For a pure, all-in moviegoing experience, few things beat midnight screenings. Exhibitors have been showing films, usually cult or horror or B-movie, at the witching hour since the 1930s, and the practice came into greater vogue in the 1970s with midnight classics like El Topo, Pink Flamingos, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The Tribeca Film Festival, running through April 30, presents an intriguing sidebar called simply “Midnight,” movies that don’t screen literally at 12 a.m. but fit the mold of dark, gory, unsettling, imaginative genre experiences. This year the lineup included six films, including such titles as Psychopaths, Devil’s Gate, and Super Dark Times.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema has collaborated with the festival for three special midnight screenings of movies selected by the directors of three Tribeca films, starting tonight at, of course, midnight. Check out the Nitehawk site for tickets and showtimes.
Martin Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER
Scorsese’s galvanizing portrait of the alienated Travis Bickle (Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro), cinema’s loner king, will be introduced by Kasra Farahani, the director of Taxi Driver‘s thematic grandson Tilt, about an outwardly normal man (Joseph Cross) who spins violently off his mental footing. (In a fascinating topical twist, Tilt‘s anti-hero is tweaked by last year’s grotesque presidential election.) Farahani explains, “I chose Taxi Driver because the the isolation of Travis Bickel from the society around him was a big influence for us on Tilt, and because we are living through a time now when this sort of fringe white-male-rage has emerged as mainstream and has even elected a president.”
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s CURE
Kevin Phillips, whose remarkable, nuanced Super Dark Times screened to sell-out crowds at Tribeca and will be released in theaters later this year, will introduce the fantastic 1997 Japanese thriller Cure. “With Cure, Kiyoshi Kurosawa maintains his status as one of our most sensitive and efficient filmmakers,” Phillips says. “His mastery of restraint, rhythm and tone is unequivocal.”