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Mark the date: essential film screenings in New York, Feb. 1,2, 6 & 9

Irma Vep
Starting Friday, February 1 and continuing through the 10th, the Anthology Film Archives will be staging a retrospective on the work of French auteur and former Cahiers du cinéma critic Olivier Assayas. There is a lot to recommend in the series, but none of the films I can recommend more strongly than Irma Vep (1996), wherein Jean-Pierre Léaud plays a film director who imports Maggie Cheung from Hong Kong to star in his remake of the silent serial classic, Les Vampires.
Irma Vep plays at the Anthology Film Archives on Friday 2/1 at 9:30pm; Saturday 2/2 at 7:00pm with director Olivier Assayas in person; and Saturday 2/9 at 9:30pm.
Beau Travail
Along with Irma Vep, another one of the best films of the 1990s (and for my money, the best), Claire Denis' breakthrough film Beau Travail (1999) will be playing at the Museum of Modern Art. The film is an elliptical and poetic free adaptation of Melville's Billy Budd, taking place in contemporary North African among the Foreign Legion. A more lyrical, inspired picture of foreignness, desire, and the rigors and emotions of the military one is not likely to find.
Beau Travail plays at the Museum of Modern Art on Saturday 2/2 at 8:30pm; and Wednesday 2/6 at 8:30pm.

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