As befits the name, the Museum of the Moving Image’s annual First Look festival presents the US and/or New York premieres of many of the latest international arthouse films. Because of the pandemic, last year’s iteration of the festival had to take place in an abbreviated, online-only form. This year’s version is in many ways a “makeup” for last year, hence it being called First Look 20/21. Mixing both in-person and online events, the program combines new titles with films that had been planned for last year but ended up not being shown. Additionally, the weekend series, Working on It, will allow passholders into creative workshops with filmmakers and critics.

Highlights of this year’s program include Claire Simon’s The Grocer’s Son, the Mayor, the Village, and the World…, a documentary about a rural French village that plays host to an online film festival, Michael Andrianaly’s Nofinofy, about a Madagascar hairdresser cast adrift after his salon burns down, Bottled Songs, a series of epistolary video essays about contemporary terrorist messaging by Kevin B. Lee and Chloé Galibert-Laîné, and Phillip Warnell’s Intimate Distances, which follows a woman interrogating random passersby on the street in Astoria.

Tickets for regular events are $15 ($11 for seniors and students, $9 for youths, $7 for Classic-level MoMI members, free for Senior and Student-level MoMI members). Tickets for the opening and closing night events are $20 ($15 for members). All-access passes (which grants access to opening and closing night, in-person and virtual cinema screenings, and Working on It) can be purchased for $100. An in-person pass (which grants access to all on-site screenings and Working on It) costs $65 (the value can be applied to a year-round museum membership).

Where: Online and in-person at the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35 Avenue, Queens)
In-person events through August 1, virtual cinema through August 8

YouTube video

More info available via Museum of the Moving Image.

Dan Schindel is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Brooklyn, and a former associate editor at Hyperallergic. His portfolio and links are here.