July 3: OUR NIXON (U.S.)
Throughout Richard Nixon's presidency, three of his top White House aides obsessively documented their experiences with Super 8 home movie cameras. Young, idealistic, and dedicated, they had no idea that a few years later they'd all be in prison. (Golly: I wonder why we can't say the same about members of this last Bush administration, not to mention all those bankers and Wall Streeters who helped cause our current recession? We once lived in a world that punished criminals. This movie ought to remind us, and how dreadfully, times have changed.) OUR NIXON is an all-archival documentary presenting those home movies for the first time, along with other rare footage, creating an intimate and complex portrait of the Nixon presidency as never seen before. 2013, 84 mins. Directed by Penny Lane. Not Rated. Courtesy of Cinedigm. Programmed by Rooftop Films.
Ironically titled, this drama set in Chad follows the fortunes of Adam, a former swimming champion, now a 60-year-old "pool man" at a tourist hotel. Tensions between Adam and his grown son are exacerbated when the former loses his job to the younger man and his fragile world begins to crumble. The country's endless civil war plays a decisive role in defining the two men's psychic reality in this smart, subtle, and deeply moving story of modern Africa. Winner, Jury Prize, 2010 Cannes Film Festival. 2010, 92 mins. Written & Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. Not Rated. Programmed by Film Forum.
July 17: ALAMAR (Mexico)
A love story between father and son, man and nature, water and sky, ALAMAR is set in the turquoise waters of Banco Chinchorro in the Caribbean, home to thousands of species of fish. The film – somewhere between fiction and documentary – tells the story of a young boy whose divorced parents (Italian mother, Mexican father) make him a child of two worlds. A father transports his urban son to this natural paradise to teach him to dive for lobster and fish for barracuda, spending days on a tiny fishing boat and nights in a reed-roofed cabin that floats atop the water. (TM's earlier review and interview with the filmmaker can be found here.) 2009, 73 mins. Written & Directed by Pedro González-Rubio. Rated G.
Programmed by Film Forum.
French actress Isabelle Huppert stars (three times!) in this comedy/drama – a triptych set in a Korean seaside town. Huppert plays three different Annes – a successful film director on holiday with a Korean director and his wife; a married woman having an affair with a Korean man; and a recent divorcée whose husband left her for a Korean woman. Three breezy tales of love, lust, and misunderstandings, all peppered by the dimly jovial propositions of one persistent lifeguard. 2012, 89 mins. Written & Directed by Hong Sang-soo. Not Rated. Programmed by Film Forum.
July 31: DOMESTIC (Romania)
Wonderfully surreal, painfully real – this is the story of children, adults, and animals that live together trying to have a better life, but sometimes death comes unexpectedly. In the bittersweet comedy Domestic, it is all about us – people who eat the animals that they love, and the animals that love people unconditionally. (With no U.S. distribution that I know of, this movie might not be seen again soon, or ever, so you might want to catch it now.) 2013, 82 mins. Directed by Adrian Sitaru. Not Rated.
Programmed by Rooftop Films.
Considered "the grandmother of the New Wave" in France, Agnès Varda melds literary and documentary conventions with the politics of feminism and compassion, and a whimsical touch that is all her own. THE GLEANERS AND I, inspired in part by the Jean-François Millet painting, uses the subject of gleaning (the act of gathering leftovers) to create a warm and witty discourse on, among other things, the nature of consumerist society and the role of creativity in survival. 2000, 82 mins. Directed and narrated by Agnès Varda. Not Rated. Programmed by Film Forum.
This drama from the German-born, Turkish-descended filmmaker explores the lives of six characters, including two young women: a Kurdish political activist wanted by the German authorities, and Lotte, a naïve German student who becomes sexually entangled with her. Fassbinder muse, Hanna Schygulla, plays Lotte's suspicious mother in this tale from a new Europe – one in which national boundaries are disappearing as quickly as traditional sexual norms. 2007, 122 mins. Written & Directed by Fatih Akin. Not Rated.
Programmed by Film Forum.
Rain Date: August 28
Socrates Sculpture Park is located at
32-01 Vernon Blvd (at Broadway) in Long Island City.
Queens Public Transportation to Socrates Sculpture Park:
SUBWAY N or Q train to the Broadway stop in Queens and walk eight blocks west on Broadway (toward the East River) to the intersection of Vernon Boulevard.
BUS Q103, Q104 to Broadway and Vernon Boulevard Q19A to Broadway and 21st Street.