475 Park Ave South, 6th Floor, New York, NY, 10016
Monday - Friday
11:00am - 5:00pm
Missed the Friday, August 25th screening of Philomena Mattes' program Dreamland: The Coney Island of the Mind? Not to worry! This exciting lineup of Coney Island-themed films from the FMC archive is BACK by popular demand! Get your tickets NOW for our encore screening, happening at the FMC Screening Room (475 Park Avenue South, 6th Floor) on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6th, at 7pm!
Called “America’s Playground,” “The Poor Man's Paradise,” “Sodom by the Sea,” or simply and most aptly, “Dreamland,” Coney Island has been, for 150 years, the mythic-iconic, fever-dream stage-setting of summer vacation. Sprung up along the rough edge of the working-class immigrant communities of South Brooklyn, Coney is both the prototypical, all-American amusement park packed with dazzling lights and sky-high thrill rides, soft ice cream and hot dogs, as well as a seedy site of titillating and transforming encounters with the sexual, forbidden and other— under the circus tents at the freak show, on stage at the striptease, cruising beneath the boardwalk or groping in the darkness on the Tunnel-of-Love. Though burned to the ground on half a dozen occasions and marked by periods of neglect, Coney Island and its singular power of attraction have endured, and have remained a favorite muse for generations of the city’s artists and filmmakers.
These short works selected from the Film-Makers’ Cooperative archive depict Coney Island from the 1920s to the present, tracing the history of its boom-and-bust cycle of decay and rebirth, and capturing its unique visual vocabulary of hand-painted carny banners, fantastical architecture, and glowing neon signage. But most importantly (and intriguingly), they explore Coney Island’s emotional and psychological resonance as one of America’s truly mythic territories: “the Coney Island of the mind,” a dreamland that invokes childhood, memory, and desire.
Every nation needs orgiastic escape from respectability— that is, from the world of What-we-have-to-do into the world of What-we-would-like-to, from the world of duty that endureth forever into a world of joy that is permitted for a moment [...] Perhaps Coney Island is the most human thing that God ever made or permitted the devil to make. -Richard Le Gallienne
Total Run Time: 97 minutes.
The Film-Makers’ Cooperative is the largest archive and distributor of independent and avant-garde films in the world. Created by artists in 1961 as the distribution branch of the New American Cinema Group, the Coop has more than 5,000 films, videotapes, and DVDs in its collection.