I discovered the Metrograph on a friend's invitation to watch a screening of “2046”- a Hong Kong romantic drama film directed by Wong Kar-wai.
The Metrograph is a Manhattan jewel and my favorite place to watch movies. The theater is Manhattan’s first new independent movie theater in a decade.
Unlike large cinema chains, the Metrograph is a chic and minimalist movie theatre near Chinatown. On my first visit, it took me nearly 30 minutes to find the theatre’s unassuming entrance on Lundlow Street.
Film students, directors, and curators go there for its wide breadth of programming. It is reminiscent of a trendy gallery rather than a theatre.
Despite its local atmosphere, the establishment attracts big names, including Aliza Ma- a film curator for the Museum of the Moving Image.
This independent theatre plays archive quality 35mm films and has a wide variety of Chinese films. It even features a vintage style restaurant and a film-themed bookstore. I fell in love with Metrograph at first glance.
What could be better for Chinese film buffs? I'm a frequent Metrograph visitor and if you are in NYC, then here's a line up of films you have to watch there!
1. Black Coal Thin Ice (白日焰火)
This film is part of Late Nites of Metrograph. It played at 11 pm so I got myself a cocktail which can be found on the special late-night menu. Feeling a bit tipsy and warm, I walked into the projection room. This film is a landmark in the Chinese crime film. But it’s more than just a mystery film to me. The setting, Harbin, brings a chilly and harsh atmosphere. The Northern China dialect and tone were refreshing as well. It was my very first time watching a romantic criminal story that happened in Northern China. I’m glad that I watched it in Metrograph. I will not forget the scene of a young lady walking in the deserted street.
I was thrilled when my friends told me Metrograph was playing 2046. I could never resist a Wong Kar-wai movie. It’s a fluid and sensual film that reveals different facets of characters. What I enjoyed the most from watching it at Metrograph was its musical theme. Wong offered a story of Hong Kong embedded in the audio track. It reminded me of the city’s history, experience, and hidden stories. The marvelous music made me think about the themes of love and loss.
3. Cafe Lumière (珈琲時光)
Cafe Lumière was the final screening of Hou Hsiao-Hsien in the 21st Century. Hou’s radiant cinematography was well-presented at Metrograph. The audience was so quiet and focused that no one left in the middle of the movie. I concentrated as well – as if I could smell the sweet-scented coffee from Cafe Lumière!