From the best version of Brooklyn onscreen to the best web series that will soon be a TV show, here’s our favorite things happening right now in the world of Brooklyn TV and film.
Best TV Show for Catching Sight of Streets You Know Pretending to Be Streets That Are Definitely Not Supposed to Be in Brooklyn: The Americans
Look, we’re not going to pretend to be experts on what Washington DC looks like, but we do know the streets of Brooklyn when we see them, and we see them all the time in the DC-set TV show, The Americans. Look! There’s Brooklyn College! Look! There’s Court Street in Cobble Hill! Look! There’s Michelle Williams’s new house!
Best Cinematographer: Tie between Ashley Connor and Adam Ginsburg
So much of the drama in micro-indie cinema comes from putting actors together in close quarters and seeing what happens. Doing the seeing is often a technically adept, intuitive DP, whose camera lives in the moment on our behalf. For great examples of this, see Connor’s collaborations with Josephine Decker, or Ginsberg’s with Nathan Silver.
Best Husband-and-Wife “Goodbye to All That” Double Feature: Lawrence Michael Levine’s Wild Canaries and Sophia Takal’s Devil Town
In Lawrence Michael Levine’s G-line Manhattan Murder Mystery-riff Wild Canaries, he and real-life wife Takal play a couple strained by the pressures of making the rent and doing creative work. Takal also recently starred in Devil Town as an out-of-towner looking for a missing person in the big city, and falling in with a bad crowd (including Levine as a duplicitous love interest). The two now live in Los Angeles.
Best Disparity Between Upcoming Projects by a Brooklyn Writer-Director: Simultaneous Winnie-the-Pooh and Don DeLillo adaptations by Alex Ross Perry
Best Underground Film Venue: Tenant 416
A certain artist whose name is also a brand of beer gets rare reels and remastered editions for a lovingly curated film series that takes place in his studio. Dude knows his shit. Get in the know, but keep it on the down-low.
Best Rep Programming at a Venue Best-Known for Taxidermy Lessons: 16mm screenings at the Morbid Anatomy Museum
424A 3rd Avenue, Gowanus
Best Curators: Light Industry
“A significant part of our program is about retrieving things that have been lost in someway or downplayed,” co-founder Thomas Beard told us earlier this year; through their programming, he and Ed Halter advocate for world cinema curios, documentaries on and by the politically unfashionable, and the avant-garde (but like the obscure avant-garde). With guest presenters from critics to artists, the perspective is wider than any single sensibility.
155 Freeman Street, Greenpoint
Best Short: Swimming in Your Skin Again
This protean 23-minute work is the first we’ve heard from Bed-Stuy’s Terence Nance since his lauded lay-it-all-out-there 2013 debut An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, and it proves he’s as full of ideas as ever.
Best Onscreen Brooklyn: While We’re Young
In Noah Baumbach’s film, two brownstoners become infatuated with a younger couple from “Bush of the Wick,” with their vinyl and their fedoras. More than any disposable sociological detail, the film captures the mutually vampiric relationship between cultural and economic capital that defines life in hip Brooklyn today, and the pervasive anxiety that “the kids are coming up from behind.” (That’s a line in a song from 2002 that very cool people liked.)
Best Cinephile’s Birthday Party: Rent the Spectacle
Your favorite bodega-cum-Karagarga wishlist cinematheque seats about 30, in a space that, as much as the programming, exudes an underground aura of discovery. Take your first crack at programming, impress your friends with the furthest reaches of your taste.
124 S. 3rd Street, Williamsburg
Best Grindhouse Gentrification: “The Deuce” series at Nitehawk
The sleazy, pre-Disneyfied Times Square cinema spirit thrives in Williamsburg’s cleanest dine-in theater, oddly enough. Hey, we’re not complaining; Nitehawk’s monthly series boasts the most tasteless offerings of kung-fu lunacy, zombie-on-cannibal splatter, and streetwise vigilantism available. All on lip-smackin’ 35mm.
136 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
Best Rep Education: “The Vertigo Effect” at BAMcinématek
30 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene
Best Web Series We’re Excited to See Turned Into a Television Series: High Maintenance
We are so lucky to live in the time of Broad City and High Maintenance. #blessed
Best Rep Series: “Indie 80s” at BAMcinématek
Over the second half of summer, this sixty-plus-film survey of the post-Hollywood free-for-all spanned from hyper-specific regional and minority perspectives to better-known cult and auteurist favorites. Not just the biggest series of the year, it was also a fascinating perspective on an era whose proximity to our own means its influence far outstrips our historical perspective.
30 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene