Rooftop Films in Brooklyn this Week

Thursday, July 31

APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR (Desiree Akhavan | 82 min.)

8:00 PM Doors open
8:30 PM Live music by Glockabelle
9:00 PM Film begins
10:30 PM Q and A with filmmaker/lead actress Desiree Akhavan
11:30 PM After party at Bar Matchless, sponsored by New Amsterdam Spirits

Venue: Greenpoint High School for Engineering and Automotive Technology, 50 Bedford Avenue at N. 13th Street (L to Bedford Ave. or G to Nassau Ave.)

We first encounter Shirin--the inappropriate, young, bi-sexual Iranian-American protagonist of Appropriate Behavior--casually walking down a Brooklyn street with a strap-on dildo dangling from her hand. When her first real girlfriend and love, Maxine, breaks up with her, Shirin is forced to candidly reevaluate her entire life, navigate her feelings of abandonment, communicate to her loving yet traditional Persian parents that she likes girls too, and deal with the fact that her brother is marrying a perfect parentally-approved Iranian prize catch.

Her response is to move to Bushwick, rack up a few lovelorn encounters via online dating, attempt a ménage à trois, and continue to avoid coming out to her family. She is caught between identities: modernity vs. tradition, ambition vs. practicality, straight vs. gay, and hope vs. cynicism. Shirin’s management of these human problems in a first-world setting could have made her a difficult character to like, but Akhavan’s subtle performance and sharp writing make her incredibly relatable and undeniably watchable. From the opening scene, Shirin establishes herself as a capable, funny, intelligent, and beautiful woman who could care less about those traits in the face of personal heartache.

Akhavan is perhaps best known as the co-creator and star of the cult web-series The Slope, about “superficial, homophobic lesbians” living in Brooklyn’s Park Slope Neighborhood. With Appropriate Behavior, she expands her unique brand by mining the minutiae of Brooklyn’s cultural world and the characters that inhabit them for incisive, humorous results. Akhavan crafts another portrait of a modern woman stumbling through life's complexities and coming out on the other side bruised, but better and stronger for it. Appropriate Behavior is remarkably assured feature film debut, and Akhavan’s wit, comic timing, and thoughtful honesty leap off the screen from the opening frame through to the end.

Preceeded by the short film CATHERINE (Dean Fleischer-Camp | 13 min.). Catherine returns to work after a hiatus. Starring Jenny Slate as the titular character.

More here.

Friday, August 1


8:00 PM Doors open
8:30 PM Live music
9:00 PM Film begins
10:30 PM After party in the Courtyard sponsored by New Amsterdam Gin and Vodka

Venue: Industry City: 220 36th Street, Sunset Park (D, N, R trains to 36th Street)

THE TRIP TO ITALY (Michael Winterbottom | 115 min.)

Discussing the finer points of cannibalism on a European food tour may initially seem to be in bad taste, but once again comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s predilection for playing before their food makes everything go down fun and easy. Director Michael Winterbottom’s largely improvised 2010 film, The Trip, took the two—or semifictionalized versions thereof—on a restaurant tour around northern England. In this witty and incisive follow-up, Winterbottom reunites the pair for a new culinary road trip, retracing the steps of the Romantic poets’ grand tour of Italy and indulging in some sparkling banter and impersonation-offs. Re-whetting our palates from the earlier film, the characters enjoy mouthwatering meals in gorgeous settings from Liguria to Capri while riffing on subjects as varied as Batman’s vocal register, the artistic merits of “Jagged Little Pill,” and, of course, the virtue of sequels.

Winterbottom trains his camera to capture the idyllic Italian landscape and the gastronomic treasures being prepared and consumed while keeping the film centered on the crackling chemistry between the two leads. The Trip to Italy effortlessly melds the brilliant comic interplay between Coogan and Brydon into quieter moments of self-reflection, letting audiences into their insightful ruminations on the nuances of friendship and the juggling of family and career. The result is a biting portrait of modern-day masculinity.

The inspired array of foodie porn set against beautiful Italian backgrounds is perfect fodder for the unbeatable double act of Coogan and Brydon. Whoever said sequels aren’t as good as the original obviously hasn’t seen The Trip To Italy, because afterwards you’ll want thirds and forths.

More here.

Saturday, August 2


8:00 PM Doors Open
8:30 PM Live Music
9:00 PM Film Begins
11:00 PM Q and A with filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour
11:30 PM After Party

Venue: Industry City: 220 36th Street, Sunset Park (D, N, R trains to 36th Street)

A special sneak preview, presented by Rooftop Films and indieWIRE as part of our joint birthday party celebration.

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (Lily Amirpour | 107 min.)

For centuries, vampires have provided handy metaphors for social and physical dilemma, but in the stylishly muted deadpan romance A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the threat is personal. Writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour's stunning debut follows the experiences of a small Iranian town haunted by a vampiric presence who's just as lonely as the other locals. Shot in gorgeously expressionistic black-and-white and fusing multiple genres into a thoroughly original whole, Amirpour has crafted a beguiling, cryptic and often surprisingly funny look at personal and cultural desires that creeps up on you with the nimble powers of its supernatural focus. The director combines elements of film noir and the restraint of Iranian New Wave cinema with the subdued depictions of a bored youth culture found in early Jim Jarmusch…the comparisons go on and on, but the result is wholly original.

Set in the fictional Iranian ghost town tellingly labeled Bad City — but actually shot in California —A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night initially focuses on the downtrodden plight of Arash (Arash Marandi), a hip young man who wanders the empty streets accompanied by his husky cat. Coping with the destructive junkie habits of his bumbling father (Marshall Manesh) and staving off the oppression of local crime lord Saeed (Dominic Rains), Arash struggles to take control of his life.

Meanwhile, Amirpour fleshes out the somber life of a mysterious vampire woman haunting the streets, a doe-faced goth whose style is both traditional and sneakily hip. Though her origins remain obscured, as she trails various locals late at night, she quickly turns into the face of repression burdening all of them. But once she forms a curiously moving romance with Arash, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night truly moves beyond its elegant form and develops an emotional core. Arash pops in a cassette tape or cues up a record, while classic blues and contemporary indie rock infuse their quiet exchanges with poignancy. As lyrics and melodies inform their otherwise gloomy exchanges the film is practically a musical, run through the filter of a European arthouse aesthetic.

More here.

P.S. The re-scheduled screening of "When Harry Met Sally" is tonight on the beach at Coney Island.

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