The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, May 11-17

nyc repertory cinema

The Neon Bible (1995)
Directed by Terence Davies
A dour-faced boy in a railroad car, sitting alone below a luminous moon, is the repeated stanza in Davies’s hallucinatory poem of a film; it’s an elliptical Edward Hopper painting of a fragile, dysfunctional 1940s family in the Southern United States. As in Davies’s Distant Voices, Still Lives, the focus remains on the working class, but this time on an abusive father (Denis Leary), a hysterical mother (Diana Scarwid), a chanteuse aunt (Gena Rowlands, doing her best Peggy Lee), and a young man named David (Jacob Tierney), lonely and friendless, with nothing to rely on but his aunt and bespangled skies. Based on John Kennedy Toole’s novel, the film serves as a transitional work for Davies; it’s a dreamscape of misfortune and emotional turmoil that prepared the director for The House of Mirth and The Deep Blue Sea. Rowlands’s orchestrated, silky performance is the standout as a woman in limbo with her career that finds solace in protecting her young, lonesome nephew from the horrors and realities of his parents, and the world. Samantha Vacca (May 14, 2:30pm; May 15, 4:45pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s Davies retrospective)

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