Whether it’s the greatest moments in sports, political bloopers or best-selling songs, late December is when media outlets publish their “Best of the Year” lists. And as per a long-running custom, the Museum of the Moving Image, a Queens venue that is heavy on media promotion, is part of the fun, presenting Curators’ Choice, a showcase of the best films of 2018.

Organized by Curator of Film Eric Hynes and guest curator David Schwartz, this year’s edition includes 17 works that will screen from Friday, Dec. 28, through Sunday, Jan. 6, along with opportunities to meet directors. And as to be expected in the world’s most diverse county, the program features everything from a Chinese coming-of-age saga to a Korean thriller to a French romantic comedy to a powerful Spanish-language soap opera that takes the audience to a South American colony in the 18th century.

Tickets are $15 with discounts for seniors and students. The schedule, which includes brief descriptions of each movie, follows.

  • Minding the Gap” (Dec. 28, 7 p.m.) is the breakthrough film by first-time director Bing Liu, who will be on hand to participate in a Q&A session. It follows three skateboarding buddies in a Rust Belt town. Their relationships evolve as they grow from teenagers into adults with jobs and families.
  • “Araby” (Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m.) is a fantasy tale in Portuguese with English subtitles. A Brazilian teenager finds a journal and dives into its stories about adventures and lovers.
  • “America to Me” (Episodes 1-5 on Dec. 29, 1 p.m., and Episodes 6-10 on Dec. 30, 1 p.m.) is a long-form documentary shot over an entire academic year at Chicagoland’s elite Oak Park and River Forest High School. Students, teachers, administration officials, and parents discuss the pressures teens face. The director, Steve James, and Liu from “Minding the Gap” will be in attendance. Please notice that these two showings are free with museum admission and Dec. 29 ticket holders can present their stubs for admission on Dec. 30.
  • “Happy as Lazzaro” (Dec. 29, 3:30 p.m.) follows a young nobleman who tries to end exploitation on an Italian tobacco plantation. It’s in Italian with English subtitles.
  • “Burning” (Dec. 29, 6:30 p.m.) involves an aspiring writer and an eccentric rich man who compete for a woman’s affection. It’s in Korean with English subtitles.
  • “Western” (Dec. 30, 2 p.m.) is about German construction workers who are installing a hydroelectric plant in Bulgaria and how they interact with residents of the small, rural town. It’s in German and Bulgarian with English subtitles.
  • “Zama” (Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m.) follows an 18th century Spanish nobleman who is administering a small colony in South America. While hoping for a transfer to a larger, more prestigious post, he succumbs to lust and paranoia while losing his mind.
  • “Let the Sunshine In” (Dec. 30, 7 p.m.) follows a middle-aged divorced mother in Paris as she experiences sex, love, and emotional connection with characters who could not be more different from one another. It’s in French with English subtitles.
  • “Hereditary” (Jan. 4, 6:30 p.m.) is a psychological thriller about an artist who explores her family history and discovers tragedy. The director, Ari Aster, will be on hand.
  • “The Rider” (Jan. 5, 2 p.m.) looks at manhood through a rising star on the rodeo circuit who retires after a tragic accident. The cowboy searches for meaning and identity.
  • “First Reformed” (Jan. 5, 4:30 p.m.) stars Ethan Hawke as the pastor of a small church in upstate New York. While counseling a radical environmentalist, he plunges into his own tormented past and bleak future, leading to violence.
  • “The Other Side of the Wind” (Jan. 5, 7 p.m.) comes from an Orson Welles movie that was abandoned when the director died in 1985. It was finally completed thanks to a team led by director Peter Bogdanovich, who plays a leading role in the film.
  • “Shirkers” (Jan. 6, 2 p.m.) is a first-person documentary by — and about — Sandi Tan, who will be in attendance. The Singaporean director did her first film in 1992, but her American mentor disappeared with all the footage. Twenty years later, she found the original version.
  • “Support the Girls” (Jan. 6, 3 p.m.) is a comedy that takes place over one long day in a Hooters-like sports bar. There’s a sisterhood among the waitresses, but the lead character’s optimism is tested at every turn.
  • “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” (Jan. 6, 4:30 p.m.) is a documentary about two young African American men from rural Alabama. One goes to college while the other becomes a father to an energetic son. The director, RaMell Ross, will be in attendance.
  • “Wildlife” (Jan. 6, 6 p.m.) is an intimate portrait of a family dealing with the father’s abandonment in a small Montana town in the 1960s. One of the writers, Zoe Kazan, will participate in a Q&A session.
  • “Bisbee ‘17” (Jan. 6, 7 p.m.) is a documentary by director Robert Greene, who will be on hand. He looks at the close-knit community of Bisbee, Arizona, as residents commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, when dozens of immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes, shipped to a desert on cattle cars, and left to die.

The Museum of the Moving Image is located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District, and all screenings are set for either the Sumner M. Redstone Theater or the Celeste Armand Bartos Screening Room.

Top image: Support The Girls; bottom image: Burning


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