Ok, so one thing that has gone a little under-discussed amid all this excitement about the new Parkway Theatre is that along with it being the permanent home of the Maryland Film Festival—which kicked off last night, read City Paper's guide here—the Parkway will also be a year-round, adventurously programmed place to see movies. And last night, during MdFF's opening night, the titles of the first week of programming were released. It includes John Waters' "Female Trouble," David Lynch's "Eraserhead" and "Mulholland Drive," a nice collection of "radical films of the '60s and '70s" (more on those below) and Jenny Gage's "All This Panic" and Kris Avedisian's "Donald Cried"—two "emerging films," which will run for a full week.
"My motivation is that, by and large, it's an exception to the rule when aesthetically rich films like 'Moonlight,' 'Certain Women,' and 'I Am Not Your Negro' break through the corporate curation process to become art-house hits—and of course each of those filmmakers had a harder time getting their early films, which are also excellent, onto movie screens," Eric Hatch, the director of programming for the festival and the Parkway told me a couple weeks ago. "As an art-house theater in Baltimore, programmed by and for Baltimoreans, we're excited to jump in and identify dozens or even hundreds of other exceptional films each year that come from diverse emerging voices--films that are handled by boutique distributors, or even the filmmakers themselves. Simultaneously, we're going to be pursuing an active calendar of repertory fare that's one part populist (think '70s-'90s fare along the lines of what we've done with Gunky's Basement) and one part cerebral (think Fassbinder, Wiseman, Claire Denis)."
The first week of programming totally shows and proves what Hatch told me. In particular, I'd like to call attention to Rainer Werner Fassbinder's somber queer melodrama "Fox and His Friends" and Djibril Diop Mambéty's "Touki Bouki," a semi-surreal road trip movie from Senegal, both are personal favorites that I think everyone on the planet should see.
You can view the flyer for the full line-up here—it also teases a late May week of '80s comedies including, holy shit, "9 To 5," which I am very excited about personally.
Oh, and lastly a rant: One of the most maddening things over the past few years has been this bizarre and oh-so-Baltimore in its crabs-in-a-barrel-ness sense that Baltimore, which already has the Charles Theater, couldn't possibly have two places where you can see art movies. You'd hear it around town from people usually above such defeatist bullshit and it was even sometimes reflected in some of the typically lazy "arts and culture" writing that goes on around this city that just kinda coughs up press releases and/or community gripes depending on the topic and none of it ever made much sense to me. I mean, I guess only time will tell if it's true that the city can withstand two arthouses, but it is very exciting to add these Parkway viewing options to the new stuff and the revivals going on at the nearby Charles. Moreover, what the Parkway is doing here is screening new movies that maybe wouldn't otherwise get distribution outside of New York and Los Angeles and even more out-there old stuff. Fucking "Touki Bouki" and "9 To 5," you feel me?