In the Cinéma Club of Josh Safdie
Josh Safdie is an independent filmmaker based in New York City who directs with his brother Benny. Together, they have made a great series of short films and four critically acclaimed features including their latest, Heaven Knows What (2015). They recently finished shooting Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson as a bank robber on the run, and have announced their next film Uncut Gems, set in the Manhattan Diamond district and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, among others.
Josh Safdie shares with us five films he loves.
STREETWISE, Martin Bell, 1984
As modern as a film can be while still remaining highly romantic. It's part journalism, part fiction, part poetry… Based on the photos and relationships the late great Mary Ellen Mark developed with street kids in Seattle for a photo series for LIFE magazine. LIFE magazine photos have birthed great films like this one and Little Fugitive (kind of). I’ll never forget Dewayne, Tiny and Rat.
CRUISING, William Friedkin, 1980
A murder mystery set in the gay leather bars of NYC in the '80s. Truly a mysterious film wherein the audience gets lost in the fabric of the story as the character does. Pacino doesn’t like to talk about this film, but it’s maybe his greatest performance. The gay community in NYC didn’t know whether to support or repel this film, which saw spells of people showing up near location banging pots and pans, bouncing light off mirrors and renting apartments next door to blast music.
THE DRIVER, Walter Hill, 1978
Refn sloppily ripped it off with Drive, so seek this one out. Walter Hill is a master who’s been copied by every Hollywood film since his first films and Ryan O’Neal turns in one of the coolest characters in The Driver. Bruce Dern plays a cocky cop who you can’t wait to see lose and Adjani plays a cool-as-a-cucumber damsel. Also check out Claude Lelouch’s Rendezvous, which acts like a weird French cousin to this film.
L'ATALANTE, Jean Vigo, 1934
The godfather of magical realism, but not twee at all. Also the underwater sequence has been homaged so many times it’s solidified as legendary. Michel Simon’s character is so touching in this film, he’s also littered with so many tattoos he could be a transplant from a Viceland show.
BROADWAY DANNY ROSE, Woody Allen, 1984
The casting in this film allows for so much nuance, from Nick Apollo Forte (who didn’t do anything else) to the borscht-belt comedians in Carnegie Deli, to all of Danny Rose’s clients, to the off-type performance from Mia Farrow as a side-piece and a mob-boss princess… They all amount to something that’s so inherently New York in a way that I hope NEVER dies. I am Danny Rose.