Hailed in cinephile circles for its audacity and economy, Milton Moses Ginsberg’s 1969 debut COMING APART, starring Rip Torn, anticipated both the imminent porno chic mainstream of DEEP THROAT, and the rawness and transgression of ’90s American independents.
Unfairly panned by Andrew Sarris, COMING APART nosedived in attendance after its first week, its static-camera faux-documentary intimacy presaging the zeitgeist by just a hair, and its subject matter, including mental illness, sexuality, and misogyny, too real for the nudie-cutie crowd. Its box office misfortune would follow Ginsberg for the remainder of his career, complicating the production of his 1973 follow-up THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON; in 1975, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For the following decades, he would work in relative obscurity, primarily as a commercial editor for television—until the ’90s, in which a Museum of Modern Art repertory screening of the debut drew renewed interest in Ginsberg leading to a favorable New York Times profile and a Kino Lorber distribution deal. Much like the trajectory of fellow traveller Mark Rappaport, Ginsberg would eventually return to moving image in the form of video-essays, made in a similarly minimal spirit as COMING APART, tackling issues such as mortality, end times, the history of noir, and more.
Now, as COMING APART celebrates a half-century, feted at Metrograph on the anniversary of its debut, Spectacle presents a retrospective of these post-debut works.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29 – 7:30 PM
A Watergate-era horror-comedy starring Dean Stockwell as a reporter bitten by a werewolf, assigned as a press assistant for the president of the United States (Biff McGuire).
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 – 10 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26 – 10 PM
THE MIRROR OF NOIR describes the journey of several filmmakers who invented German Expressionist Cinema – and, forced to flee Germany, helped invent American film noir in Hollywood. The film focuses not on their physical journey – but on the journey of their cinematic style and the darkness of their vision. It also tells the story of a boy growing up in the Bronx who develops an obsession with haunted heroes and a fatal attraction to femmes fatale.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30 – 5 PM
Dir. Milton Moses Ginsberg, 2018
16 mins. United States.
Earning his living photographing tiny objects – faceted diamonds for gem dealers, the architecture of insects for biologists – Kron decides to turn his close-up lens on the intricate movements of the watches he’s been obsessively collecting his entire life. As he magnifies their tiny gears and spinning wheels, Kron feels himself being drawn into their microscopic universe – and becoming increasingly haunted by re-found memories, his own mortality and time itself. Let’s call his Proustian journey ‘The Private Life of Time.’
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22 – 10 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25 – 10 PM
Several haunting questions have taken on a sudden immediacy: Is humanity facing extinction in this very century? Have we already turned corners from which there is no turning back? And do sci-fi films merely offer us distraction, or have they been accurately describing the end of our existence? THE END collects the most prescient clips from past and present sci-fi films – and asks members of the scientific and political communities to assess whether these fantasy films that have been entertaining us for decades have actually been correct in predicting our total demise as a species – and soon!