Wow, this is kind of ridiculous, actually. So much to see and so little time. Let us begin...
At the IFC Center, two of the finest films of the year are making their theatrical debuts. I finally got to see THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK last night. I'm still reeling. Like Manohla said, Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern's brutal and urgent documentary demands to be seen by anyone and everyone RIGHT FUCKING NOW, GODDAMN IT. How is this happening? Why is this happening? While the images of human destruction are difficult to swallow, for me the tears came during an interview with an old gentleman in a refugee camp. As he walks away from the camera, wiping tears from his face, he puts his hand in his pocket and carries himself with more dignity than I have ever seen in a human being. It is one of the all-time truly devastating moments. I implore you to go see THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK, and I challenge all of us to do something about this incomprehensible nightmare.
On the other side of the spectrum is THIS IS ENGLAND, which I've seen twice now. Aside from a horrific Smiths cover at the end that nearly ruins everything that preceded it, I have nothing but gushingly positive things to say about this movie. It doesn't feel retro or like a period piece. It feels like it's a lost gem from 1983, a work on par with Mike Leigh and Alan Clarke and Ken Loach at their finest. Thomas Turgoose is the discovery of a lifetime. This movie might have my favorite boyfriend-girlfriend pairing ever. To quote a character, THIS IS ENGLAND is sterling (pronounced 'stuhhhling'). I'm actually going to try to start using 'stuhhhling' to describe things I think are especially cool. You should too.
At Anthology Film Archives, their Norman Mailer retrospective is in full swing. I'm going to the "Dick Fontaine Program" at 9:15 tonight, which consists of two hour-long docs featuring Mailer in his prime, including his 1969 run for mayor of New York City. And be sure not to miss MAIDSTONE next Tuesday at 6:30!
This weekend at the Museum of Moving Image, their incredible program "Uneasy Riders: American Film in the Nixon Years, 1970-1974" gets underway. I'll be doing a double-feature on Sunday of PUZZLE OF A DOWNFALL CHILD and WANDA, both of which I've never seen. Jerry Schatzberg will be in attendance for the PUZZLE screening, which is cool. I plan on attending as many of these as possible.
Oh yeah, and there's something called THE SIMPSONS MOVIE that just came out too.
Seriously, go see THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK and THIS IS ENGLAND. That's not a polite request, nor a gentle recommendation. It is a very forceful order!