December 24, 2011

Le Havre - IFC Center

Mike: I had long written off the IFC Center - it's not one of my favorite places to go. Screens are small, and it's pretty expensive to go here. But I really wanted to see Le Havre before it left theaters, and IFC Center was still playing it twice a day.

So I trekked over to West 4th Street (Erica wasn't interested) to see it. I regret my previous stance on the IFC Center. Yes, it has some small screens, but auditorium 1, where I saw Le Havre, is very nice. I'd been here before, but must have forgotten about it. seats are comfortable, it has a cool vibe, and the screen size is nice. The open ceiling is pretty cool, too. And also, the number of films showing at the IFC Center is pretty amazing. They give films an extra shot, or allow them to build an audience. Worthy of admiration, in my mind. And finally, they do have a pretty cool selection of late night classics.

I got to the theater a bit early and theater 1 hadn't emptied out yet, so the usher told me I could wait upstairs. There's a poster gallery upstairs (currently exhibiting Studio Ghibli posters as part of their Ghibli retrospective) which doubles as a waiting room with a window to look out over the street and a few comfortable chairs to sit and wait in.

Anyway, the movie started and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. The only other Aki Kaurismaki film I had seen was The Man Without a Past, which I really dug. I guess I was expecting something along those lines. And the in first half of the film, that's sort of how it plays out. It's a drama about a man taking in a young boy who is an illegal immigrant and on the run. But around halfway, the film becomes odder and sillier, and ultimately, completely absurd. I couldn't believe what I was watching, and found it to be absolutely brilliant. The film had a weird 70s/80s budget euro cinema vibe, which made it oddly nostalgic. Hands down, one of my favorite films of 2011.

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