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New York Screen: The Real Underdogs

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In the shadows of this overheated summer movie season, New York’s art houses are counterprogramming with some (indie) heavy hitters of their own. On May 21, the IFC Center holds a special screening of Gray’s Anatomy, the Spalding Gray film, with director Steven Soderbergh and Gray’s widow, Kathleen Russo, in attendance. Just a few blocks away, Film Forum kicks off the phenomenal “Herzog (Non)Fiction,” a three-week-long tour through the German madman Werner Herzog’s documentary work—and nine of his favorite docs by other directors. Catch Herzog in person at the double-dreamscape screening of Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil and Jean Rouch’s Les Maîtres Fous on May 21, but don’t miss 1992’s Lessons of Darkness (pictured). Narrated as an encounter with some alien, hellish planet, Herzog’s apocalyptic tour through the burning oil fields of post–Gulf War Kuwait is a nightmare coda to that “easier” intervention—and bound to be twice as strange as anything in Transformers.


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