When it comes to the enormous trough of cinema offered by New York City on a daily basis, a cinephile’s eyes are often bigger than his or her stomach (or schedule). Not that he or she won’t try to fit it all in.
Film Forum has no single, ambitious series on tap. But there’s plenty of one-offs, including the unexpectedly triumphant return of “Heaven’s Gate” (March 22-28), the Michael Cimino monster that once destroyed United Artists, now reclaimed as a broken almost-masterpiece. FF will also screen Roberto Rossellini’s oddly hard-to-find “Voyage to Italy” (May 1-9) and do a redux of last fall’s retro on French comic filmmaker Pierre Etaix (April 26-30), which was interrupted by Hurricane Sandy.
The IFC Center continues its John Ford retro through April 14 and, in honor of the release of “Room 237,” a doc on obsessives who obsess over “The Shining,” will launch a near-complete run-through of Stanley Kubrick’s CV (March 20-28). From March 22 through 30, Anthology Film Archives returns to its “Expressive Esoterica” series on American films beloved by the late film critic pioneer Andrew Sarris. It also turns to kung fu (April 19-21) and films set in medieval times (April 11-17 and May 24-30), like Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Andrei Rublev,” Robert Bresson’s “The Trial of Joan of Arc” and Frantisek Vlacil’s incredible 1967 Czech epic “Marketa Lazarova.”
92Y Tribeca turns to Curtis Harrington (March 29-31), the under-known American exploitation and proto-New Queer Cinema filmmaker who gave Dennis Hopper his first starring role (1961’s “Night Tide”) and had a way with amusing titles (“Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?,” with Shelley Winters as a demented widow).
Uptown, the Museum of Modern Art has a series on films from Germany’s Weimar Period (April 3-May 6), the era from 1920 leading to the rise of the Nazi Party. Once again, it will be unleashing “New Directors/New Films,” which this year slightly bends the rules to include “Upstream Color,” Shane Carruth’s follow-up to the time travel mind-melter “Primer.” As always, the series is co-hosted with the Film Society at Lincoln Center, also home to the New York African Film Festival (April 3-9), which mixes obscurities in with films by legends Ousmane Sembene and Abderrahmane Sissako.
In Brooklyn, the BAMCinematek will be busy with retros for retired animator Hayao Miyazaki (April 5-14 — see picture) and the ’70s films of William Friedkin (April 2-7), as well as our favorite program idea in awhile: films booed at Cannes (May 8-23), among them “Gertrud,” “The Mother and the Whore,” “Tropical Malady” and Federico Fellini’s incredibly rare 1990 swan song “The Voice in the Moon.” The Spectacle, Williamsburg’s tiny but dedicated “micro-cinema,” meanwhile, continues its slate of obscurities screened on video, including genre items and rarities from Herschell Gordon-Lewis, Seijun Suzuki, even “The Bear”’s Jean-Jacques Annaud.