New York: The best movie theaters for foreign films

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Film Forum New York
Foreign and independent films at New York's Film Forum. Photo: Pr3liator

By Suzanne Russo in New York—

Over the past few weeks, they’ve been filming a new movie just around the corner from EuroCheapo offices here in New York. Yes, we freely admit that we’ve craned our necks, when passing, for a glimpse of Robert Deniro. We also admit to a certain amount of pride in the fact that New York, setting for many a blockbuster, is also a cinema center for indie and foreign films galore.

So, in celebration of our city’s generous share of movie-going choices, here are our favorite theaters for taking in a foreign film.

Film Forum
209 West Houston Street
Web site
Normal Ticket Price: $12.50

What started in 1970 with 50 folding chairs and a projector has become a New York institution. Film Forum is the only autonomous nonprofit cinema in New York (and one of few in the U.S.). A self-described “cinema of ideas,” Film Forum screens myriad independent films from all over the world. Two of its three theaters are devoted to ongoing film programs: One premieres American indie and foreign art films and the other shows repertory classics.

Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
Web site
Tickets: $10 for a day of screenings (see below)

The MoMA has an excellent and diverse film screening program, showing some American and many foreign films in its three theaters. The week starts with Modern Mondays, an exploration, through screenings and discussion panels, of the cutting edge in cinema. More traditional screenings from the MoMA film library happen daily, with many festivals and special exhibitions, as well.

Film tickets for all three theaters can be purchased at the lobby information desk starting at 9:30 a.m. daily. You can also purchase tickets for the Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters 1 and 2 at the film desk beginning at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. on weekends, and for the Celeste Bartos Theater (Theater 3) at the lobby desk of the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building starting at 1 p.m.

All tickets for a day of screenings cost $10 ($8 for seniors and $6 for students, free 16 and under). Tickets are (our favorite word) free during Target Free Friday Nights, every Friday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. (as is the rest of the museum). Planning to attend more than one film in a day? Simply present your ticket stub at the film desk to receive your ticket for the next film. Hello bargain!

Sunshine Cinema
143 East Houston Street
Web site
Normal Ticket Price: $13

Built in 1898, the beautiful building now known as Sunshine Cinema has gone through incarnations as the Houston Hippodrome movie theater, a Yiddish vaudeville house and a hardware warehouse. Currently run by the art-house company Landmark Theatres, the Sunshine shows first-run indie and foreign films on five screens.

Get there early to check out the Japanese rock garden, or head up to the impressive third-floor glass annex for some jaw-dropping city views.

Cheapo tip: While regular ticket prices are $13 ($9 for seniors and the under-12 set), Sunshine offers special midnight showings cult favorites like Clue and the bizarre The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things for just $10. Check the Web site for featured weekend films.

Quad Cinema
34 West 13th Street
Web site
Normal Ticket Price: $11

This Greenwich Village mainstay has been showing great foreign, independent and documentary films since 1972—and has played a role in popularizing many of them (think Cinema Paradiso and Hoop Dreams), to boot. Given its Village location, expect many a social-issue film and an old-school “boho” vibe.

Angelika Film Center
18 West Houston Street
Web site
Normal Ticket Price: $13

This pretty little art house theater is located just around the corner from EuroCheapo headquarters in the Village. It’s so close, in fact, that our afternoon coffee runs often involve glancing at posters that line the building’s outer wall for the latest and greatest in edgy, artsy and foreign flicks.

The Angelika café on the main floor is a great place to dabble in pre-movie lattes or even organic sandwiches (dinner and a movie all in one place!). It’s so popular, actually, that it’s not uncommon for non-moviegoers to stop in to enjoy tasty treats and health shakes among chandelier and columns of the lavish, old-fashioned lobby.

BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
Web site
Normal Ticket Price: $12

Across the river, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, hub of all things art, operates a four-screen theater in what was formerly the academy’s music hall. That means pretty, historic spaces with excellent acoustics. Three screens show first-run independent and foreign films, and the fourth is dedicated to BAMcinématek, a program that shows repertory classics. Also keep an eye out for special film festivals.

Tickets cost $12 for adults and $9 for seniors and students 25 and under (do note that the student price is valid only Monday through Thursday). Matinees, Monday through Thursday before 5 p.m. and Sunday before 3 p.m. can be seen for $8.

Your favorite movie theater in New York?

Have a theater to add to our list? Tell us about it in the comments section.

About the author

Suzanne Russo

About the author: Suzanne Russo thinks of herself as equal parts California Girl and New Yorker. She moved from San Francisco to New York four years ago to pursue her MA in English, and her obsession with all things New York life and history hasn’t dwindled yet. She is a freelance writer, director of the San Francisco-sponsored, New York literary pub crawl, Lit Crawl, and constant wanderer.

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One thought on “New York: The best movie theaters for foreign films”

  1. At Kew Gardens Cinemas, one can see foreign and independent films. For someone traveling from Manhattan, it is a very easy train ride on the LIRR from Penn Station to the Kew Gardens station. The theater and a restaurant called Austin Ale House are each a block away.

    Website: http://www.kewgardenstheatre.com/

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