See Brooklyn, Over the Ages, on the Big Screen


If you’re like me (i.e. you didn’t grow up in New York), your early impression of the city was formed, in large part, by the movies. Films as far afield in tone and time as King Kong (1933), Manhattan (1979), Ghostbusters (1985), and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) all formed that New York of the imagination, for me.

Well, check that–they all formed a Manhattan of the imagination. For all the (rightful) cinephilia the Big Apple receives, its less-glittering counterpart across the East River is no less represented on film. Would the chase sequence in The French Connection (1971) have been half as thrilling if it hadn’t taken place underneath the elevated tracks in south Brooklyn? Was a simmering (in every connotation) neighborhood ever as vividly portrayed as Bed-Stuy was in Do the Right Thing (1989)?

To celebrate all the various cool ways Brooklyn has been used as a setting in film, the Brooklyn Public Library has organized a film series aptly titled Brooklyn In Film, starting next Wednesday and running through the first week in May. The movies range from mainstream blockbusters to microbudgeted indies, each one depicting another facet of Brooklyn. They’ll be shown at the Dweck Center in the library’s main campus, at Grand Army Plaza. First up is Hal Ashby’s 1970 directorial debut, The Landlord, starring Beau Bridges as a well-to-do white man who uses his parents’ wealth to buy an inner-city tenement, unaware that the tenants are low-income residents. It’s a comedy! After flopping commercially, the movie slowly became a cult classic, although not to the extent of Ashby’s next film: Harold and Maude.

Here’s the rest of the lineup for Brooklyn In Film. Each screening begins at 6:30, and is free:

April 2: Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
April 9: Saturday Night Fever (1977)
April 16: She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
April 23: The Squid and the Whale (2005)
April 30: Quiet City (2007)
May 7: Two Lovers (2008)

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