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by Andy Lauer
October 26, 2009 3:14 AM
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cinemadaily | Recent Restorations Shine at MoMA

A scene from John Cassavetes' "A Woman Under the Influence," part of To Save and Project: The Seventh MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation.

To Save and Project: The Seventh MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation is currently underway at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Dedicated to showcasing recently restored films, this year's edition includes screenings of over 25 works, including a week-long run of John Cassavetes' "A Woman Under the Influence," recent restorations of Robert Flaherty’s "Nanook of the North" and Frank Capra’s "Forbidden," and more.

"In retrospect, 'A Woman Under the Influence' seems to anticipate the following year's 'Jeanne Dielman,' which would express many of the same sentiments in even more shocking terms, but its shadow stretches even further," writes the Village Voice's Tim Grierson about Cassavetes' film which runs until October 30. "Compare Cassavetes's film to any number of more recent agony-of-suburbia dramas focusing on put-upon mothers—Julianne Moore's harrowing performance as the environmentally sensitive 'Carol in Safe,' the suffering matriarchs of 'Little Children' and 'Revolutionary Road'—and you'll realize how these later films echo Influence's underlying conflict: the tension between mother as loving rock of the family and mother as human being, with inner turmoil."

"Maybe acting in a Cassavetes film was a kind of madness to begin with, a guarantee of total emotional exposure, fierce fights and sloppy hugs on and off camera," muses Time Out New York's Joshua Rothkopf. "Such were the privileges enjoyed by a select few during the director’s 1970s heyday; of these brave souls, Gena Rowlands, his wife, was the queen, and this is her finest hour."

Meanwhile, Time Out New York's Keith Uhlich interviews Rowlands about her experience working on the film.

Watch the trailer for "A Woman Under the Influence" on YouTube.

The New York Times' Dave Kehr runs down the offerings in this year's festival, including Korean director Kim Ki-young’s 1960 thriller "The Housemaid" (which screens November 5 and 16). "The story of a music teacher and his family under attack from a sexually aggressive, pathologically possessive maid, 'The Housemaid' has been a decisive influence on the new generation of South Korean filmmakers that includes Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon-ho," notes Kehr. "Restored with the support of Mr. Scorsese’s new global initiative, the World Cinema Foundation, it is a perfect example of why film preservation is so important: here’s a major work reclaimed from the past that points to the future."

Watch a scene from "The Housemaid" on YouTube.

Tonight, audiences can catch Luchino Visconti's lush, operatic "Senso," starring Alida Valli and Farley Granger, in which "Visconti began to give full rein to his taste for theatricality and grandiose mise-en-scene," according to Elliott Stein in the Village Voice.

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