans convict named Mary after their meet-cute in prison. When she gets out, Mary pledges to wait for Vincenzo on the outside, though things become more complicated as she finds herself grappling with heroin addiction. But Marcello isn’t merely content to render their romance in all its love and complexity: The Mouth of the Wolf is also a…

A seemingly simple documentary abounding in sensual images and phenomenological ideas, Pietro Marcello’s first nonfiction feature traces the Italian landscape through the windows of a succession of long-distance express trains, moving from the South to the North and back again. Day and night, landscapes and faces, voices and bodies commingle to yield—even in the ephemeral glimpse offered by a passing train—a rich, variegated, and utterly transfixing portrait of modern Italy as a multiplicity of lives, impressions, old customs, and new cultural tensions.

Now playing virtually nationwide through October 22 during our Pietro Marcello retrospective.

Liked reviews

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

***this is a review of the DIRECTOR'S CUT of Midsommar, and a detailed breakdown of the new footage after the jump***

On July 3, Ari Aster’s “Midsommar” was released on 2,700 screens across the United States. The twisted modern fairy tale —an epic fable that starts with a bleak murder-suicide, and ends with a somewhat brighter one almost 147 minutes later — was an extraordinary ask for a multiplex audience, and Aster knew full well how fortunate he was that…

How refreshing. Denis’s dense and fully fleshed-out conversations, confrontations and intimate moments are such a joy to watch and stick with you. She’s always good.

Zama

Zama

★★★★½

Colonialism Roleplay ASMR - Must Watch Till End!

the first word we hear in ZAMA is "voyeur," an accusation laid against the title character by a group of women he watches bathe on the beach. zama flees as a woman pursues him, only to turn around and strike her down. it is this inciting incident that frames the rest of the film and its perspective on colonialism: not as violence against women persay, but as voyeurism. the indigenous population and…

Zama

Zama

★★★★½

Colonialism as a closed loop. The faces of the generals and the enemies change but the names seem to stay the same, all the while the once proud official slowly deteriorates, his clothes rotting and his mind melting. Martel's rapturous compositions manage to feel cramped even at their most expansive, using intersecting planar blocking to add to the general sense of confusion, of not knowing where to look or what to do. The last third, which leaps ludicrously far away from the preceding material, somehow sharpens the entire feature, bringing its nightmarish logic into crystalline focus.