By Christopher Bonet
[Photo: Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” TeleCulture, 1983]
Apr. 2 – 22
To mark the acquisition of the remastered version of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (which will also be screening, its 919 minutes spread out over four days), NYC’s MoMA presents a selection of Fassbinder films from their vast collection. The series also includes the North American premieres of two documentaries by Juliane Lorenz, director of the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation, about the restoration of “Alexanderplatz.”
Apr. 4 – 12
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the independence of Ghana, NY’s Walter Reade Theater presents this annual film festival of titles meant to dismantle previous notions and prejudices about African society. This year’s festival includes a special feature focusing on rarely seen archival footage, ranging from colonial propaganda films to newsreels made shortly after independence.
In honor of the modern-day taxicab’s 100th anniversary and the upcoming “Taxi Week” in New York, the IFC Center presents a seven-film tribute to taxis in film. Films to be screened include Martin Scorsese’s iconic “Taxi Driver” (of course!), the Harold Lloyd silent comedy “Speedy,” Neil Jordan’s “Mona Lisa” and others. Films not to be screened include the Jimmy Fallon/Queen Latifah “comedy” “Taxi” and any selections from HBO’s “Taxi Cab Confessions” series.
Apr. 12 – May 2
Two series are presented at the Aero and Egyptian Theaters in Santa Monica and Hollywood, beginning with “Noir City: Ocean View” at the Aero, highlighting the city’s film noir history, beginning with a screening of Billy Wilder’s classic “Double Indemnity.” To the Egyptian comes a film festival pitting both classic and obscure noirs set in the cities of Los Angeles and New York, when noir was at its blackest. Each double bill offers one film set in New York and the other in LA.
Apr. 13 – 15
This indie film fest highlights emerging and established Thai and Thai-American filmmakers and will be held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. Be sure to catch “The Unseeable,” the latest from director Wisit Sasanatieng (“Tears of the Black Tiger”), and the semi-autobiographical “The Tin Mine” from director Jira Maligool.
Apr. 13 – 22
This annual film festival descends upon balmy Sarasota for the ninth year in a row, establishing this small Florida city as home to one of the fastest growing film festivals in North America. This year’s highlights include the presentation of a Humanitarian Award to actor Edward Norton, discussions with Oscar-nominated actress Marcia Gay Harden and former “Sopranos” mobster Joe Pantoliano about their new movie “Canvas,” and an international street fair following a day of screenings of films from around the world.
Apr. 16 – 21
The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosts screenings of three of Korean master Hong Sang-soo’s latest films, including 2004’s “Woman is the Future of Man,” 2005’s “Tale of Cinema” and 2006’s “Woman on the Beach.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in Beverly Hills presents this rare screening of 1945’s “Leave Her to Heaven,” John M. Stahl’s nearly forgotten noir starring “Laura”‘s Gene Tierney in her only Oscar-nominated role as a dangerously jealous wife. It’s a rare chance to enjoy this film in all of its lurid Technicolor beauty.
Apr. 23 – May 7
This series, sponsored by Beverly Hills’ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, features a picture from each Academy Award year that received the most nominations without winning the Best Picture award. The films of April focus on the late 1970s and include a 30th anniversary screening of “Star Wars,” a newly restored print of the Fred Zinnemann-directed “Julia,” Warren Beatty’s directorial debut “Heaven Can Wait,” and the Bob Fosse bio-musical “All That Jazz.”
Apr. 25 – 29
Chicago Sun-Times critic, Pulitzer Prize winner and “thumbs up” creator Roger Ebert hosts this film festival based out of Champaign, IL, on a group of hand-selected critically overlooked films. This year’s festival includes screenings of the sci-fi thriller “Gattaca,” Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and the Ebert-penned “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” Ebert, still recuperating from surgery, will be there watching the film and introducing the festival.