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NOTTURNO

Directed by Gianfranco Rosi, Italy (2020; 100 mins, in Arabic and Kurdish w/ English subtitles)

Notturno is a film of light made of the dark material of history. Over the course of three years, international documentary icon Director Gianfranco Rosi captured life along war-torn borders between Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Lebanon. Originally conceived as a film that would be shot entirely at night, Rosi soon pivoted this dark vision to instead capture the remarkable lightness in humanity he found: victims of war working to, not only survive, but thriveagainst the constant threat of brutal dictatorships, foreign invasions, and the murderous apocalypse of ISIS.

Join us (via Zoom) Sunday, January 24th at 4:30pm for a conversation with Gianfranco Rosi. Notturno is the Italian entry for the Best International Feature Film and an entry for Best Documentary at the 93rd Academy Awards.

CHUNGKING EXPRESS

Directed by Wong Kar Wai Hong Kong (1994; 102 mins, in Cantonese w/ English subtitles)

 

The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is one of the defining works of 1990s cinema and the film that made Wong Kar Wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out restaurant stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works. Anything goes in Wong’s gloriously shot and utterly unexpected charmer, which cemented the sex appeal of its gorgeous stars and forever turned canned pineapple and the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” into tokens of romantic longing.  

FALLEN ANGELS

Directed by Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong (1995; 99 mins, in Cantonese w/ English subtitles)

 

Lost souls reach out for human connection amid a glimmering Hong Kong in Wong Kar Wai’s hallucinatory, neon-soaked nocturne. Originally conceived as a segment of Chungking Express only to spin off on its own axis, Fallen Angelsplays like the dark, moody flip side of its iconic predecessor as it charts the subtly interlacing fates of a handful of urban loners. Swinging between hard-boiled noir and slapstick lunacy with giddy abandon, the film is both a dizzying, dazzling city symphony and a poignant meditation on love, loss, and longing in a metropolis that never sleeps. 

AS TEARS GO BY

Directed by Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong (1988; 102 mins, in Cantonese w/ English subtitles)

 

The highest-grossing film in Hong Kong until 2013, Wong Kar Wai’s scintillating debut feature As Tears Go By is a kinetic, hypercool crime thriller graced with flashes of the impressionistic, daydream visual style for which he would become renowned. Set amid Hong Kong’s ruthless, neon-lit gangland underworld, this operatic saga of ambition, honor, and revenge stars Andy Lau as a small-time mob enforcer who finds himself torn between a burgeoning romance with his ailing cousin (Maggie Cheung, in the first of her iconic collaborations with the director) and loyalty to his loose-cannon partner in crime (Jacky Cheung).

DAYS OF BEING WILD

Directed by Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong (1990; 94 mins, in Cantonese w/ English subtitles)

 

Wong Kar Wai’s breakthrough feature represents the first full flowering of his swooning signature style. The first film in a loosely connected, ongoing cycle that includes In the Mood for Love and 2046, this ravishing existential reverie is a dreamlike drift through the Hong Kong of the 1960s in which a band of wayward twentysomethings— including a disaffected playboy (Leslie Cheung) searching for his birth mother, a lovelorn woman (Maggie Cheung) hopelessly enamored with him, and a policeman (Andy Lau). The director’s inaugural collaboration with both cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who lends the film its gorgeously gauzy, hallucinatory texture, and actor Tony Leung, who appears briefly in a tantalizing teaser for a never-realized sequel, Days of Being Wild is an exhilarating expression of Wong’s trademark themes of time, longing, dislocation, and the restless search for human connection.

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE

Directed by Wong Kar Wai;  Hong Kong (2001; 99 mins; in Cantonese w/ English Subtitles)

Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite—until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. At once delicately mannered and visually extravagant, Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments. With its aching soundtrack and exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee, this film has been a major stylistic influence on the past two decades of cinema, and is a milestone in Wong’s redoubtable career.

This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35 mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and Jet Tone. It was supervised and approved by Wong Kar Wai.

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ANOTHER ROUND

 

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark, 2020; 116 mins, in Danish with English subtitles)

There's a theory that we should be born with a small amount of alcohol in our blood, and that modest inebriation opens our minds to the world around us, diminishing our problems and increasing our creativity. Heartened by that theory, Martin and three of his friends, all weary high school teachers, embark on an experiment to maintain a constant level of intoxication throughout the workday. If Churchill won WW2 in a heavy daze of alcohol, who knows what a few drops might do for them and their students?

 

Initial results are positive, and the teachers' little project turns into a genuine academic study. Both their classes and their results continue to improve, and the group feels alive again! As the units are knocked back, some of the participants see further improvement and others go off the rails. It becomes increasingly clear that while alcohol may have fueled great results in world history, some bold acts carry consequences.

 

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