Go to the city, and check out a film screening at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Their prices for films are $8 per student with a valid ID, or free if you happen to be a member (yearlong memberships are $50 each); advance tickets require a $1.50 and $1 charge, respectively. However, even non-members can catch a movie at no charge on Free Friday Nights, which occur weekly from 4:00 – 8:00pm. Sold yet? Well, unlike your typical theater, MoMA offers various types of films that range from international to classics to modern fare, which are bundled into special program series that the film curators organize. The ongoing programs are “An Auteurist History of Film” (which showcases one director’s work for a week or two), and Modern Mondays (when avant-garde and experimental films are shown). The museum also puts on special programs, such as the recent “50 Years of James Bond” exhibition. Currently, it is presenting “The Contenders 2012” (films released this year that will likely stand the test of time), and “Lip-Reading Puppets: The Curators’ Prescription for Deciphering the Quay Brothers” (a tie-in to the museum’s current Quay Brothers exhibit).
I have had the great fortune of attending MoMA’s film screenings on two occasions: last summer for Meek’s Cutoff during their series on recent film acquirements, and again in November for Silver Linings Playbook as part of the “Contenders” series. Going to see Silver Linings Playbook required waiting until rush tickets were available, because advance tickets were sold out in anticipation for a conversation with director and screenwriter David O. Russell. While the film itself was phenomenal (an additional perk of watching movies at MoMA is the complete omission of trailers), unfortunately the conversation was disappointing. It lasted only twenty minutes, and was limited between the chief film curator of MoMA, a writer from The Hollywood Reporter, and Russell; no audience Q&A. The lack of audience interaction was a huge letdown, but it was worth seeing an Oscar contender before anyone else was able to (the film was officially released later in the week).
Upcoming film events at MoMA include a program on Charles Dickens’ works in film; a special screening of Andy Warhol’s San Diego Surf; and the museum’s annual “Global Lens” exhibition, which includes movies from countries with developing film communities, such as Iran, Serbia, Chile, Kazakhstan and Iraq. Check out a screening; it’s worth it. For a full detailed schedule, visit the website here.