This time of year is a bit of a dead zone for arthouse theater new releases. Sure, there are a few good films in limited release, but not many. Occasionally, we’ll get some smart counter-programming up against the summer blockbusters, but the June better bets might be in retrospective engagements or screenings of obscure classics. Here are some of the more exciting options in New York:
THE FILM FORUM
Manhattan’s legendary arthouse is screening Akira Kurosawa’s amazing Rashomon until June 11. Kurosawa’s 1950 sensation has been restored in a new 35mm print, which means you have even fewer excuses to proclaim you’re confused by the film’s twisty story.
There’s also one more date for the Tod Browning Festival at Film Forum. Maybe you missed earlier screenings of Browning favorites like his still-disturbing Freaks (1932), but you can catch the final night’s double-feature of the iconic Dracula (1931) and the silent The Black Bird (1926), on June 8. Browning was way ahead of his time when it came to creepshows.
THE IFC CENTER
Speaking of creepy, the IFC Center will continue its Stanley Kubrick retrospective of midnight screenings from his diverse canon. Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining will screen June 5 & 6. The ultimate trip of a movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, will screen June 12 & 13. The month ends with two of Kubrick’s earlier noir films: Killer’s Kiss on June 19 & 20 and The Killing on June 26 & 27.
Meanwhile, as part of the IFC Center’s monthly series “The Old Wave: Favorites from the French Masters,” Marcel Carne’s Children of Paradise (1946) will screen June 12-14. I haven’t seen the film, but it sounds intriguing enough. However, if you have kids, I suggest you attend the July installment of Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon, but more on that when the time comes.
ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES
I’ve never heard of The Moon and The Sledgehammer, but this 1971 British verite documentary sounds potentially awesome. Apparently, its June 5-11 run at Anthology will be its New York theatrical premiere.
On the other hand, I can certify that Jean Renoir’s 1939 masterpiece The Rules of the Game, is not to be missed. One of the greatest films ever made, check it out at Anthology on June 11 or 12.
As usual, this Lower East Side cinema will feature special midnight screenings on the weekends. You can expect: The Great Muppet Caper is slated for June 5 & 6, while Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is on the schedule for June 12 & 13. For those unhappy with Angels & Demons, get the original Howard/Hanks collaboration Splash, on June 19 & 20.
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
You only have a couple of days left to catch the end of the Dardenne Brothers retrospective. And, you can catch the landmark concert film, Michael Wadleigh’s Woodstock (1970), which will feature a stellar group of guests in attendance on June 3. Tickets for that one will be tough.
The rest of June at Lincoln Center will consist of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival and a contemporary Italian filmseries, both of which include some quality titles. However, stay tuned for the Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective in July. And if anything serves as counter-programming to Hollywood summer blockbusters, it’s Tarkovsky.