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Film Series in NYC This Week


Leon Isaac Kennedy in Jamaa Fanaka’s “Penitentiary” (1979). See listing below.

Wizard Video/Photofest

Our guide to film series and special screenings. All our movie reviews are at nytimes.com/reviews/movies.

ART HOUSE THEATER DAY at Film Forum and IFC Center (Sept. 23 and 24). The Arthouse Convergence, an organization that promotes independent movie theaters, has chosen Sunday as the second annual Art House Theater Day — a day in which cinemas across the United States and Canada will offer special programming in a show of celebration. The New York City venues are IFC Center and Film Forum. Film Forum is jumping the gun by one day, but it will bring in Thelma Schoonmaker, Martin Scorsese’s longtime editor and the widow of the director Michael Powell, to introduce “A Matter of Life and Death” (1946) on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. In Mr. Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s great fantasy, an R.A.F. bomber pilot (David Niven) cheats death and then, having fallen in love with an American radio operator, must make the case for a reprieve from the heavens. On Sunday, IFC Center will screen the animated “Revolting Rhymes” (based on the Roald Dahl book); Frederick Wiseman’s landmark documentary “Titicut Follies”; and a coming Russian film, “The Road Movie,” culled from dashcam footage.
212-727-8110, filmforum.org
212-924-7771, ifccenter.com

JAMAA FANAKA: L.A. REBEL at BAM Rose Cinemas (Sept. 22-27). Mr. Fanaka is often cited as part of the L.A. Rebellion, a group of directors, including Charles Burnett and Billy Woodberry, who attended U.C.L.A. and shot films in Los Angeles’s underrepresented neighborhoods. But Mr. Fanaka’s work is known for eschewing the poetic realism associated with the movement in favor of genre work. The scholar Allyson Nadia Field credited his “Penitentiary” (Friday and Tuesday), a hit in 1979 that Mr. Fanaka made while he attended film school, as “the transition moment between blaxploitation and independent black filmmaking.” Leon Isaac Kennedy plays a man imprisoned for being in the wrong place at the wrong time who is given a chance to earn parole in a prison boxing tournament sanctioned by a corrupt lieutenant. The violence and the social critique are protracted and brutal. The film’s two sequels will also screen.
718-636-4100, bam.org

THE POWER OF THE POWERLESS: FIVE BANNED FILMS FROM THE CZECH NEW WAVE at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (through Sept. 24) In 2016, Bill de Blasio declared Sept. 28 Vaclav Havel Day in New York to honor the Czech writer and dissident who became president of Czechoslovakia (and later the Czech Republic). As a warm-up for the occasion, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is hosting this series of five films banned by the Communist government in Czechoslovakia after the Soviet-led invasion of 1968 squelched the reforms of the Prague Spring. The titles include “The Firemen’s Ball” (Saturday and Sunday), Milos Forman’s classic sendup of Communist bureaucracy, and Jiri Menzel’s “Larks on a String” (Sunday).
212-875-5601, filmlinc.org

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