we have spent Many a cold, cruel, wintry manhattan night snuggled up in the velvet-y seats at the Film Forum, dreaming of far-off lands and beauteous people and adventures and Life and love and all the other things that one goes-to-the-movies-for.
come to think of it, we’ve spent rather a lot of blistering Hot summer’s days there too – in the cool clement air-conditioning (AC as the americans call it) – with perhaps an iced beverage or even an ice-cream, stopping to admire the posters on the way out (many of them perhaps from our friends at Posteritati) and perhaps to buy a book on Lacan or the theory behind a documentary or pick up one of their famous flyers – it’s that sort of place – a true temple to celluloid – a cinema of ideas, in fact. and in practice. not just theory.
as our time (gulp) in manhattan is drawing to a close after almost 7 years (has it been that long? why, yes. and so many Lessons Learned) – we are saying goodbye to the people and the places and the things that have made our Time here Truly glorious.
and one of those is definitely the Film Forum.
so we asked its Splendid executive director – Karen Cooper (who has her own Hirshfeld portrait! and had a retrospective at MoMA as well as an interview in the Village Voice – the three marks of manhattan fame) if we could pop round to the offices, with white roses in our arms to say thank you. – and she agreed, graciously (the roses were a good opener, tis true).
and we talked for a while about everything that someone who has been in charge of the Film Forum since 1972 (just two years after its opening) might know and think and say and have done (and the People she has met – Quelle glamorous personages).
there’s something so engaging about spending time with someone who embraces history and knowledge and bravery and Ideas (the phrase cinema of ideas is most definitely Karen Cooper’s legacy here and Abroad) and the ability to curate and bring people and films together and to Travel the world from the usual suspects (how Nice that would be to say) like Berlin (she’s also been on film Juries in Italia – divine) to the newer Festivals in Asia (courtesy of a grant from those most generous people at the Robert Sterling Clark foundation – all the while looking for the new, the thought-provoking and the cinematic-marvel (and taking what was a tiny business to 4M-plus last year – yes, in dollars – and yes, a non-profit – impressive stuff – and she is.)
being a non-profit with generous donors, individual gifts and not tied to Corporations and their strange requirements means that, as Karen puts it:
we can take risks.
which is terribly important. and glorious, of course.
as well as first-run/Premieres there’s also a strong Repertory track at Film Forum – curated by Bruce Goldstein – so it’s Bruce we need to thank for this week of cold-wintry-weather-pleasures at the cinema like a man and a woman (isn’t Anouk Aimee transcendent on-screen? like an early 60s double page spread in Life magazine – all muted colo(u)rs and soft fringe/bangs hanging over exquisite yet doe-like eyes – will he show up at the train station? will he? watch it…….you never quite know – even if you’ve seen it lots of times…..the mark of a good storyline and a fine director).
we asked Karen what she would program(me) for a snowy afternoon and she smiled (in a very former-dance*-student-spare-of-movement way) and said she would not like a triple bill but one fine documentary – perhaps Sans Soleil (which Karen premiered at Film Forum) or “something with real drama and ideas like Sweet Smell of Success” – ah yes, the darker side of Tony Curtis.
and then I’d like to curl up with a good book.
which is such a fine answer too.
Just before we got up to go, Karen kindly gave us a Sneak Preview of the next programming schedule and we poured over the documentaries and premieres and repertory, making mental notes of What we Might See Next.
and then we paused.
because we won’t be here then.
deep sigh (despite excitement at impending move).
maybe we’ll be back for a Director’s screening (ahem) at some point.
you. never. know.
*when Karen told us about her early days in dance – before she became a film writer and then took over the Film Forum – she said, yes, ballet but then “also Graham Technique” – she said it so casually but we wanted to squeal – MARTHA?! and do the out-flung-arm-gesture which would have been so weird to do then but we knew You would understand.