The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 12-18

nyc repertory cinema-himom-deniro

Hi, Mom! (1970)
Directed by Brian De Palma
Throughout his career, De Palma has made a career defined by pairing complete technical confidence with provocative, often intensely problematic subject matter. While the Hitchcockian, relentlessly stylized works of his mid-to-late career draw more attention, there is much to ponder in his early films, and none of them have more to say as loudly as Hi, Mom! The first half plays like a light riff on Rear Window, with all of its peeping potential explored through Robert De Niro’s Vietnam veteran. However, the second half largely abandons him and leaps into political territory, as an ambitious play called Be Black, Baby is mounted where white audience members in blackface are terrorized by black actors in whiteface. This shockingly realistic and nerve-racking sequence (shot in faux-vérité black and white) is immensely troubling, and De Palma’s depiction of this and the succeeding acts of “real” violence is perhaps too uncomplicated to function. But the anger and genuine sense of subversion remains, and that is what matters. Ryan Swen (April 13, 15, 2pm at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s series for their 2017 gala tribute recipient Robert De Niro)

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