2007_08_arts_crownedhope.jpgIn honor of the 250th anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birthday, the city of Vienna commissioned a special festival of visual art, music, dance, architecture, and film called New Crowned Hope. The name refers to the Masonic lodge Mozart co–founded, a venue in which he made his last public appearance.

Beginning this weekend, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will host screenings of six films made for the festival by some of the most exciting directors working today. Festival director Peter Sellars decided rather than use the opportunity to look backward at old work, he would commission new ones by a host of artists from such far flung locales as Chad, Iran, Paraguay, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia. Each was asked to focus on one of three Mozart themes: magic and transformation, truth and reconciliation, or ceremonies for the dead, according to BAM. Tonight you can catch a showing of a new work by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who previously made the hypnotic folk tale inspired love story Tropical Malady, called Syndromes and a Century which is loosely based on the story of how his parents fell in love. Then on Sunday, don't miss I Don't Want to Sleep Alone by the ever-provocative Tsai Ming-liang, who again uses his narrative to explore sexual desire, this time among immigrant factory workers in Kuala Lumpur.

Other cinema happenings around town this weekend include the kick off of a series devoted to one of France's most iconic leading men as the Film Society celebrates Gérard Depardieu over the next two weeks. Over at the Museum of the Moving Image, they're getting nostalgic about movies from the '70s with their program called Uneasy Riders: American Film in the Nixon Years, 1970-1974. Or for a dose of more contemporary movies, Film Forum has a run of the well-reviewed German drama Summer '04 which stars Martina Gedeck from The Lives of Others.

Still from I Don't Want to Sleep Alone. Courtesy of BAM