The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, October 21-27

Courtesy of Zipporah Films

Model (1980)
Directed by Frederick Wiseman
This mid-period standout by the veteran vérité filmmaker brought to the field of fashion and design the same curiosity and critical eye which so exactingly excavated such earlier, sociologically significant environments as basic training camps, welfare offices, and psychiatric wards. Locating a symbiotic method of craft and visual conception in the work of affluent media and advertising artisans, Wiseman is able, with nary a deviation from his observational methodology, to construct both a consumerist exposé and a working allegory for the cinematic process itself. Capturing the day-to-day bustle of photo shoots, dress rehearsals, and runway campaigns, the film nimbly yet thoroughly notes the behind-the-scene efforts of those who work to turn blank subjects into glamorous enigmas. And like many of the director’s New York chronicles, Model holds an equally detailed peripheral interest, documenting Ed Koch’s Manhattan as it transitioned from the post-punk squalor of the late 70s to the new-wave facade of the impending 80s. Jordan Cronk (October 24, 3pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s “Frederick Wiseman’s New York”)

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