The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, November 25-December 1

William Cameron Menzies’ THINGS TO COME (1936). Courtesy Film Forum. Playing November 27/28, December 10
Courtesy of Film Forum.

Things to Come (1936)
Directed by William Cameron Menzies
Hugely ambitious and boldly farsighted, Things to Come coolly charts the fall (war, plague, tribalism) and rebirth (rationality, a Space Gun) of one “Everytown” into an utopian, all-conquering World State, a vision of progress that perhaps only H.G. Wells, its screenwriter, could cheer. As futurist exhortations go, it is remarkably unpersuasive, starting eerily in 1940 with a world war that opens the door to a Neo-Dark Age and then, decades later, a gleaming, techno-tyrannical society, circa 2036. All the while, it looks fantastic, brimming with amazing sets, memorable design, and nearly every sort of trick shot. Helmed by great Hollywood art director Menzies and bankrolled by super-producer Alexander Korda, Things to Come is visionary and audacious, the present (now past) making the case that it’s as interesting as the future it so astoundingly envisions. Jeremy Polacek (November 27, 12:30pm, 2:30pm, 4:30pm, 9:50pm; November 28, 12:30pm, 8:15pm, 10:15pm; December 10, 9:45pm at Film Forum’s Menzies series)

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