MoMI PRESENTS ‘SEE IT BIG: EXTENDED CUTS!,’ SIXTEEN FILMS IN ALTERNATE DIRECTORIAL VISIONS
The Museum’s signature screening series, co-presented with film journal Reverse Shot, offers a rare chance to see director’s cuts or otherwise re-edited versions of films in a big-screen theatrical setting
Highlights include Frank Oz’s Little Shop of Horrors, Elaine May’s Ishtar, Terrence Malick’s The New World, Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, and more
October 21, 2022–January 1, 2023
Astoria, New York, October 18, 2022 — Some movies never really end. They live on—and on—in alternate cuts that extend, tighten, or just overall refine their makers’ intentions. Starting October 21, Museum of the Moving Image will present See It Big: Extended Cuts!, an edition of its signature screening series co-presented with Reverse Shot, that offers a selection of sixteen films that famously feature alternate versions. Whether these are considered “director’s” or “preferred” cuts, these other versions have frequently supplanted the original releases in our imaginations, which were often the results of disagreements between the director and the studio. In other cases, filmmakers simply wanted to expand their cinematic worlds to let in a little more light.
See It Big: Extended Cuts! gives audiences the rare chance to theatrically experience alternate versions of some of our most beloved films, which have mostly in the past been relegated to home viewing. In many cases, these are how their makers originally would have wanted us to see them. The series was programmed by Curator of Film Eric Hynes, Assistant Curator of Film Edo Choi, Editorial Director and Reverse Shot Co-Editor Michael Koresky, and Reverse Shot Co-Editor Jeff Reichert.
The series opens this Friday, October 21 with Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America—starring Robert De Niro, James Woods, and Elizabeth McGovern—in a five-decade saga set in Prohibition-era New York; an extended version of the director’s cut was re-released in 2012 and is widely considered a masterpiece. Other highlights include Frank Oz’s Little Shop of Horrors, restoring the film’s dark ending; Elaine May’s Ishtar, the under-appreciated comedy starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman, featuring music by Paul Williams, in a streamlined director’s cut; Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, an epic telling of the Johnson County War of 1892, luminously shot by Vilmos Zsigmond; the winter holiday delight Fanny and Alexander, presented in director Ingmar Bergman’s preferred version, which aired as a four-part miniseries on Swedish television; the complete extended editions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy; Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club: Encore, the wildly stylish Harlem-set gangster film and musical, which restores the director’s original vision from found lost negatives and featuring restored sound and image; a double feature of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s A Short Film about Killing and A Short Film about Love, feature versions of two episodes of Polish director’s beloved Dekalog; and many more. The full lineup and schedule, which runs through January 1, 2023, is included below and posted online at movingimage.us/series/see-it-big-extended-cuts.
SCHEDULE FOR ‘SEE IT BIG: EXTENDED CUTS!,’ OCT. 21, 2022–JAN. 1, 2023:
Unless noted, tickets (required for each program) are $15 ($11 seniors and students / $9 youth ages 3–17 / $7 for Museum members. Advance tickets available online at movingimage.us. All screenings take place in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater or the Celeste and Armand Bartos Screening Room at Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria, New York.
Once Upon a Time in America: Extended Director’s Cut
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 6:00 P.M.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 3:00 P.M.
Dir. Sergio Leone. 1984/2012, 251 mins., plus intermission. DCP. With Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Tuesday Weld. Sergio Leone’s ten-years-in-the-making opus does for the gangster film what his visionary spaghetti westerns did for the horse opera, brilliantly reimagining the genre as a vehicle for limitless stylistic expression. Magnificently recreating the look and feel of Prohibition-era New York City, and bolstered by an unforgettable Ennio Morricone score, it chronicles five decades in the life of De Niro’s David “Noodles” Aaronson, who goes from Lower East Side slum kid to bootlegging mobster to old man reflecting on his criminal past. Leone’s coup is an intricate flashback structure which lends this epic rise-and-fall saga a hauntingly elegiac undercurrent. Though the film was originally released in the United States in a severely truncated version panned by critics, the full version, presented here, is one of the great American masterpieces.
Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1:00 P.M.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1:00 P.M.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, 3:30 P.M.
Dir. Frank Oz. 1986/2012, 94 mins. DCP. With Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, Levi Stubbs, Bill Murray. Frank Oz’s first non-Muppet film is one of the great musicals of the 1980s, following down-and-out flower shop assistant Seymour (Moranis) who becomes a national sensation when he discovers an exotic plant that craves fresh blood. Soon Audrey II (an elaborate puppet created by Henson Creature Shop alumnus Lyle Conway and voiced by Stubbs of The Four Tops) grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore. Little Shop of Horrors features a sensational Greene as Seymour’s dippy love interest Audrey, Martin as a hilariously sadistic dentist, and sensational songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Upon negative test screenings, the studio made Oz change the dark ending; this director’s cut restores the original film as intended.
Das Boot: The Director’s Cut
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 6:15 P.M.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 3:00 P.M.
Dir. Wolfgang Petersen. 1981/1997, 208 mins. 35mm. With Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge, Bernd Tauber, Erwin Leder, Martin May. This epic World War II film, at the time the most expensive production ever mounted in Germany, remains a spectacular achievement thanks to cinematographer Jost Vacano’s groundbreaking technical innovations, the propulsive rhythms of jazz saxophonist Klaus Doldinger’s score, and, above all, Petersen’s canny refashioning of the classic seafaring template through the severe, modern mold of the claustrophobic thriller. Restored to its 209-minute director’s cut for a theatrical release in 1997, this version expands the harrowing and tragic story of Nazi submarine U-96, led by the hard-bitten, cynical Captain Lehmann (Prochnow in his star-making turn).
The Cotton Club: Encore
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 6:30 P.M.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2:30 P.M.
Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. 1984/2017, 139 mins. DCP. With Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage. Coppola did some of his greatest and most unexpected work in the 1980s, and none of his films were more ambitious than The Cotton Club, a wildly stylish Harlem-set throwback that played with the style of 1930s Hollywood genre films, such as the gangster picture and the musical, and which was partly shot at the Kaufman Astoria Studios right next door to the Museum. Though the film was considered a financial dud upon release—plagued by behind-the-scenes conflict—this lovingly designed film has since been reclaimed as a work of magic and imagination. Coppola’s directorial vision truly pops in The Cotton Club: Encore, painstakingly reconstructed from the director’s found lost negatives and featuring restored sound and image.
Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 7:00 P.M.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 3:00 P.M.
Dir. Richard Kelly. 2001/2004, 134 mins. DCP. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Daveigh Chase, Mary McDonnell, James Duval. Kelly’s horror-tinged drama about a troubled suburban kid (Gyllenhaal in the role that put him on the map) plagued by apocalyptic visions supplied by a perhaps imaginary friend is one of the true movie cult classics of the 21st century. Initially ignored, the film grew into a beloved film of teen alienation and human interconnectedness, a work of generational angst directed with remarkable fluidity and classical storytelling panache. In addition to soundtrack changes and remixed sound, the director’s cut features a wealth of scenes cut before the film’s theatrical release, which deepen the ensemble characters’ connections to one another and more vividly bring out some of Kelly’s abstract themes.
The New World (Limited Release Version)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 6:30 P.M.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 3:00 P.M.
Dir. Terrence Malick. 2005, 150 mins. 35mm. With Colin Farrell, Q’orianka Kilcher, Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer. After yet another years-long hiatus, Malick returned with this reimagining of the story of John Smith (Farrell) and Pocahontas (Kilcher) as a transcendental reverie on the clash between civilizations and a romance between individuals on opposite sides of an ethnological gulf. Longtime production designer Jack Fisk (Days of Heaven, The Tree of Life) recreates the Jamestown settlement as a lumber and mud outpost that’s both gateway to paradise and cesspool of hell, utopia and dystopia. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, in the first of many transformative collaborations with Malick, invents a whole new way for the steadicam to move, as if flying through the open spaces of Powhatan camps or snaking through the closed corridors of Jacobean London. This abundant film spawned three versions; as part of this series, the Museum presents the lengthier of the film’s two theatrical versions, originally released on Christmas Day, 2005.
The Act of Killing (Director’s Cut)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 4:00 P.M.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17, 12:30 P.M.
Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer. 2012/2013, 159 mins. DCP. In Indonesian with English subtitles. In this landmark, deeply unsettling film, director Joshua Oppenheimer exposes a contemporary Indonesian society formed from a brutal, harrowing, and still unexamined civil war. In a country where death squad leaders are still celebrated as heroes, flaunting and benefiting from their murderousness with impunity, Oppenheimer (along with collaborators who remained anonymous because of safety concerns) challenged these men to reenact their real-life atrocities via staged musical, action, comedy, and noir scenes. Their reckoning, or lack thereof, plays like a provocative fever dream—albeit one punctured by the realization that many citizens are still terrorized by these aging wannabe thespians. “One of the paradoxes of filmmaking is that sometimes a film that feels too long can be too short,” Oppenheimer told The New York Times, explaining why he re-released the film in his preferred duration, featuring 40 more minutes of deeper characterization and improved pacing.
Ishtar (Director’s Cut)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 1:00 P.M.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 3:30 P.M.
Dir. Elaine May. 1987/2013, 105 mins. DCP. With Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Adjani. Charles Grodin. Wildly underrated at the time of its release, Elaine May’s deceptively screwball comedy is a cross between a Hope and Crosby road movie and a trenchant satire about the Middle East that feels as relevant as it ever was. Beatty and Hoffman are brilliant as a hapless duo of failed songwriter-performers. Paul Williams managed an amazing feat—writing songs that were intentionally awful yet totally endearing. “Honest and popular don’t go hand in hand. If you admit that you play the accordion, no one will hire you in a rock and roll band…” May’s comedy runs slightly shorter in her preferred cut, a streamlined version of a long-misunderstood film.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 3:00 P.M.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1:00 P.M.
Dir. Terry Gilliam. 1985, 132 mins. 35mm. With Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond. Gilliam’s jaw-dropping dystopian science-fiction black comedy imagines a totalitarian surveillance society that would make Orwell envious. When minor bureaucrat Pryce notices a clerical error that led the state to arrest the wrong man, he is set on a quest for freedom, which makes him public enemy number one. The film was almost shelved by Universal and underwent serious reshaping without Gilliam’s approval (the narrative was so distorted that this version came to be known as the “Love Saves the Day” version), before the director took the dispute public and won critical acclaim for this fever-dream dystopian director’s cut, which was almost immediately hailed as a modern classic.
Heaven’s Gate (Director’s Cut)
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 6:30 P.M.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2:30 P.M.
Dir. Michael Cimino. 1980/2012, 219 mins. DCP. With Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Isabelle Huppert, Jeff Bridges, John Hurt. “I had an opportunity to create a total mood in a way that I never had before,” said cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond of his work on Cimino’s notorious and monumental epic. Credited with ruining United Artists—and all but ending the auteurist brilliance that defined the 1970s—Heaven’s Gate became an industry punching bag, its failure preordained in the press. When the studio cut hours from the film after a disastrous first screening, they made things worse, releasing a chopped-down film considered incoherent. Yet this revisionist western, restored to its full length, is a marvel of ambition and complex storytelling, dramatizing the Johnson County War of 1892, when European settlers were targeted for death and displacement by cattle barons.
Fanny and Alexander
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11, 3:00 P.M.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17, 3:00 P.M.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 12:30 P.M.
Dir. Ingmar Bergman. 1983, 312 mins. Presented with one intermission. DCP. In Swedish, German, and Yiddish with English subtitles. With Bertil Guve, Gun Wallgren, Erland Josephson. Bergman’s magnificent family saga encompasses a year in the life of the extended Ekdahl clan, as mostly seen through the eyes of the imaginative young Alexander. Part fairy tale, part existential drama, Fanny and Alexander is a lush banquet of a film, featuring gorgeous, Oscar-winning cinematography, art direction, and costume design. The film is shown here in Bergman’s preferred version, which aired as a four-part miniseries on Swedish television. The first fourth is devoted to the Ekdahls’s extravagant and warm Christmas party, certainly the most remarkable holiday gathering ever committed to film.
A Short Film about Killing
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 6:00 P.M.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 3:00 P.M.
(See both Kieslowski films back-to-back for a combined $20 ticket.)
Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. 1987, 84 mins. DCP. With Miroslaw Baka, Krzysztof Globisz, Jan Tesarz, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz. Polish master Krzysztof Kieslowski chose two scripts from his epic 10-part, 10-hour, 10 Commandments–inspired series Dekalog to expand into features, the first of which was based on episode 6, aka “Though Shall Not Commit Murder.” After a youth randomly and brutally kills a taxi driver, an idealistic young attorney is assigned to defend the murderer. The film, which arrived like a rock through the window amid Poland’s debate on capital punishment, is one of the most powerful statements on the death penalty ever committed to film. Strikingly photographed by Slawomir Idziak and ingeniously conceived as a moral diptych with co-screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz (there are no protracted courtroom scenes, there is no character psychology), Kieslowski’s masterpiece is shocking not only for the graphic brutality of both its murder and execution scenes, but for its daring condemnation of “crime in the name of the law.”
A Short Film about Love
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 8:00 P.M.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 5:00 P.M.
(See both Kieslowski films back-to-back for a combined $20 ticket.)
Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. 1988, 86 mins. DCP. With Grazyna Szapolowska, Olaf Lubaszenko, Stefania Iwinska. Polish master Krzysztof Kieslowski chose two scripts from his epic 10-part, 10-hour, 10 Commandments–inspired series Dekalog to expand into features, the second of which was based on episode 7, aka “Though Shalt Not Commit Adultery.” A sublime cinematic voyeur tale that stands alongside Rear Window, Kieslowski’s film follows a sensitive and guileless young man who is obsessed with a beautiful woman living in the opposite building. Watching her through a telescope, he grows jealous of the woman’s lover and sabotages their affair. When Tomek reveals his deceit and confesses his love, the woman initiates a cruel game of her own.
The Lord of the Rings: Extended Editions
Peter Jackson’s improbably brilliant, mammothly successful trilogy is perhaps the last great cinematic fantasy epic. This breathtaking adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, following the efforts of one small hobbit, Frodo (Elijah Wood), to save a world fallen into darkness and evil by disposing of the “One Ring to Rule Them All” in the fires of Mordor, is large-scale moviemaking at its very finest. In his extended editions, initially released only on DVD and Blu-ray, Jackson intensifies and deepens nearly every relationship, plot turn, and battle sequence, making an already staggering experience even more visually and emotionally overwhelming.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition)
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2:00 P.M. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2:00 P.M. Dir. Peter Jackson. 2002, 228 mins. DCP. With Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition)
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2:00 P.M. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 12:30 P.M. Dir. Peter Jackson. 2003, 235 mins. DCP. With Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Bernard Hill, Christopher Lee, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Karl Urban, Andy Serkis, Sean Bean.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition)
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2:00 P.M. SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 12:30 P.M. Dir. Peter Jackson. 2004, 251 mins. DCP. With Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Bernard Hill, Christopher Lee, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Karl Urban, John Noble, Andy Serkis, Ian Holm.