An Autumn on the Edge

Nathaniel Dorsky’s Terce (2021)

As Phil Coldiron has pointed out in the Notebook, Nathaniel Dorsky is widely regarded as “America’s most revered living artist filmmaker.” Over the past two years, Dorsky has made eight films ranging in length from ten to eighteen minutes. Six of them will be presented—on 16 mm, of course—at the Museum of Modern Art in New York tomorrow evening as a program of world and North American premieres that will open To the Lighthouse, a series that Mark McElhatten has put together as part of MoMA’s long-running Carte Blanche series.

McElhatten, who has been making and programming films since the mid-1970s, was a founder and curator of Views from the Avant-Garde at the New York Film Festival from 1997 to 2013, and since 1998, he has been working as an archivist for Martin Scorsese. Through November 16, he will present new work by Ernie Gehr and Eve Heller, rare screenings of films by Joseph Cornell and Jacques Rivette, and dozens of other works that make for an intentionally nonthematic selection that ranges from Buster Keaton to Claire Denis. These films are “songs of experience holding surprises,” he says, “revealing their essence and versatility in context, not limited to carrying a particular weight of explanation. Unexplained but not inexplicable.”

Another NYFF veteran, Richard Peña, the director of the festival from 1988 to 2012, has been teaming up for the past five years with critic, curator, and Icarus Films Vice President Livia Bloom Ingram to put together a program of “films from and of the margins of U.S. cinema” for the Cinémathèque française. The fifth edition of American Fringe—eleven features, including recent work by Brett Story and Jessica Bruder, Merawi Gerima, and Lynne Sachs—will run in Paris from November 12 through 14.

Film at Lincoln Center, which presents the NYFF, unveiled the lineup yesterday for the eighth edition of Art of the Real, the annual showcase of innovative nonfiction and hybrid filmmaking. Curators Laura Huertas Millán and Rachael Rakes have selected one feature and forty-one short films for a program with a theme: “Counter Encounters is a cinephilic letter to ethnography, one of rupture and reignition, inviting consideration by everyone interested in building visual cultures of mutual recognition.” This year’s edition will run from November 19 through 21, and the lineup is an intriguing mix. While most of these films are relatively new works, a good number of them were made in the 1970s and ’80s.

Finally for now, and for those who won’t be able to make it to New York or Paris in the coming days and weeks, Ecstatic Static is presenting a seasonally appropriate program, Horror of the Rented World. Through November 5, seven short films—including work by Peggy Ahwesh, Peter Tscherkassky, Ben Rivers, and Deborah Stratman—will be freely available online.

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