For years, film programmer Elliot Lavine has presented screenings at Cinema 21. This summer, he’s back for “Seven From the Seventies,” a series of films from what many consider cinema’s finest decade ( although 1999, the year of Matrix, American Beauty, Fight Club and three kings, still seems to be the consensus choice for best individual year for movies).
Seven From the Seventies, taking place Saturdays at 11 a.m. in July and August, runs the gamut from film noir to sci-fi to coming-of-age sagas (and features directors as different as George Lucas and Hal Ashby). Below is a guide to help you sort it all out, starting with the groundbreaking 1977 sci-fi film that had no star wars in the title.
Dating of the Third Kind (1977)
Steven Spielberg brings an eerie wonder to this saga of a wayward father (Richard Dreyfuss) who believes he’s about to make first contact with an alien species. As AND The Extra-Terrestrial, the film deftly contrasts bland suburbia with an inviting emptiness, but the ending remains a bit of a puzzle; it’s like Interstellarbut if Christopher Nolan didn’t care about Matthew McConaughey’s kids (and didn’t want you to either). 11 a.m. Saturday, July 16.
moon paper (1973)
One of the best road movies of all time. Late Peter Bogdanovich (The latest picture show, What’s Up Doc?) directs Ryan O’Neal as Depression-era con man Moses Pray, who finds an unlikely ally in 9-year-old Addie Loggins (Oscar winner Tatum O’Neal, Ryan’s real-life daughter) . The screenplay is by the late Alvin Sargent, who later wrote the screenplay by Robert Redford ordinary people and that of Sam Raimi Spiderman 2 (also known as the Best. Superhero. Movie. Ever!). 11 a.m. Saturday, July 23.
Harold and Maud (1972)
In his heyday, hirsute auteur Hal Ashby unleashed many iconic movies, including Go home, The last detail and Shampoo. But Harold and Maud, which stars Bud Cort as a young man who begins a friendship (and later a romantic relationship) with 79-year-old Maude (Ruth Gordon), remains one of Ashby’s best-loved works. 11 a.m. Saturday July 30.
Does Terrence Malick make films about God? Or is he God? Is there even a difference? Whatever the answer, Badlands remains one of the most impressive directorial debuts in the history of cinema. Loosely based on a real kill, the film stars Martin Sheen as murderous Kit, who finds an oddly loose accomplice in Holly (Sissy Spacek). Like all of Malick’s films, Badlands has the quality of an elusive dream, but it’s actually quite simple compared to his recent movies (especially To the Wonder, Knight of Cups and song to songhis amazing and underrated trilogy of contemporary novels). 11 a.m. Saturday, August 6.
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1972)
Considered one of the greatest westerns of all time (although director Robert Altman preferred to call it “anti-western”), McCabe and Mrs. Miller stars Warren Beatty as John McCabe, a gambler who opens a brothel in a town called Presbyterian Church (!). Julie Christie plays her Cockney business partner Constance Miller; the cast also includes the late René Auberjonois, who would go on to play soul-shaper Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. 11 a.m. Saturday, August 13.
Chinese district (1974)
Roman Polanski may be a rapist, but it’s still socially acceptable to rave about his movies. Unlike Woody Allen, his screen presence is limited. it makes it too easy to look at his work without thinking about him. A classic film noir like Chinese district (which stars Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway) demands to be seen on the big screen, but there’s still an account to be had of Polanski’s place in film history, even if there’s no denying his artistic gifts. . 11 a.m. Saturday, August 20.
american graffiti (1973)
In George Lucas’ marvelous second feature, nothing and everything happens. It’s 1962 and the setting is a cloistered California town, where high school buddies Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve (Ron Howard) are each thrown into an existential crisis as they prepare to leave for college. Few films are as vivid as this one; it throbs with wit and nostalgia, all squeezed into a single frenetic night. The final moments (which bear witness to the tragedies that await the characters and America itself in the years to come) remain hauntingly poignant. 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 27.