Sally Potter's Orlando (1992), digitally restored in high definition, is being re-released this summer and sees its premiere today as part of MoMA's retrospective. And for the duration of the series, running through July 21, you can watch here, for free, Potter's 1970 short, Play.
"Based on Virginia Woolf's novel, Orlando remains Potter's masterpiece, with Tilda Swinton as a man who lives from Elizabethan days to the present, waking up as a woman in the 18th century," writes Caryn James in her profile of the director for Newsweek. "The film's wit and layered sense of history seem richer than ever. An angel slyly sings 'Eliza is the fairest queen' as Queen Elizabeth, played by Quentin Crisp (inspired casting!), sails on a barge and falls madly for the young male Orlando. A 19th-century hero on horseback rides out of a mist and literally tumbles at the female Orlando's feet, as Potter both indulges and tweaks Romanticism."
Speaking of which, Gustav Mahler was born 150 years ago today and, as The Takeaway reports, the occasion will be marked by a "Mahler Year" in Ljubljana and Vienna and a Summer Mahler Project in New York. And Mahler on the Couch opens today in Germany. Kirk Honeycutt in the Hollywood Reporter: "Percy Adlon, who once made a movie about Marcel Proust that focused on his maid, is up to old tricks in this delightful, witty, artistically vigorous and occasionally loony fantasia about Vienna's cultural elite 100 years ago. Mahler on the Couch, which Adlon wrote and directed with his son Felix, manages to pose a serious, intimate study in obsessive jealousy while, like a gaga celebrity hunter, bumping into just about everybody who's anybody in Viennese society circa 1910." Film-Zeit gathers reviews in German.
Human Desire (1954), with Glenn Ford, Kathleen Case, Gloria Grahame and Broderick Crawford, screens at the 92Y Tribeca at 8 pm. The New Yorker's Richard Brody: "The director Fritz Lang takes seriously the title of his 1954 film-noir adaptation of Émile Zola's novel La Bête Humaine, which is set somewhere in Middle America and exchanges the novelist's notion of congenital madness for the theme of pure animal lust."
"Few people now living remember the glory days of silent movies, but Diana Serra Cary goes them one better: She was a part of the glory." Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times: "As child star Baby Peggy, the now 91-year-old actress made numerous silent features. Also the author of several excellent books, including The Hollywood Posse and Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy, Cary will be present at the Silent Movie Theater/Cinefamily, at 611 N Fairfax Ave., on July 7 to introduce one of the six surviving feature-length films she starred in." Captain January (1924) screens at 8 pm; Cinefamily: "Also showing before the feature is Mickey The Detective (1928), one of the earliest surviving shorts starring Mickey Rooney, then eight years old and credited as 'Mickey McGuire' — and The Kid Reporter, an ultra-rare Baby Peggy silent short!"
Update, 7/13: "Orlando is an enormous achievement and if nothing else in Potter's nearly forty-year career matches it, there are nevertheless many films in the MoMA series that reveal her brilliant eye for framing and camera placement, her ear for music, and the extremely moving ongoing conflict between her romantic sensibility and her analytic mind." Amy Taubin for Artforum.
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