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BAMcinématek Announces Dave Kehr’s “When Movies Mattered” Series

BAMcinématek Announces Dave Kehr's "When Movies Mattered" Series

BAMcinématek will welcome critic Dave Kehr for a six-day series starting Friday, September 16 entitled “When Movies Mattered: Dave Kehr Selects.” The selected films are among those included in Kehr’s most recent book, “When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade,” which compiles reviews from the 1970s and 1980s.

Films Kehr is asking audiences to reconsider include Albert Brooks’ “Lost In America,” Manoel de Oliveira’s “Francisca” and Kenzo Mizoguchi’s “The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums.”

Kehr will be present on September 16 for a Q&A and book signing.

Full BAMcinématek release follows:

BAMcinématek presents When Movies Mattered: Dave Kehr Selects, a six-film series curated by the renowned critic, Sep 16, 19—20 & 26—28 (six days)
“One of the most gifted critics in America.”—Roger Ebert
Kehr in person at BAM for Q&A, Sep 16.
All 35mm prints
The Wall Street Journal is the BAMcinématek and BAM Rose Cinemas sponsor.

Brooklyn, NY/Aug 19, 2011—For six days starting Friday, September 16 to Wednesday, September 28, BAMcinématek welcomes the esteemed film critic Dave Kehr to present When Movies Mattered: Dave Kehr Selects.

Since the early 1970s, Dave Kehr has built a reputation as the film critic’s film critic. His trenchant, powerful, and opinionated prose has graced the pages of the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Tribune, New York’s Daily News, and since 1999, The New York Times. His current DVD/home viewing column appears weekly in the Sunday Times and is among the most widely read features of its type in the world. Kehr has also written for Film Comment—where he has been contributing editor since 1985—Les Cahiers du cinéma, and Entertainment Weekly, among many other publications. He hosts an eponymous, obsessively-read blog with the subtitle “reports from the lost continent of cinephilia”; is a screenwriter, penning a documentary on Clint Eastwood and one on western auteur Budd Boetticher; and a movie poster expert and collector, writing two books on the subject.

This BAMcinématek series consists of six titles featured in Kehr’s new collection of criticism, When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade (University of Chicago Press), encapsulating his more than 10 years of criticism at the Reader in the 70s and 80s. “I was privileged to start out at a time when the alternative press was flourishing, and there was plenty of space to write the kind of lengthy pieces on current films that have all but disappeared today. It’s gratifying to find that some of them are still of interest today,” Kehr says.

When Movies Mattered: Dave Kehr Selects invites New York audiences to consider—and reconsider—a selection of works through Kehr’s lens. Opening the series on September 16 is Albert Brooks’ on-the-road comedy Lost in America (1985), winner of the National Society of Film Critics award for Best Screenplay. (Kehr has been a member of the NSFC since 1978.) While Lost in America was a commercial and critical success, Kehr went further in championing the film and filmmaker: “On the short list of today’s formally inventive American filmmakers, Albert Brooks belongs right at the top. There really isn’t anyone else in the Hollywood end of the art who’s conducting the same kinds of experiments with visual presentation and narrative structure, who’s analyzing the received formulas with so much acuity and intelligence, and who’s set for himself the goal of creating a genuinely new kind of comic rhetoric.” He then goes on to liken Brooks’ film to the works of rigorous filmmaking duo Straub-Huillet: “It’s that radical.” And likewise, Kehr’s criticism. Kehr will appear for a Q&A and a book signing after the film.

When Movies Mattered showcases lesser-known and underrated works by certified masters, including The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939—screening Sep 20), by Japanese master Kenji Mizoguchi, and Francisca (1981—Sep 27), by Portuguese living legend Manoel de Oliveira. Final works by two Hollywood greats will be on screen for reappraisal: Alfred Hitchcock’s misunderstood, oft-maligned Family Plot (1976—Sep 28) and Otto Preminger’s rarely screened The Human Factor (1979—Sep 19), the only Tom Stoppard adaptation of a Graham Greene novel, starring British acting greats John Gielgud, Derek Jacobi (recently seen on stage at BAM as King Lear), Richard Attenborough—and Iman. On Monday, September 26, as an exclamation on Kehr’s independent viewpoint, BAMcinématek will screen Blake Edwards’ 10 (1979), starring the late Dudley Moore, Julie Andrews, and Bo Derek in her icon-making role. Kehr famously declared it the best movie of the year above Woody Allen’s Manhattan, Robert Benton’s Best Picture Oscar-winner Kramer vs. Kramer, and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now—which Kehr ravaged in his Chicago Reader review. Dave Kehr’s informed and insightful take has set the bar for modern criticism of classic and contemporary cinema.

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