6 Gripping Art Films to See at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, From a Gordon Parks Tribute to a New Banksy Doc
The 2021 Tribeca Film Festival also includes documentary features on Stanley Kubrick and Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi."
New York’s Tribeca Film Festival makes a triumphant return for its 20th anniversary edition. Screenings are taking place across the city, at both indoor theaters and outdoor venues, from June 9 to June 20, and many selections are also streaming at home on demand.
We’ve scoured this year’s selections for films featuring art and artists, from a deep dive on Leonardo da Vinci’s infamous Salvator Mundi and how it became the world’s most expensive painting, to a new documentary from French street artist JR.
Here are six art-themed highlights from this year’s offerings, as well as where and when you can watch them.
Director Andreas Koefoed turns his lens on Salvator Mundi and the drama surrounding its authentication as a Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, and subsequent recording-breaking $450 million sale at Christie’s in New York. Expect plenty of juicy details about the bitter legal battle over an earlier sale to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev orchestrated by Swiss freeport king Yves Bouvier. The filmmaker also addresses lingering skepticism about who actually painted the heavily restored work, and whether larger geopolitical forces played a role in its transformation from a £45 auction bargain to the world’s most valuable painting in just 59 years.
Sunday, June 13, 4:30 p.m., the Battery, Oval Lawn, New York. Available to stream on demand June 14–June 23
Ava Duvernay, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Anderson Cooper are among the celebrities who speak with director John Maggio about the legacy of Gordon Parks, the first African American photographer to shoot for Life and Vogue. Parks’s portraits of everyday Black Americans became a powerful tool toward achieving social justice, while creating an important record of their lived experience in the 20th century.
Friday, June 18, 5 p.m., Waterfront Plaza at Brookfield Place, Battery Park City. Available to stream on demand June 19–June 23
Filmmakers Aurélia Rouvier and Seamus Haley attempt to unmask anonymous British street artist Banksy in this documentary film. They explore all the best-known theories—as well as the more outlandish ones—marveling over his ability to elude definitive identification even in the age of mass surveillance.
Thursday, June 10, 8 p.m., Empire Outlets, 55 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island
Director Stanley Kubrick, the quintessential auteur, is regarded by many as the greatest filmmaker who ever lived, elevating cinema to an art. Here, he gets the documentary treatment from Gregory Monro, who draws on decades of unseen interviews between Kubrick and French film critic Michel Ciment to present the movie legend, who was also an accomplished photographer, in his own words.
Available to stream on demand June 11–June 23
The Comics Code of 1954 censored images of same-sex relationships in mainstream comics. In 1973, Mary Wings drew and printed Come Out Comics, the first comic in the U.S. about LGTBQ-based subject matter by an out queer artist. Director Vivian Kleiman charts the rise of Wings and four other prominent LGBTQ comic artists (Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Rupert Kinnard, and Jennifer Camper) from the underground scene to the mainstream, and the challenges they faced along the way.
Saturday, June 12, 2 p.m., Pier 76, 408 12th Avenue, New York. Available to stream on demand June 13–June 23
JR’s last feature documentary, Faces Places (2017), co-directed with the late New Wave cinema pioneer Agnes Varda, was nominated for an Oscar and won the L’Oeil d’Or, the top documentary prize, at its debut at the Cannes Film Festival. For his follow-up, the street artist documented his recent projects at sites including the U.S.-Mexico border, Rio de Janeiro favelas, and the courtyard of a supermax prison outside Los Angeles—and how his art allows him to connect with local communities around the world.
Saturday, June 19, 2 p.m., Waterfront Plaza at Brookfield Place, Battery Park City. Available to stream on demand June 20–June 23
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