By Rebecca Henely
After being closed for almost two years for an extensive expansion, Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image is prepared to get the cameras rolling with a suite of screenings designed to show off its new theater.
Outgoing museum Director Rochelle Slovin last week announced the films that would be a part of “Celebrating the Moving Image,” a six-week program that will begin when the museum reopens to the public on Jan. 15.
“The opening programs reflect the museum’s wide scope of programming, encompassing silent films with live music, classic Hollywood cinema, avant-garde film, television, contemporary world cinema and more,” David Schwartz, chief curator for the Museum, said in a statement.
The museum, located at 35th Avenue and 37th Street, closed in February 2008 for a $67 million expansion that almost doubled the floor space and added new features, including a 264-seat theater, a 68-seat screening room and a video screening amphitheater.
Movies from the silent film era to the last decade will be on display during “Celebrating the Moving Image,” the museum’s opening events which will be made up of multiple small series focusing on a variety of subjects, from restored films to family programming to avant-garde works to documentaries about how television is made. All of these works will be shown for only one day or more from Jan. 15 to Feb. 20.
Two of the highlights of the upcoming programming include the films “Play Time,” by director Jacques Tati and “2001: A Space Odyssey” by director Stanley Kubrick. They will be shown in the restored 70 mm high-resolution format in which the original films were shot. The museum’s new 264-seat theater can play films at resolution ranging from Super 8 to 70 mm. “Play Time” will be shown Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. and “2001: A Space Odyssey” on the same day at 4 p.m.
The new theater also has an orchestra pit. To show it off, the silent film “L’Argent” will also be shown with live music played by the Mont Alto Orchestra, which played with the film at the Telluride Film Festival. A similar treatment will be done for John Ford’s recently found film “Upstream.” “L’Argent” will play Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 23 at 2 p.m. “Upstream” will play Jan. 30 at 5 p.m.
A 210-minute section of the 80-hour long avant garde film by Gregory Markopoulos, “Eniaios: Cycle Five,” will be shown Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.
Other films include Robert Rossen’s “The Hustler” starring Paul Newman, showing on Jan. 15 and Jan. 16 at 2 p.m., Manoel de Oliveira’s five-hour work “Doomed Love,” showing Feb. 5 at 2 p.m., and a special screening of the documentary “King: A Film Record … Montgomery to Memphis,” for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17 at 3 p.m.
“There is going to be something for everyone during the opening celebrations for Museum of the Moving Image,” Slovin said in a statement.
Check the Museum’s web site at https://movingimage.us for a full list of showings.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.