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MoMA Presents Five Features Including Isaac Julien's Derek
Director Derek Jarman (right) on the set of his film Jubilee (1977). Courtesy: Photofest

NEW YORK.- The Museum of Modern Art continues its initiative of weeklong runs of new and newly rediscovered features with five films during May and June. These five titles—three fiction works, a documentary, and one hybrid—give MoMA audiences an extended opportunity to catch significant works.
Isaac Julien’s Derek (2007), a documentary written and narrated by and featuring Jarman’s muse, Tilda Swinton, on the influential avant-garde filmmaker Derek Jarman, is given its New York premiere June 9 through 16, with the director introducing the film on June 9. Derek is a recent acquisition by the Museum through the Fund for the Twenty-First Century.

Acclaimed directors Marco Bellocchio, Pere Portabella, and Milos Forman return to MoMA with new, recent, and classic films. Bellocchio’s dreamlike comedy/drama The Wedding Director (2007) is set during the filming of a royal wedding in an “imaginary” Sicily; Portabella’s hybrid fiction/documentary Warsaw Bridge (2000) takes as its starting point the discovery of a scuba diver’s body in a burned-out forest; while Forman’s counter-culture Taking Off (1971), a darkly humorous satire on middle-class mores and vices, was his first U.S. feature and primed his audiences for the iconoclastic films that have become his hallmark.
Malaysian director Yasmin Ahmad’s Mukhsin (2006), screened as part of the monthly ContemporAsian program, is the third film in her Orked Trilogy, a tender tale loosely based on her own experiences as an adolescent growing into womanhood.

ContemporAsian May 28-June 2
Asian cinema is fast becoming a cinema without borders. Digital filmmaking and international coproductions are rapidly transforming an industry in which the transnational flow of talent and resources—even between the U.S. and Asia—has become the norm. In a new monthly exhibition, ContemporAsian, MoMA showcases films that get little exposure, but which engage the various styles, histories, and changes in Asian cinema. Presented in special weeklong engagements, the films in the series include both recent independent gems and little-seen classics. ContemporAsian gives audiences the rare chance to enjoy these undistributed films on the big screen and experience the diversity and richness of Asian cinema in all its many forms. Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film, and William Phuan, Program Manager, Asian CineVision, with additional support from Asian CineVision.

Mukhsin. 2006. Malaysia. Directed and cowritten by Yasmin Ahmad. With Sharifah Aryana Syed Zainal Rashid, Mohd. Syafie bin Naswip.

Termed the Godmother of the new Malaysian digital cinema, Ahmad’s films all draw from experiences close to her own life. Her Orked trilogy is set in the world of today’s most culturally diverse societies—providing ample opportunity for conflicts of color and creed, prejudice and taboo. Mukhsin, the third film in the trilogy (but the first in the story's chronology), portrays the filmmaker’s alter ego, Orked, and her best friend, a boy named Mukhsin, as they enter adolescence and their relationship changes character. Portrayed with deep humanism and a liberating sense of humor, Mukhsin completes the trilogy’s multidimensional portrait of a woman from childhood to adolescence to marriage. In Malay; English subtitles. 94 min.

Wednesday, May 28, 6:00
Thursday, May 29, 8:30
Friday, May 30, 8:00
Saturday, May 31, 7:30
Sunday, June 1, 2:00
Monday, June 2, 6:00
MoMA Presents: The Wedding Director June 4–9

Marco Bellocchio, who has engaged international audiences with such deeply felt films as Fists in the Pocket (1965), China Is Near (1967), Leap into the Void (1980), and Devil in the Flesh (1986), not to mention the recent festival-circuit successes My Mother’s Smile (2002) and Good Morning Night (2004), returns to MoMA with a run of his recent film The Wedding Director. This dreamlike comedy/drama is set in an “imaginary” Sicily, in which a film director, coaxed into filming a royal wedding, falls in love with the bride-to-be; her father, a local bigwig, is far from pleased. Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film.

Il registra di matrimoni (The Wedding Director). 2006. Italy. Written and directed by Marco Bellocchio.With Sergio Castellitto, Donatella Finocchiaro, Sami Frey. Courtesy New Yorker Films. In Italian; English subtitles. 100 min.

Wednesday, June 4, 6:15
Thursday, June 5, 8:00
Friday, June 6, 8:30
Saturday, June 7, 2:45
Sunday, June 8, 4:00
Monday, June 9, 8:00

MoMA Presents: Derek June 9–16
British filmmaker and media artist Isaac Julien collaborated with the Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton to create this collage-like biography of the late Derek Jarman, a maverick film artist whose short films were among the first to be shown in London art galleries. Jarman’s wholly original feature films (often starring Swinton) reimagined narrative while helping to establish a canon for Queer Cinema. Using rare interviews with the artist, archival films and photographs, excerpts from Jarman's films (many of which are rarely seen), and new footage scripted by Swinton, Julien provides a spirited view into the mind of an ever-surprising and adventurous artist. Its MoMA run commences its nationwide release by The Film Sales Company; in late summer Kino releases Derek on DVD. Organized by Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, and Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film.

Derek. 2008. Great Britain. Directed by Isaac Julien. Screenplay and narration by Tilda Swinton. Funded in part by a grant from The Museum of Modern Art’s Fund for the Twenty-First Century. 78 min.

Monday, June 9, 7:00 [New York premiere, introduced by director]
Wednesday, June 11, 6:30 and 8:15
Thursday, June 12, 6:30 and 8:15
Friday, June 13, 4:30
Saturday, June 14, 4:30, 6:30, and 8:15
Sunday, June 15, 4:30
Monday, June 16, 8:30

MoMA Presents: Warsaw Bridge June 13–19
The New York premiere of Warsaw Bridge was a highlight of MoMA’s September 2007 retrospective of the Catalan filmmaker Pere Portabella. Portabella began the film after reading a curious newspaper item: “The body of a scuba diver was found in a burnt forest.” Taking this wonderfully strange headline as a point of departure, the director crafted a wondrous feature full of romance, music, theater, dramatic settings, fluid camera movements, and gorgeous nonsense. Somehow, quite magically, it all comes together, and a story of betrayal—sort of—emerges. Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film.

Pont de Varsòvia (Warsaw Bridge). 1990. Spain. Directed by Pere Portabella. Screenplay by Portabella, Carles Santos. With Carmen Elías, Francisco Guijar. In Spanish, Catalan; English subtitles. 85 min.

Friday, June 13, 8:15
Saturday, June 14, 2:15
Sunday, June 15, 2:00
Monday, June 16, 6:30
Wednesday, June 18, 5:00
Thursday, June 19, 8:15

MoMA Presents: Taking Off June 18–23
In this dark, affectionate, and seldom-screened satire, screened last February as part of MoMA’s Milos Forman retrospective a husband and wife embark on a wild-goose chase after their runaway daughter and wind up experimenting with the lifestyle of youth counterculture. In his first film after migrating to the U.S. in the wake of the Soviet crackdown, Forman offers a fresh, idiosyncratic perspective on his adopted country. Ike and Tina Turner contribute an electrifying performance. Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film.

Taking Off. 1971. USA. Directed by Milos Forman. Screenplay by Forman, Jean-Claude Carrière, John Guare, Jon Klein. With Lynn Carlin, Buck Henry. 93 min.

SCREENING Wednesday, June 18, 7:00
Thursday, June 19, 6:00
Friday, June 20, 8:30
Saturday, June 21, 5:00
Sunday, June 22, 4:00
Monday, June 23, 8:00

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MoMA Presents Five Features Including Isaac Julien's Derek

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