See It Big! (Past Programs)
An ongoing series organized in collaboration with Reverse Shot editors Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert.
You’ve heard it before: “You’ve got to see it on the big screen!” And it’s true—some movies loom large and need to be seen large. They were intended for the theater, and in our mind’s eye that’s where they stay. Despite the cultural domination of television starting in the 1950s, and the current onslaught of new methods of viewing on ever-shrinking devices (laptops, iPads, phones), cinema remains a large-format art form. The experience of watching a movie in a dark theater, its images flickering before us on a screen that dwarfs us, its sound surrounding us, is the source of the medium’s singular enchantment, and certain films have been able to harness this power particularly well: those visually stunning classics that just aren’t the same when shrunk down. This series showcases a selection of such films—including grand Hollywood epics, eye-popping sci-fi journeys, and chilling visions of horror—in the Museum’s beautiful new theater.
When it opened earlier this year as a centerpiece of the Museum’s renovation and expansion, the theater immediately became one of the most impressive screening spaces in the country; New York magazine called it “the best new theater for old movies.” Conceived by architect Thomas Leeser as a capsule for the imaginary voyage of moviegoing, the theater has a wraparound ceiling and walls made of 1,136 fabric panels in a sensuous, vibrant Yves Klein blue, altering the viewer’s depth perception and encouraging a sensation of being suspended in the space. With a screen of classic proportions and projection equipment for every format from 16mm to 70mm and high-definition digital 3-D, the theater provides an unsurpassed filmgoing experience. See It Big! is thus a celebration of the Museum’s new theater as well as the magnificent films in the series.