New Plaza Cinema screens The Panic in Needle Park for 50th Anniversary
New Plaza Cinema, the first independent arthouse to open on the Upper West Side north of Lincoln Center in 15 years, is pleased to announce a special screening on Saturday, May 14th at 2:45 PM in honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of The Panic In Needle Park.
Jason Bailey, esteemed film critic, historian and author of the book “Fun City Cinema: New York City And The Movies That Made It” and creator of its companion podcast “Fun City Cinema” will be on hand to introduce the film and participate in a Talk Back with Q&A after the screening. Mr. Bailey will also be available to sign copies of his book following the Talk Back.
Released late in 1971, The Panic in Needle Park is a stark, off-beat love story set on the Upper West Side and stars an electric Al Pacino in his first lead role (screened by Francis Ford Coppola for Paramount executives before they agreed to cast him in The Godfather). It was nominated for the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and won its female lead, Kitty Winn, the Best Actress Award. The screenplay was written by John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion along with novelist James Mills, with cinematography by Polish DP Adam Holender, who shot Midnight Cowboy two years earlier.
Pacino and Winn play drug addicts who live in “Needle Park,” the triangle at Broadway and 72nd Street also known as Sherman Square. As they become more dependent on heroin and each other, the need for money to feed their habit grows, resulting in crime, desperation and betrayal. Says Jason Bailey, the film “presents a fascinating picture of the tony Upper West Side, which was no less immune [than the rest of New York] to the troubles of the city.”
New Plaza Cinema at The West End Theatre is located at 263 West 86th Street, in the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew. Tickets are $12 for seniors and students, $15 for the general public and can be purchased in advanced at www.newplazacinema.org. Sign up for the mailing list on New Plaza’s website to be notified when tickets go on sale.
About Jason Bailey:
Jason Bailey is a film critic/historian and a regular contributor to The New York Times and The Playlist. A graduate of the Culture Reporting and Criticism Program at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter’s Journalism Institute, he is the author of five books, including “Fun City Cinema: New York City And The Movies That Made It” for Abrams Books. His byline has appeared at Vulture, Vice, The Atlantic, Slate, Indiewire, Gothamist, Rolling Stone, Uproxx, Pajiba, The Dissolve, Salon, Hyperallergic, and The Village Voice, among others; he also appeared in the CNN documentary miniseries The Movies.