When Movies Mattered

Left coasters may not pay much attention to the New York film scene, but the Apple’s exhibitors, curators, festivals, and critics set the agenda for the entire country. The great majority of non-Hollywood cinema — art films, foreign films, retrospectives, documentaries, experimental films, revivals — plays Manhattan before rippling out. One of the great tastemakers, Amos Vogel, started and ran (with his wife) the influential postwar film club Cinema 16 before cofounding the New York Film Festival in 1963; he also wrote the essential 1974 tome, Film as a Subversive Art. The Austrian Jewish émigré died in April at 91, and local curator Joel Shepard pays tribute to Vogel’s immeasurable contributions to U.S. film culture by digging fellow subversive Luis Bunuel’s 1930 provocation L’Age d’Or (The Age of Gold) out of the vault. A jolt of comic surrealism intended as an affront to the left, right, and center, Bunuel’s follow-up to his infamous collaboration with Salvador Dali, Un Chien Andalou, is the perfect choice to honor the man who said, “The commercialization of art and entertainment is a negative factor in human development.”
Sun., Sept. 9, 2012

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