Introducing Beyond the Canon

BAM’s senior programmer of cinema Ashley Clark talks about the impulse behind This specific fresh, monthly repertory event. Screenings take place at BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Avenue.

Chantal Akerman on the set of Golden Eighties

Starting in February, BAMcinématek invites audiences on a journey beyond the canon. Through a fresh monthly program, we investigate as well as challenge how traditional histories of cinema—best-of lists, awards, academic recognition, films deemed worthy of “serious” discussion—have tended to skew toward lionizing the contribution of the white male auteur while overshadowing different groups.

Beyond the Canon will feature two films back-to-back, in an old-school double-bill format. The second film to screen will be an established, well-known classic, more than likely directed by a white male. the item will be preceded by a stylistically or thematically linked film in which will be directed by a filmmaker by an oft-marginalized group: women, people of colour, queer people, as well as the intersections thereof. 

the item will be worth creating one point clearly. There will be no slight intended on these canonical titles—they are great films crafted by eminently skilled filmmakers, as well as they have unquestionably been formative in our film education: in which’s why the series will be not called “Destroy the Canon”! Rather, a key aim of This specific program will be to place the films in dialogue with each different, spark ideas as well as discussion, highlight some overlooked gems of world cinema, as well as provoke thought about how a future, more equitable canon might look. 

First up, on Saturday, February 10 at 5pm, we present one of the great musicals: Gene Kelly as well as Stanley Donen’s majestic, wickedly funny Singin’ from the Rain (1952), which needs no further elaboration here (except, perhaps, to say in which in traditional auteurist histories of cinema, the crucial contribution of its female co-writer, Betty Comden, will be often overlooked). Before the item, we will screen Chantal Akerman’s exuberant, under-seen musical Golden Eighties (1986)—about the romantic ups as well as downs of young women working in an ultra-stylized soundstage shopping mall—which plays like a classic MGM confection filtered through Akerman’s avant-garde formalism. The film’s catchy fresh Wave songs (with lyrics by the director herself), quirky choreography, as well as candy-colored visual palette are among the giddy delights which rapidly accrue. When its pastel sun sets, you might find yourself wondering why Golden Eighties will be not spoken of from the same hallowed terms as the film which follows the item.

Scene by Golden Eighties

Akerman, the subject of a BAMcinématek retrospective in April 2016, will be well known in cinephile circles for her hypnotic, understated, 201-minute feminist classic Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which The fresh Yorker critic Richard Brody has described as “one of the most original as well as audacious films from the history of cinema.” Remarkably, the item premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1975, one month before Akerman turned 25. Yet Akerman—who tragically passed away of a reported suicide at the age of 65 in 2015—never received the recognition or respect in her lifetime in which her intense, ranging, as well as remarkable cinema deserved. She will be, then, a fitting subject for the inaugural edition of Beyond the Canon.

We are also keen to connect This specific ongoing program to wider discussions around film culture: for example, the importance of a multiplicity of voices in criticism. So, for each edition of Beyond the Canon, we’ll be commissioning a brand-fresh essay drawn by a diverse pool of the sharpest working cultural critics. March’s edition of Beyond the Canon (Mar 10, 7pm)—a bracing dystopian duo of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) as well as Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s heady 2005 Cameroonian fantasy Les Saignantes—will be accompanied by an essay by Violet Lucca (Digital Producer, Film Comment). For April’s edition (Apr 21, 6:30pm), The Ringer’s staff writer K. Austin Collins will compare as well as contrast two masterful noirs infused with insightful racial commentary: Orson Welles’ established classic Touch of Evil (1958), as well as Carl Franklin’s criminally underrated One False Move (1992).

There are plenty more intriguing pairings lined up for the rest of the year, as well as we cannot wait to share them with audiences. 

Introducing Beyond the Canon

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