I recently started going to the movies alot again after many years of abstaining for the most part (I've been going through a pretty hermit-y phase for the last 5 or 6 years). I still went to see some movies, but just a few a year, instead of a few a week, or a couple a day.
Now in New York, if you wanna go see alot of movies (I'm talking about classics and revival type stuff), you don't really have too many choices, anymore. As far as I an tell, there's mostly just The Museum Of Modern Art and The Film Forum. When I first moved here back in 1982 there were a bunch more theatres showing different revival double features every day like The Thalia (now the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre-they only show films 2 days a week now) and the The Metro (now the Metro Twin). I used to take the train to the Metro, see 2 films, then walk the 101 or so blocks back to my apartment off Bleecker Street. It was great.
So lately, in order to get a little more excercise and a little more culture, I've been walking to MOMA, seeing a film or two (they're free if you have a membership-a great deal if you go alot), then walking all the way home (50 or 60 blocks- I'm on the LES). I've been getting good excercise and seeing some okay films (and some that I've been finding pretty boring as well). But a week or two ago I finally saw a film that just blew me away.
It's a Japanese film from 1962 called Koiya koi nasuna koi or THE MAD FOX. I found this synopsis online that sums it up better than I could:
"If you see only one Tomu Uchida film, see THE MAD FOX! Just make sure to clear space on the floor for your jaw! Uchida's reputation as a realist or naturalist is severely tested by this wildly stylized, immensely lovable fable. The Japanese characters for 'Tomu' can be construed as 'to spit out or vomit dreams', and the ever-escalating spillage of visual and narrative invention in THE MAD FOX does just that.
It is a crazy tale about a court fortune teller driven mad by a murder, who ends up marrying his slain lover's dead ringer, a fox in human form (got that?) and incorporates animation, kabuki and butoh, colorist experiments, collapsing sets, animal masks, revolving stages, and scroll compositions - never mind anthropomorphism, class warfare, identical twins, a doll baby that makes electronic mewling sounds, and even playful hints of bestiality. The political import of the fable is readily apparent but the film's extravagant artifice all but swamps it. The topsy-turvy world of THE MAD FOX leaves one feeling like the character who exclaims: "I am in confusion unto madness."
It really did make my jaw go wide. I've never seen such crazy transitions in a film. At MOMA people tend to clap at the end of the films, which I generally think is kind of pretentious. But I was clapping at the end of this one. People were even clapping DURING the film, when some wild transition would happen. Definitely one to see if you get a chance.