Village Voice 05.10.2017 : Page 43

Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe Written and directed by Maria Schrader First Run Features Opens May 12, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas A Josef Hader as Stefan Zweig First Run Features Lowriders Directed by Ricardo de Montreuil BH Tilt 45 May 10 -May 16, 2017 Maria Schrader’s excellent dra-matic feature chronicles Stefan Zweig’s final years in exile. Born in Vienna to an upper-middle-class fam-ily in 1881, Zweig had become one of the most popular writers in the world by the 1920s. He was a passionate humanist, fervently dedicated to a peaceful pan-Europeanism. Following the First World War, his villa on the Alps near Salzburg became a cultural mecca for European artists. In his memoir, The World of Yes-terday , he wrote, “We spent so many happy hours with all our guests, sitting on the terrace and looking out at the beautiful and peaceful landscape, never guessing that directly opposite, on the mountain in Berchtesgaden, a man lived who would destroy it all.” Zweig’s lodge represented everything that Hitler was determined to annihilate: It was the cos-mopolitan, egalitarian ideal the Nazis detested. By 1934, less than a year after Hitler’s rise to power, Zweig went on self-imposed exile to England and then Brazil, where he and his second wife took their own lives in 1942. Written by Schrader and Jan Schomburg and di-vided into six chapters, the film charts Zweig’s gradual descent into despair due to the rise of European fascism and the ensuing war. The delineation be-tween episodes suggests a collection of monographs, which is apt considering that the author’s greatest expression of his talents came in his historical trea-tises. Through these, Zweig offered portraits of major figures of Western civi-lization but also drew parallels between them and his own time. Schrader’s movie has similar intentions, and Josef Hader as Zweig is one of the great performances of recent years. ALI ARIKAN W Manifesto Directed by Julian Rosefeldt FilmRise Opens May 10, Film Forum ho knew Cate Blanchett wanted to be Tracey Ullman? That’s probably not the reac-tion director Julian Rosefeldt hopes will be stirred by this rigorous series of monologues stitched together from more than fifty artistic and political mani-festos and performed by Blanchett as thirteen characters. But, like Ullman, Blanchett takes the external markers of her characters (costumes, hair, makeup) and internalizes a persona, which she imbues with a distinct accent and body language, for each one. It’s the exercise of impersonation as a process of revela-tion, and it’s distinguished by a surpris-ing lightness. That puckish humor isn’t apparent right away. Manifesto was shot in Berlin, and the first scenes establish it as an aesthetic companion to Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire , that portrait of a walled-in metropolis. The creeping sense of dislocation tips into science fic-tion territory when Blanchett appears in a beautifully wrought sterile environ-ment wearing a white hazmat coverall, reciting the manifestos of early Soviet artists extolling suprematism (imagery based on geometric forms) and con-structivism (utilitarian approach to artis-tic production). Even as Rosefeldt mines intellectual elitism, he reveals a disdain for pretension in the film’s centerpiece monologue. Blanchett’s speaker ad-dresses a well-heeled, buttoned-up graveside audience. With black French netting framing her face like a fencing mask, she ferociously espouses Dada-ism in a tone that suggests she’s excori-ating the dead in the guise of praise. Dada at a funeral is an inspired contrast, puncturing the kind of polite ritual that stifles messy grieving with the radical art of nonsense inspired by those lost to the carnage of World War I. Blanchett is equally committed whether content and context click or not, but she soars when they do. SERENA DONADONI sleepy earnestness both en-nobles and afflicts Ricardo de Montreuil’s fathers-and-sons story, Lowriders . At first the film plays as a low-key corrective, a Hollywood drama with name producers (Brian Grazer, Ja-son Blum) that, outside a couple of tuto-rial info-dumps covering cultural basics, presents East Los Angeles lives like pretty much any of the others we’ve always seen on multiplex screens. The problems facing dreamy muralist and tagger Danny Alvarez (Gabriel Chavarria) line up with the problems facing generations of com-ing-of-age-movie heroes: His dad prefers he give up his art and go into the family business. His brother hates his dad and tries to get Danny to take a side. The dy-nastic drama here centers on a sweet ’69 Impala, candy-green and riding so low you couldn’t slip a slice of American cheese between its fender and the pave-ment. “It’s your heritage!” insists Danny’s father, Miguel (Demian Bichir), a recover-ing alcoholic who runs a garage and ranks in lowrider competitions in Elysian Park. Each of the three men tends to a car over the course of the film, and each somehow still manages to bounce on its hydraulics despite being freighted with symbolism. Miguel’s ride comes painted with an old family mural on its hood. Prodigal son Francisco (Theo Rossi) has just returned from prison, where he was serving time for stealing parts for his own competition car. And Danny even-tually will refurbish a junked ’36 Chevy, his work something like what the screen-writers have done: making something new and personal out of the oldest of frames. Still, sometimes it’s hokey, and the close-up, quick-cut filmmaking is often at odds with the performances. ALAN SCHERSTUHL >> p46 VILLAGE VOICE.com WWW .I FCCENTER. COM 212-924-7771 WED-THU: 12:25 pm , 4:05, 6:10, 8:25*, 10:40 pm FRI-TUE: 10:55 am , 12:50 pm , 5:10, 7:35, 9:55 pm *Q&A W/ DIR. BETTE GORDON, STAR JOSH CHARLES & OTHERS WED AT 8:25! OPENS THE DROWNING WED pm pm pm pm 323 SIXTH SIXTH AVENUE 323 AVENUE AT WEST THIRD STREET AT WEST THIRD STREET 212-924-7771 S ign up for the A ngelikA n ewSletter At : AngelikaFilmCenter.com CENTER &CAFE GET ME ROGER STONE FRI-TUE: 1:00 , 2:55, 5:05, 7:30 * *Q&A W/ FILMMAKERS FRI AT 7:30! FRI-TUE: 323 SIXTH AVENUE AT 7:50 , 9:35 HOUNDS OF LOVE WEST THIRD STREET LAURA POITRAS’S RISK WWW .I FCCENTER. COM 212-924-7771 2:20 FRI-TUE: 3:05 MR. 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