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Museum of Moving Image offers passion of critics

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The series,...

Nearly two dozen members of the influential New York Film Critics Circle will introduce screenings of movies that transformed them — personally and professionally — in a month-long series at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

The series, “Critical Passions: Movies Selected by tlze New York Film Critics Circle,” runs on weekends through March 4, and includes 23 films, each introduced by the critic who selected it. The wide-ranging series includes films from the 1930s through the 1990s by such directors as Robert Altman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, Abbas Kiarostami, Ernst Lubitsch, Michael Mann, Jean Renoir, Alain Resnais, Francois Truffaut, and Orson Welles.

This is the Museum's second annual series with the New York Film Critics Circle. Last year's popular series The New York Film Critics Circle Looks at the 1990 s focused on films from the past decade. For this year's series, the Museum asked members of the New York Film Critics Circle to select movies that changed their lives. Fittingly, the chosen films are as eclectic and varied as the critics themselves. For the most part, these are movies seen early in the critics' careers, at a time when their fervor for the medium was just beginning to take hold.

“For the professional film critic, vocation and avocation are inextricably bound together," said David Schwartz, the museum’s chief curator of film. “Despite the demands of deadlines and the obligation to sit through scores of tedious movies, the work is fueled by an abiding passion.”

Here is a sample of the schedule:

Saturday, Feb. 17

2 p.m. INTRODUCED BY OWEN GLEIBERMAN (ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY) “MANHUNTER” DeLaurentis, 1986, 120 mins. Directed by Michael Mann. With William Peterson, Kim Greist, Joan Alien. Based on Thomas Harris’ pre-“Silence of the Lambs” novel “Red Dragon,” Michael Mann’s rapt and hallucinatory serial-killer drama is among the great thrillers of the modern era. From the home-video spookiness of the opening shots, Mann establishes a mood of clinical nightmare realism that takes viewers deep into the horror of homicide, the forensic details of police procedure, and the primal mystery of fear.

4:30 p.m. INTRODUCED BY LEAH ROZEN (PEOPLE MAGAZINE) “MY MAN GODFREY” Universal, 1936, 93 mins. Directed by Gregory La Cava. With William Powell, Carole Lombard. “My Man Godfrey” is one of the screwiest of screwball comedies, reflecting Hollywood’s schizophrenic, laugh-if-you-can view of the Great Depression. Carole Lombard stars as a madcap Manhattan heiress who falls for William Powell, a homeless man hired as the family butler.

6:30 p.m. INTRODUCED BY JOHN SIMON (NATIONAL REVIEW) “RULES OF THE GAME” France, 1939, 110 mins. Directed by Jean Renoir. With Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor. “Rules of the Game” sums up the decadence and disorderliness of France that made it such a pushover for the Nazis.

Sunday, Feb. 18

2 p.m. INTRODUCED BY THELMA ADAMS (US WEEKLY) “THE HEROIC TRIO” Hong Kong, 1992, 82 mins. Directed by Johnny To. With Maggie Cheung, Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui. Demonstrating that feminism could be entertaining, muscular and seductive, the film centers on a trio united to defeat an evil baby- stealing eunuch. It’s the Brothers Grimm meets Marvel Comics with otherworldly fight sequences that anticipate Yeoh’s stunts in the new “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

4:30 p.m. INTRODUCED BY GENE SEYMOUR (NEWSDAY) “SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER” France, 1960, 92 mins. Directed by Francois Truffaut. With Charles Aznavour. Do they still have film-society rats on college campuses these days? (Do they even have film societies on college campuses in these video and DVD days?)

For more information, call the museum at 784-4520.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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