David Beal urges you to catch a newly restored masterpiece at Film Forum this week.


This weekend sees the release of two Hollywood productions revolving around heroes: a new James Bond flick, and a lovely tale about Abraham Lincoln and the 13th Amendment.  But as skilled or delightful as those movies might be (I’ve only seen the latter), there’s no movie in New York right now that’s more heroic than Nothing But A Man — and no other movie that you need to see more urgently.  When I watched Michael Roemer’s 1964 masterpiece a few weeks ago, I sat in the theatre for ten minutes after the credits rolled, the images still rattling around my brain like boiling molecules.  Roemer and cinematographer Robert M. Young zero in on the lives of a young black couple in Birmingham, AL; the film’s love for its inhabitants and resilient eye for detail leave a deep and personal imprint that you couldn’t scrub off if you tried.  Nothing But A Man screened a few weeks ago in NYFF’s Masterworks series, but it’s screening again at Film Forum from Nov. 9 through Nov. 15.  Attention must be paid.

(For another mention of Nothing But A Man, read Double Exposure’s NYFF special issue, including festival wrap-ups, an interview with Miguel Gomes, a conversation on Something in the Air, and more.)