The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, February 15-21

nyc repertory cinema-bob-dylan-last-waltz-1976

The Last Waltz (1978)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
A gorgeous lesson in in “print the legend” anti-journalism, Scorsese’s first music documentary shimmers with mendacity and the unmistakable golden hue of created nostalgia. Scorsese wants the boys in The Band to bring him closer to the rock and blues legends he admires but is too timid and infirm to seek out himself. Robbie Robertson and his unwilling cohorts have to bring the music to him. They want no part in it, telling rambling pointless stories over endless beers and games of pool, refusing as much as possible to help two white men share their storied past with any old passerby. Meanwhile the music rockets up and down the Richter scale of authenticity. Neil Young comes out looking deranged and homeless, the cocaine on his nose taken out in post. Muddy Waters, shot unblinkingly by mistake, is ushered off stage to make room for clay-faced Eric Clapton, who stole his shtick and made it palatable for a soulless white middle class. Bob Dylan, their patron and ghost, sees the Band off just before he found Jesus and his career experienced a kind of temporary rapture. Some of these guys couldn’t know they were already legends and didn’t know that this self-conscious rhapsodizing was unnecessary. What of the film? It’s a lie, sure, but aren’t they always sweeter? Scout Tafoya (February 17, 18, 7pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s Scorsese retrospective)

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