Hall of Science hosts ongoing film series

By Kate Bobby

The New York Hall of Science invites you to explore your environment with its ongoing Sunday afternoon film series, “Through the Lens.”

“The goal of having an ongoing film program at the Hall is to link various film series to the work we do here at the Hall of Science,” said Matt Bakkom, curator of the ongoing series which will next feature the installment “On the Go: Cars vs. Cities,” coinciding with the exhibit “Le Systeme Domobile.”

Through Nov. 28, “Le Systeme Domobile” is an exhibit about the work of French architect Edward Grinsberg, the man behind the designs for the Domobile, a forward-thinking, environment-friendly automobile. In tandem with the “Domobile” exhibit, the Hall's “On the Go” series offers the following films:

This Sunday, the “Piece by Piece” chapter of the “On the Go” series focuses on systematic auto assembly and disassembly, screening “Organism” (1975, 20 min.). In Bakkom's words, “Organism” parallels car assembly with the inner workings of a city, showing “the city as a live organism through a very effective use of time-lapse photography.”

This is followed by “Humain Trop Humain” (1975, 77 minutes), a documentary about car manufacturer Citroen directed by renowned French film director Louis Malle (“Pretty Baby,” “Au Revoir Les Enfants”).

“On the Go” continues Nov. 21 with its next chapter, “Car Culture,” a trio of films that examine our all-too-human tendency to get carried away in various unique ways when it comes to cars.

“Wild Wheels” (1992, 64 minutes) was directed by Harry Blank, son of renowned independent filmmaker Wes Blank, and is a look at the car as art on wheels.

“'Wild Wheels' is about people who rather obsessively dedicate themselves to transforming their cars into works of art. It is a view of cars as a type of folk art,” explained Bakkom, who sums up the film as “very funny.”

The same goes for the next Nov. 21 installment in the series, “The Incredible San Francisco Artist Soapbox Derby” (1977, 24 minutes) and “L'Homme Vit” (1963, 9 minutes), a short dedicated to the auto race as an act of glamor all its own.

For Thanksgiving weekend, the museum hosts the East Coast premiere of the new documentary “The Story of Computer Animation” (1999, 90 minutes).

In December, the Hall hosts films by the husband-and-wife documentary team, John and Faith Hubley, who specialized in making animated films about the human condition. The series “The Fabulous World of the Hubleys” which also features a series of 14 short films spanning two decades on Dec. 12, concluding the series on Dec. 19 with “The Cosmic Eye” (1985, 71 minutes).

The series rounds out the year with the critically acclaimed “Microcosmos” (1996, 77 minutes), featuring a day in the life of a meadow through the eyes of its residents, the bugs.

“This is the perfect film for the new millennium, we think, because if anyone is going to win at the end of the world it's going to be the bugs,” Bakkom said with a chuckle. According to Bakkom, other upcoming films in the Hall of Science series include an on-screen Icelandic voyage courtesy as well as an eight-week series dedicated to women and health. Also in the works is a full-scale retrospective of the films of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.

“We are very excited about this series because his films, though available, are now nonetheless not easy to find or get ahold of,” said Bakkom about the one-of-a-kindCousteau. “There is a whole generation of parents who were brought up watching these films and it's great to give their kids a chance to see these films, too.”

The museum is also planning a very special summer series with “Godzilla vs. The Hall of Science,” a self-explanatory series featuring the inexplicably hokey but undeniably enjoyable fabled film series by Japan.

In keeping with its educational focus, even the “Godzilla” series will serve a scientific purpose, accompanying the Japan Society's presentation about reptiles, both real and robotic.

Unless otherwise noted, “On the Go” gets going every scheduled Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

The Hall of Science is located at 47-01 111th St., Flushing Meadows Corona Park. For more information, call 699-0005 or visit the Web site at www.nyhallsci.org.