Welcome to revival cinema, devoted to virtual screenings of films that are outside of a current release. Revival cinemas (or repertory houses as they are also called) had their heyday in the 1960s and 70s before the DVD and TCM. James Wolcott, cultural critic for Vanity Fair says it best, “Revival houses were where epiphany-seeking cinephiles and less exalted film junkies could dip into the dark for a few hours and cut their Dracula fangs on Hollywood golden oldies, the latest foreign craze, avant-garde provocations, and camp treasures with cult followings.”
There are still many of these celebrated revival cinemas in existence today (think Film Forum in New York) and the occasional new one opening up (Metrograph in New York). Now through our virtual cinema platform we can provide you an opportunity to catch some of these exclusive restorations and re-releases. Films will be updated regularly so bookmark this page!
Thousand Pieces of Gold (United States, 1990)
Run Time: 105 min. Rating: PG-13
Set in a mining town in the 1880s, Thousand Pieces of Gold is based on the classic novel by Ruthanne Lum McCunn with a screenplay by award-winning filmmaker Anne Makepeace (Tribal Justice). Upon its release in 1990, the film won immediate acclaim for its portrayal of the real-life story of Lalu (Rosalind Chao), a young Chinese woman whose desperately poor parents sell her into slavery. She is trafficked to a nefarious saloonkeeper in Idaho’s gold country. Eventually Charlie (Chris Cooper), a man of different ilk, wins her in a poker game and slowly gains her trust. Way ahead of its time, the film resonates even more powerfully today in the era of #MeToo. Nancy Kelly became a victim of prejudice against women directors within the American film industry and was never offered another movie to direct in spite of extraordinary reviews from critics, some of whom compared her talent to that of John Ford.
Smooth Talk (United States, 1985)
Run Time: 91 min. Rating: PG-13
Suspended between carefree youth and the harsh realities of the adult world, a teenage girl experiences an unsettling awakening in this haunting vision of innocence lost. Based on Joyce Carol Oates’ celebrated short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” and produced for PBS’ American Playhouse, the narrative debut from director Joyce Chopra features a revelatory breakout performance from Laura Dern as Connie, the fifteen-year-old black sheep of her family whose summertime idyll of beach trips, mall hangouts, and innocent flirtations is shattered by an encounter with a mysterious stranger (a memorably menacing Treat Williams). Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Smooth Talk captures the thrill and terror of adolescent sexual exploration as it transforms the ingredients of a standard coming of age portrait into something altogether more troubling and profound.
Free Time (United States, 2019)
Run Time: 61 min. Rating: Not Rated
Manny Kirchheimer is one of the great masters of the American city symphony, as is clear from films like Stations of the Elevated (1981) and Dream of a City. In his latest work, the 88-year-old Kirchheimer has meticulously restored and constructed 16mm black- and-white footage that he and Walter Hess shot in New York between 1958 and 1960. This lustrous evocation of a different rhythm of life captures the in-between moments—kids playing stickball, window washers, folks reading newspapers on their stoops—and the architectural beauty of urban spaces, set to the stirring sounds of Ravel, Bach, Eisler, and Count Basie. The breathtaking footage was shot in several distinct New York neighborhoods, including Washington Heights, the Upper West Side, and Hell’s Kitchen, and features impressionistic stops throughout the city, making time for an auto junkyard in Inwood, a cemetery in Queens, and the elegant buildings of the financial district.
Damnation (Hungary, 1988)
Run Time: 116 min. Rating: Not rated
A mid-career masterwork by legendary Hungarian art house auteur Béla Tarr and the first of his internationally acclaimed trilogy of films written in collaboration with author László Krasznahorkai (including the legendary Sátántangó), Damnation (Kárhozat) chronicles the doomed affair between bar Titanik regular Karrer (Sátántangó’s Miklós B. Székely) and the cruel cabaret singer (Vali Kerekes) he pines for while scheming to displace her brutish husband (György Cserhalmi). A poignant Communism allegory that solidified Tarr’s unique aesthetic, Damnation is photographed in an exquisitely black & white palette underscored by the mesmerizing long takes that would come to be his trademark. Damnation has been restored in 4K from the original 35mm camera negative by the Hungarian National Film Institute – Film Archive under the supervision of Béla Tarr.
Sicilia! (Italy, 1999)
Run Time: 66 min. Rating: Not Rated
20th Anniversary Digital Restoration
Something as simple as a herring roasting on a hearth, or a meal of bread, wine and winter melon, takes on the humble aura of a Caravaggio painting in this masterful film from legendary filmmakers Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet. Sicilia! is a tragicomedy involving an orange peddler, an Italian recently returned from America, two “stinky” police officers, a guilt-stricken landowner, a traveling knife sharpener and, perhaps most unforgettably, an indomitable peasant mother who reminisces about meals of snails and wild chicory, her husband’s philandering and cowardice, and her own father’s belief in an honest day’s labor, socialism, and St. Joseph.rent now
Sweetgrass (US, 2009)
Run Time: 101 min. Rating: Not rated
A New Digital Restoration! An unsentimental elegy to the American West, Sweetgrass follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana’s breathtaking and often dangerous Absaroka-Beartooth mountains for summer pasture. This astonishingly beautiful yet unsparing film reveals a world in which nature and culture, animals and humans, vulnerability and violence are all intimately meshed.
The Mouth of the Wolf (Italy, 2009)
Run Time: 68 min. Rating: Not rated
Winner of major prizes at the Berlin and Turin film festivals, the hauntingly beautiful debut feature from Pietro Marcello (Lost and Beautiful, Martin Eden) interweaves two love stories: the 20-year romance between a Sicilian tough guy and a transsexual former junkie whom he met in prison, and a poetic reverie of the Italian port town of Genoa, depicted in all its mysterious, fading glory. Commissioned by the Fondazione San Marcellino, a Jesuit order dedicated to helping society’s poor and marginalized, The Mouth of the Wolf masterfullly combines documentary with fiction and melancholy home movies from the past century with poetic images, sounds, and music of the waterfront today.
Billy the Kid (US, 2007)
Run Time: 84 min. Rating: PG-13
A provocative coming-of-age story, Jennifer Venditti’s debut film, BILLY THE KID (2007), is an acclaimed odyssey into the soul of an American teenager. Venditti follows Billy as he navigates small town Maine, grappling with isolation and first-time love, and traversing the frustrating gap between imagination and reality. Exhilarating and heartfelt, the film grants an intimate, empathetic view of an expressive and seemingly fearless outsider and provides an unvarnished and unique snapshot into what it’s like to grow up in America.
Watch a very special q&a a/perture hosted with Billy the Kid (Billy Price), director Jennifer Venditti and producer Chiemi Karasawa on October 12. Click here to access