The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, February 22-28

nyc repertory cinema-night games Night Games (1966)
Directed by Mai Zetterling

Considered so controversial that it had to be shown to the 1966 Venice Film Festival jury in private, Night Games still packs an abrasive edge fifty years later, replete with madcap orgies, credible vomiting, and a celebratory stillbirth. Jan (Keve Hjelm) escorts his blindfolded fiancée (Moica Zetterlund) to the mansion of his childhood, uncorking a series of flashbacks ruled by his narcissistic mother (played by the crassly seductive Ingrid Thulin), and the elegant prurient domain she dominates. As a youth, Jan (Bergman child star Jorgen Lindstrom) struggles with the oscillating reception of his mother—at one point she strips him from a servant to towel-dry his naked body in bed, leading to a masturbatory cataclysm; at another, while leisurely reading, she repudiates him even after he’s adorned himself with her powder and rouge, a desperate attempt for affection. He finds respite in his bat-shit crazy great aunt (Naima Wifstrand), engaging in activities such as decapitating ghoulishly painted eggs, or building a paper model of Paris only to set it on fire. Meanwhile, adult Jan is clearly still haunted, noted by masochistic games with his fiancée, now a doppelganger of his mother. The last-ditch attempt at salvation: a Buñuelian party to conclude with literally blowing the roof off the mansion. Samuel T. Adams (February 23, 10pm at the Spectacle’s Zetterling series)