Independent Films screenings at MOMA

The Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Film presents a six-film showcase of recent titles from the independent distribution company Strand Releasing in the exhibition Carte Blanche: Marcus Hu and Jon Gerrans, screening from July 1 through 6, 2009, in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters. Twenty years ago, the American independent film movement took root in America—propelled by a confluence of art-house and sexual-identity films (particularly the New Queer Cinema)—and its profound influence upon the industry continues to this day. Chief among the movement’s visionary figures are Marcus Hu and Jon Gerrans, who together founded Strand Releasing in 1989, and have since maintained a dedication to risk-taking directors who privilege innovation and authenticity over commerciality.

The films in this series hail from across the globe, highlighting the work of some of contemporary cinema’s most influential new voices and providing a provocative snapshot of the world of cinema from the point of view of Hu and Gerrans. Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005), directed by Tsai Ming-Liang, is the account of a jaded adult-movie star in Taipei who daydreams in elaborate, erotic musical fantasies. In François Ozon’s Le temps qui reste (Time to Leave) (2005), a successful fashion photographer is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and consequently alienates his family and his young boyfriend by keeping his illness a secret. Also included are Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) (2007), by Fatih Akin, winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Sud pralad (Tropical Malady) (2004), winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Wednesday, July 1
7:00 The Headless Woman (La Mujer Sin Cabeza). 2008. Argentina/Spain/France/ Italy. Written and directed by Lucrecia Martel. With María Onetto, Claudia Cantero, Inés Efron, Daniel Genoud. A bourgeois woman (Onetto) becomes distracted while driving alone on a dirt road, and runs something over. In the days following this jarring incident, she is dazed and emotionally disconnected from the people in her life, and becomes obsessed with the possibility that she may have killed someone. The police confirm that there were no accidents reported in the area and everything returns to normal—until a gruesome discovery is made. Martel’s third feature examines the intricacies of class, status, and the role of women in Argentina’s male dominated society. An Official Selection at the 2008 Cannes and New York film festivals. 89 min.

Thursday, July 2
8:00 The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite). 2007. Germany/ Turkey. Written and directed by Fatih Akin. With Baki Davrak, Tuncel Kurtiz, Nursel Kose, Nurgul Yesilcay. The lives of six characters—two mothers, two daughters, a father, and a son— intermingle as a series of love affairs, coincidences, chance encounters, and tragedies sends them back and forth between Turkey and Germany. Akin’s contemplative, compassionate vision of the collision between East and West garnered him the Best Screenplay award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. 120 min.

Friday, July 3
4:30 The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite). 2007. (See Thursday, July 2, 8:00)
8:00 Time to Leave (Le temps qui reste). 2005. France. Written and directed by François Ozon. With Melvil Poupaud, Jeanne Moreau, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Daniel Duval. A handsome, successful fashion photographer learns that he will soon die from a malignant brain tumor. Hiding his diagnosis, he alienates his family and his young boyfriend, but during a short stay with his grandmother his vulnerability is met with a big heart and sound advice. A chance encounter with a roadside café waitress results in an unusual bargain that provides a happy, playful dimension to the proceedings. A selection of the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. 80 min.

Saturday, July 4
2:00 Before I Forget (Avant que j’oublie). 2008. France. Written and directed by Jacques Nolot. With Nolot, Jean-Paul Dubois, Marc Rioufol, Bastien d’Asniéres. Nolot stars in the tale of a gay gigolo who enters into a downward spiral as he struggles against advancing age, poverty, loneliness, writer’s block, and the increasing complications of living with HIV. Haunting his every move is the fear of being forgotten or, worse yet, dying back where he started—on the streets. Young hustlers, drugs, alcohol, and countless cigarettes provide momentary distractions, but ultimately he must face his inner demons in order to be free of them. 104 min.
5:00 Tropical Malady (Sud pralad). 2004. France. Written and directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. With Sakda Kaewbuadee, Banlop Lomnoi, Sirivech Jareonchon, Udom Promma. A lyrical and mysterious film from maverick director Weerasethakul (Blissfully Yours and Syndromes and a Century), one of the most prominent young directors of the Thai New Wave. When a mystical love affair between a young soldier and the country boy he seduces is disrupted by the boy’s sudden disappearance, the soldier journeys alone into the heart of the Thai jungle in search of him. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and an Official Selection of the New York Film Festival. 118 min.
8:00 Time to Leave (Le temps qui reste). 2005. (See Friday, July 3, 8:00)

Sunday, July 5
2:30 Before I Forget (Avant que j’oublie). 2008. (See Saturday, July 4, 2:00)
5:30 The Wayward Cloud (Tian bian yi duo yun). 2005. France/ Taiwan. Written and directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. With Lee Kang-sheng, Chen Shiang-chyi, Lu Yiching, Yang Kuei-mei. A jaded adult-movie star in Taipei daydreams in elaborate, erotic musical fantasies. Award-winning director Ming-Liang (Vive l’amour and I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone) blurs the line between fantasy and reality in this tale of sexual voyeurism and outrageous obsessions. 112 min.

Monday, July 6
4:30 Tropical Malady (Sud pralad). 2004. (See Saturday, July 4, 5:00)
8:00 The Wayward Cloud (Tian bian yi duo yun). 2005. (See Sunday, July 5, 5:30


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