Free films, few female filmmakers at Lincoln Center this summer

Free films, few female filmmakers at Lincoln Center this summer

In honor of their 50th anniversary, Film at Lincoln Center has programmed a whole summer of free and discounted films. Their 50th Mixtape series, full of free double features, started on June 27 with showings of Agnes Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7 and Jane Campion’s The Portrait of a Lady. The series runs every Thursday, not including July 4, until September 11. Every showing is at the Walter Reade Theater; tickets are available one hour before the first showing.

The opening night was a wonderful celebration and a great start to the series. Eugene Hernandez, the Deputy Director of Film at Lincoln Center and a co-publisher of Film Comment, introduced both films, giving background information on each filmmaker. Hernandez noted that Varda had passed this year, mentioning her importance to Lincoln Center and New York Film Festival. Before Campion’s film, he noted that she is one of five women to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar and the only woman to win the Palme d’Or, both for The Piano in 1993.

The audiences were fairly young and had a good balance of women and men. Before each showing, Hernandez asked how many people were new to each filmmaker’s work and the specific film itself; about half of each audience was new to the film. To kick off the first double feature in the series, a reception between screenings took place, complete with Two Chicks cocktails, ice pops, a photo booth, a special playlist, and places to play Cinephile: A Card Game. 

Despite the lovely first evening, this screening is overshadowed by the series’ general lack of female filmmakers. With 11 showings and 22 films, there are only four female filmmakers represented: Varda, Campion, Claire Denis and Alice Rohrwacher. The audience award could raise the total number of films directed by women to five, but it would include either another Varda or Denis film, not raising the total number of female filmmakers. The series is more diverse in other ways: it has 13 international films, five non-European, and has six filmmakers of color. However, it could still use more female filmmakers, and more lesser-known films and filmmakers.

It’s especially worth supporting these films by women and showing that more women should be included. Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro (2018) screens on July 25 at 9:30 pm, after Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard. Claire Denis’s High Life (2018) screens on August 1 at 9:15 pm, after Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker.

Other series’ screening this summer at Film at Lincoln Center include Free Outdoor Films on Governors Island (June 14, July 12, and August 9), This is Cinema Now: 21st Century Debuts (July 19-31), and Another Country: Outsider Visions of America (August 2-14). This is Cinema Now includes 10 female filmmakers out of 30 films. Another Country includes 9 feature films directed or co-directed by a woman out of 23 total features, as well as seven short films directed by a woman out of 14 total shorts. Unfortunately, of the three films on Governors Island, none are directed by women.

© Katharine Cutler (7/30/19) FF2 Media

Featured Photo: Film at Lincoln Center's 50th Mixtape Series, Credit to Film at Lincoln Center

Photo Credits: Stills from Cleo from 5 to 7 directed by Agnes Varda and The Portrait of a Lady directed by Jane Campion

One Response
  1. […] a free series by Film at Lincoln Center. You can read more about the series and my thoughts here. I recommend these screenings if you’re in New York because they are free!! Their Escape from […]

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