Film Society of Lincoln Center: Getting It Right, Again
The slow reveal (nine years) of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, from sketch-on-a-napkin to sleek new neighbor on 65th Street is over, and worth the wait. With two theaters, an amphitheater, a café (open as of Labor Day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and more), and a reception space—as yet undesignated—the Center is all for film, and film for all. Cunningly carved (it is David Rockwell’s hand, after all) out of the existing garage, it gives the Film Society, limited to one theater since 1973, enviable flexibility and a hot new lease on life.
Like most projects at Lincoln Center, the exact numbers are a little mysterious, but does it matter? The point is it looks good and it works! The amphitheater and the theaters are intimate and comfortable, the bright little café looks out at the street, and the ladies’ room is sleek, clean and actually adequate for the needs of capacity houses. (If guys think that’s not important, just ask any woman you know!) Ticketing is at the front of the house, and at street level. And yes, digital sound and image are impeccable. To enjoy the newbie, catch what’s on now and buy tickets: Munroe Center
Especially recommended: Passione (see our post of June 10) and, in the near future: Circumstances (see our post of April 26), a slow-burn Persian love story, and Mozart’s Sister, a fascinating behind-the-scenes fictional glimpse of musical, and actual, 18th-century royalty.
But there’s much more: the 49th NY Film Festival is coming, and soon. There’s a big, lick-your-chops lineup to covet that will fill Walter Reade, and also program all the Munroe Center’s screens and spaces for the duration of the Festival. Just think about this: galas to celebrate new films from Polanski, Cronenberg, Almodóvar and Alexander Payne. Main-slate screenings from Scorsese, the Dardenne brothers, Kaurismäki, von Trier, Wenders et alia. Personal appearances, Q & A’s, chance encounters—on 65th Street, you never know! See it for yourself and check in early at: NYFF 2011
BTW: during the Society’s recent From Britain With Love, Emerging Pictures weighed in with a live HD broadcast of the series’ opening-night screening of Toast. What made it stand out from other HD ventures linking multiple locations was its two-way technology: viewers at remote theaters were able to participate in the post-screening Q&A, making them (literally) part of the action at Lincoln Center. This is only the latest achievement for Ira Deutchman, long-time film visionary and thinker, the company’s managing partner and, as of July 27, chairman of Columbia University’s Film Program.