“Frances Ha” Greeted With Cynical Debate From Crowd

Frances Ha still via Rooftop Films

Frances Ha still
via Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films opened this weekend with an advance screening of Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” to a controversial reception. Almost drowned out by a spectacular spring thunderstorm, the evening started in the elaborately painted auditorium of Open Road High School on the Lower East Side. The band Brazos played eerie, rousing, psychedelic rock n’ roll as murals loomed over the stage and trippy reflections of color were projected on a screen behind them.

When the band put down their instruments to applause, Rooftop Films founder Mark Elijah Rosenberg announced the weather would hold and the film would be shown on the roof. Crowds pushed joyously to the top of the building where a clear sky and sparkling skyline greeted us.

Arts Watch: Rooftop Films Kicks Off Summer Season This Weekend

Frances Ha  Courtesy Rooftop Films

Frances Ha

Our favorite outdoor movies series, Rooftop Films, kicks off its 17th summer season this weekend right here on the LES with two signature programs: This is What We Mean by Short Films, and a sneak peek at writer and director Noah Baumbach’s feature, Frances Ha.  

Opening night’s This is What We Mean by Short Films features a line up that according to Rooftop, are “grand stories in little packages with some of the greatest new short films from all around the world.” Shorts to watch out for include Azul, about a small group of cruise-ship revelers who find themselves alone on a mysterious tropical island, and the documentary, Slomo, about “life-shifting, philosophy, and slow-motion rollerblading.”

Balmy Rooftop: The Dish and the Spoon

Greta Gerwig and Olly Alexander in a film still from The Dish and the Spoon, at Rooftop Films this past weekend

We landed on the roof over the weekend to catch the Rooftop Films presentation of The Dish and the Spoon. Screened at Seward Park High School, known as Open Road Rooftop to the folks at Rooftop Films, it was part of a series of films that premiered at the annual South by Southwest Festival in March.

The film stars mumblecore darling Greta Gerwig as Rose, a young woman who experiences a meltdown after learning about her husband’s affair and takes up with an emotionally stranded British teenager played by Olly Alexander. The sweet coming of age story takes place amid the wreckage and ruin of a desolate off-season Delaware beach town.

Rooftop Films to Show Special SXSW Films

Greta Gerwig and Olly Alexander in a film still from The Dish and the Spoon

Rooftop Films is bringing two South By Southwest 2011 film premiers to Grand Street this weekend. On Friday, they will screen the New York premier of The Dish and the Spoon, with star Greta Gerwig in person, and on Saturday they will present the coming of age film No Matter What.

Gerwig, an indie startlett (Baghead, Greenberg) who has just started to “cross over” in to some big blockbusters (she was just in Arthur) is featured in The Dish and the Spoon as the romantically wounded Rose, a woman intent on seeking revenge against her unfaithful husband, who encounters equally an equally downtrodden British teen (newcomer Olly Alexander), who has traveled to American to meet a woman only to find that she has abandoned him.