Spring Arts: The Film List

Spring Arts: The Film List

Feb. 25-26: “Tip of My Tongue,” a new film by Lynne Sachs, the closing night film at the Museum of Modern Art’s annual documentary fortnight. Sachs, whose work has frequently been extolled on these pages, celebrates her impending 50th birthday by bringing together a wildly disparate group of her contemporaries to consider the meaning of a milestone birthday and what the previous half-century has been like. Museum of Modern Art (11 W. 53rd St.). moma.org.

March 2-8: The 9th annual ReelAbilities Film Festival. Is there a more joyous, more inclusive or more significant event on the annual N.Y. film calendar? It may have a few equals in terms of aesthetic impact, although the films are always quite good, but surely this is one of the highlights of my movie year. As usual, a wide-ranging program of fiction and documentary films spanning both the globe and the breadth of issues around empowerment and self-realization for people with different abilities. Most screenings at the JCC Manhattan (76th St. and Amsterdam Ave.), newyork.reelabilities.org.

March 10-21: “Manhattan” by Woody Allen in a new 4K restoration print. Arguably Allen’s best film, more deeply felt and less glib than “Annie Hall,” with a luminous Mariel Hemingway as Allen’s high-school-age girlfriend and a delightfully sharp-tongued Meryl Streep as his ex-wife, all of it gilded with Gordon Willis’ shimmering black-and-white cinematography. Film Forum (209 W. Houston St.), filmforum.org.

March 13-19: The 2017 Socially Relevant Film Festival, the fourth annual edition of this event features its usual blend of new fiction and documentaries as well as an impressive range of workshops for filmmakers and would-be filmmakers. However, for us the highlight this year is the return to directing of Yale Strom, whose long-awaited “American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs” will play the festival on Tuesday, March 14 as part of the opening night festivities. Cinepolis Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St.), ratedsrfilms.org

March 17: “13 Minutes,” directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. The title refers to the time by which a young German Georg Elser missed assassinating Hitler in November 1939 in a little-known act of resistance against the Nazis. Hirschbiegel made a pretty suspenseful job of his previous Hitler film, “Downfall,” and we all know how that turned out, so this should be worth a look. Theater TBA.

March 31: “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” directed by Niki Caro. The director of “North Country” takes on Diane Ackerman’s non-fiction book about the wife of the head of the Warsaw Zoo, played by Jessica Chastain, who risked her life and that of her family to rescue Jews and resistance fighters during WWII. Theater TBA.

April 7: “The Ticket,” by Israeli filmmaker Ido Fluk. Well-received at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, this drama focuses on the impact of a blind man (Dan Stevens) suddenly regaining his sight, a seeming miracle that has devastating repercussions for his wife (Malin Ackerman) and best friend (Oliver Platt). Theater TBA.

April 14: “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” Joseph Cedar’s first English-language film and his first feature since the wonderful “Footnote,” features an all-star indie cast including Richard Gere in the title role, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Steve Buscemi and Harris Yulin. Theater TBA.

April 19-30: 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Always a pleasure to cover and to attend, and it usually unveils at least one or two Israeli films of note (past award winners include “My Father, My Lord,” “Zero Motivation” and “Junction 48,” which opens theatrically here this spring.) Tribecafilm.com/festival/

May 12: “The Wedding Plan,” a second feature for Rama Burshtein, the writer-director of “Fill the Void.” What could Burshtein do to avoid the dreaded second-film jinx after her brilliant debut? How about a 180-degree spin from that film’s somber atmosphere into the world of dizzy romantic comedy? Theater TBA.

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