As part of Metrograph’s ongoing collaboration with Gagosian, the Swiss painter Louise Bonnet selects films that explore and unsettle the idea of “the body.” Louise Bonnet Selects: The Body runs from May 19 to May 25, with select encore screenings to follow.
The series includes A.I. Artificial Intelligence, All That Jazz, Audition, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The Brood, Le Petit Amour, and Under the Skin. Bonnet and The New Yorker staff critic Naomi Fry In conversation ahead of Saturday, May 20 screening of The Brood.
Film Featured in Louise Bonnet: The Body
A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The seemingly disparate sensibilities of sentimentalist Steven Spielberg and chilly ironist Stanley Kubrick, who left this science fiction Pinocchio story unrealized at the time of his death, here achieve an unexpected harmony. Haley Joel Osment plays a robot child abandoned by his adopted parents to the cruel (if astonishingly realized) outside world, in a film that finds Spielberg at his most challenging and most poignant.
ALL THAT JAZZ
“It’s showtime, folks!” Playing the chain-smoking, Dexedrine-and-Alka-Seltzer-popping, serially womanizing workaholic choreographer/filmmaker Joe Gideon, a perpetually black-clad Roy Scheider is the thinly-disguised alter ego of director Fosse, whose musical film à clef dramatizes a bout of manic work in the mid-’70s that nearly killed him.
A gloomy, death-obsessed, self-flagellating work that nevertheless crackles throughout with moments of ecstatic cinematic verve, including the bravura audition scene set to George Benson’s cover of “On Broadway” and the flatline grand finale of “Bye, Bye Life,” cut with flair by editor Alan Heim.
Among the great bait-and-switch acts of film history, Miike’s insidious, excruciating Audition begins as a reserved, melancholy, almost Ozu-esque study of a lonely widower (Ryo Ishibashi) and his desperate attempts to find a new romantic partner, then turns into… something very, very different.
Our hero appears to find the answer to his dreams in the form of a retiring ex-ballerina (Eihi Shiina), so sweet that he can overlook that strange laundry bag on her bedroom floor as he pursues his new romance, the shocking outcome of which proves the adage, “If something seems to be too good to be true… it probably is.”
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE
Following up his found-footage breakthrough Trollhunter, Øvredal cemented his place as one of the most impressive genre filmmakers to emerge in recent years with the unpredictable and relentless The Autopsy of Jane Doe.
A father-son duo of coroners (Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch) settle in for a typical night’s work investigating the cause of death on an unidentified—and curiously well-preserved—corpse discovered buried in the basement of the home of a family who’ve been brutally murdered, only to discover that this “Jane Doe” is no ordinary corpse… in fact, she might not be a corpse at all.
The bitter divorce between the mentally disturbed Nola (Samantha Eggar) and her ex-, Frank (Art Hindle) was pretty messy, so it should be a good sign that she’s finally getting professional help from the renowned Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed)—but Frank can’t help but notice that people on Nola’s long list of enemies keep dying at the hands of asexual, dwarfish assassins, and so he starts to wonder what exactly the experimental therapy practiced at Dr. Raglan’s Somafree Institute consists of…
Written while Cronenberg was in the midst of a divorce and custody battle, The Brood is a brutal, bracing airing of anxieties gussied up in grindhouse trappings. Louise Bonnet and The New Yorker staff critic Naomi Fry In Conversation ahead of Saturday, May 20 screening.
KUNG FU MASTER!
A companion to the concurrently filmed Jane B. par Agnès V., Kung Fu Master! features Jane Birkin as a 40-year-old mother of two who finds herself falling desperately in love with a 14-year-old boy, Julien (Varda’s son Mathieu Demy), an obsessive player of the titular arcade game.
Demy is joined in the cast by Birkin’s daughters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and half-sister Lou Doillon, giving the production a fascinating and touching home movie quality. Said Varda of the project: “It’s a film in which all the younger actors are the children of the director and lead actress. It was like a picnic.”
UNDER THE SKIN
Glazer’s stark, moody sci-fi chiller finds mysterious, buxom Scarlett Johansson stalking the streets and highways of Scotland by night in search of lonely men to take home with her—“home” being a pitch dark, otherworldly chamber where they’re enveloped by its tar pit-trap floors by their seductress, an alien in human form.
A bold combination of neorealist grit—Glazer makes use of concealed cameras and nonprofessional actors—and fantastic subject matter, making for one of the most unique and disquieting genre films of recent years. “Visually stunning and deeply disturbing: very freaky, very scary and very erotic.”—The Guardian