Back from a few weeks in Europe, still amazed at the respect now accorded to the borough of my birth (pretty much a laugh line back in the day). It’s all très, très Brooklyn as they say in Belleville — and the most très (or at least avant) Brooklyn of movie events, the annual BAMcinemaFest, opens tonight with David Lowery’s ’70s movie made today, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” pictured above.
Lowery’s tale of two young beautiful Texas bank-robbers (Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara) was a huge success last February at Sundance; it’s part of BAMcinemaFest’s invaluable nature that it cherry-picks (mainly) American indies and docs premiered at Sundance, SXSW, Visions du Réel, and elsewhere, giving local previews to movies that either eschewed or were overlooked by older Manhattan institutions like “New Directors/New Films” and the Tribeca Film Festival.
Must-sees include the new Andrew Bujalski, “Computer Chess,” and Jem Cohen’s serene and sui generis “Museum Hours,” an account of human connections in and around Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. The must-investigates include Chilean director Sebastian Silva’s magic mystery tour Crystal Fairy (another Sundance hit), the SXSW jury prize winner, Destin Cretton’s troubled teen drama “Short Term 12,” “C.O.G.”, directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez from a David Sedaris story, and the winner of the Boston Underground Film Festival, Zach Clark’s yule-time travesty “White Reindeer” (see below).
Local history is served by Malcolm Ingram’s “Continental,” which recounts the history of the legendary Upper West Side bath house where Bette Midler incubated her career and thousands of others incubated their whatevers; locally made movies include Shaka King’s stoner comedy “Newly Weeds” and the Crown Heights-set drama “Mother of George,” starring French movie icon Isaach De Bankolé.
The Fest runs through June 28; the movies only show once. A select few will be released this summer; it’s a safe bet that some of the others will be picked up for distribution following their premieres.