The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, February 8-14

repertory cinema-OneWayorAnother.FanniesFilm

Killing Time (1979) and Fannie’s Film (1979)
Directed by Fronza Woods
Quiet blasts from a late-heard past, Woods’s short films swell with knowing generosity and subtext, looking like two films from an alternative reality that cinema and history are still not fully opened up to. It’s a backwards, split world where Richard Brody can call Killing Timevery simply, one of the best short films that I’ve ever seen” and its black female filmmaking pioneer does not have a Wikipedia entry, let alone much of any web presence. Wryly layering its 30-something character’s outward desire to commit suicide over her shifting, inner voice (full of song and mundane musings) and her external concerns of how she and her death should look, Killing Time is an offbeat and still sage recognition of what can keep us going. A short documentary, Fannie’s Film (subtitled “Invisible Women: Part 1”) similarly divides the voice from the body, this time that of a 65-year-old black woman who cleans up at a gym in New York City. Her recollections and desires hover over shots of her work and of the gym’s all-white clientele working out, with Fannie very much present and unseen, but more than anything unheard. Letting her speak, Woods modestly, radically puts Fannie’s voice forward, and we see a woman who tells us what she is—happy, whole, and self-possessed. Jeremy Polacek (February 13, 7pm at BAM’s “One Way or Another: Black Women’s Cinema 1970-1991”)

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