by Alex Greenberger
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic “Vertigo” was recently voted by British magazine Sight & Sound as the best film of all time. But perhaps the only way to truly enjoy “Vertigo” is to see it on the big screen at Film Forum. Film Forum is the most unique and exhilarating movie theater in Manhattan, and “Vertigo” is just one of many iconic films that the theater regularly screens.
The tiny theater on West Houston between 6th and 7th Avenues has become a mecca for film geeks and casual moviegoers alike. Its ability to show customers something they haven’t seen, regardless of how many times they have seen the movie they bought a ticket for, is what gives the theater such remarkable appeal. Film Forum is a blessing in the form of a cinema because it offers everyone the chance to see some of the greatest films ever made in the way their filmmakers had meant for them to be seen.
Film Forum shows new releases and past masterpieces simultaneously. For example, just prior to the release of the “Total Recall” remake, Film Forum screened the 1990 original. But as for new movies, don’t expect to find “The Dark Knight Rises” playing.
Their new releases are typically small, but heavily buzzed about indie films that are just as good as any of the classics that they regularly screen. The month of September brings So Yong Kim’s “For Ellen,” starring “Little Miss Sunshine’s” Paul Dano. Future months promise French filmmaker Leos Carax’s “Holy Motors” and Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or-winning “Amour.”
Despite the wonderful new films that come through Film Forum, the repertory is far more expansive and typically far more impressive. September’s centerpiece is “The French Old Wave,” a series that examines French cinema prior to the New Wave in the 1960s. Films of note include Jean Renoir’s “The Rules of the Game” and René Clair’s “À Nous La Liberté.” A double feature (for the price of one) of “Eyes Without a Face” and “Diabolique” seems particularly promising. Also in September is a Harold Lloyd showcase that will include a screening of the 1923 comedy “Safety Last.”
However, do not be turned off by the theater’s small size and average demeanor. It doesn’t have the flashiness of the big-chain theaters, or even the stylishness of the Angelika Film Center, but it does have an audience that is anything but typical. The audience tends to be skewed toward an older, more mature audience that is more respectful of the film on the screen.
But regardless of demographic, Film Forum offers a new, individual journey for those who love film, and those who are less acquainted with the medium are offered the chance to learn in a spectacular environment.
Alex Greenberger is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.