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In New York, Every Day’s a Festival

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Three movies you won't find at the Tribeca Film festival. (From left: Clean, starring Maggie Cheung; a newly restored version of Army of Shadows; Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 9)  

Every day, there’s something to remind you that New York is the weirdest and most diverse film city in the country. Today, it’s the strange fact that this week, three of the year’s most exciting foreign films are opening in art house theaters (Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Three Times, Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, and Park Chan-wook’s Lady Vengeance), the Jean-Pierre Melville’s classic Army of Shadows is returning to Film Forum after many years away from New York screens, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center is holding its always-strong New York African Film Festival. Not only that, but general audiences are finally going to get their first look at Maggie Cheung’s startlingly mature, Cannes-winning performance in Clean, Japanese director Mikio Naruse is getting a tribute at BAM, Matthew Barney’s bizarre Drawing Restraint #9 is unspooling at the IFC, Jean Vigo is screening at MoMA (along with a slate of baseball films), an Altman retrospective is steaming along at the Museum of the Moving Image, the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival is still sweeping up the popcorn, and, yes, our dozens of megaplexes are churning away. New York is packed to the gills with all these very important films—and that’s not counting the 174 features and 80-so shorts screening at the Tribeca Film Festival. The trouble is, if you're going to see two movies this week, do you see Lazarescu, Clean, Lady Vengeance, Three Times, or something totally new at Tribeca? It's a hard choice. There’s been a lot of talk about Tribeca competing with other film festivals, but this sprawling, citywide festival's greatest competition may just be the mammoth number of films we screen in this city every day.


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