New York's Most Artsy Art House Gets Fratty For A Night

by BILLY GRAY · June 8, 2010

    Liz Lemon once tried to impress a friend by saying she'd seen a Truffaut retrospective at Anthology Film Archives; a flashback showed her on line for Hot Tub Time Machine. But while the indie to the bone movie theater hasn't gone blockbuster, a double bill tomorrow night centers--kinda--around beer and the excessive consumption of it. 

    Wednesday's screenings of Beer War and I Know the Way to the Hofbrauhaus kick off a 5-day Herbert Achternbusch program. As you no doubt already know, Achternbusch is a German writer and filmmaker with an "anarchist surrealist" bent whose previous retrospective at Anthology ten years ago was the talk of the (cinephiles in) town.

    But if you think Beer War and I Know the Way to the Hofbrauhaus sound like standard bro comedy fare, or perhaps sneak peeks of a sequel to The Hangover, think again. As per Anthology's website, Beer War is "a story of alienation...and suicidal police offers" in which the eponymous, Hofbrauhaus-set conflict "serves as a symbolic place, where the beer war is the struggle for existence faced by an individualist who diverges from the norms of a homogenous society." As for I Know the Way to the Hofbrauhaus, well:

    "In the Egyptian Collection in Munich, the director’s alter-ego, Hick, is cleaning the statue of Osiris. He asks a favor from the deity – a rendezvous with the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut. His request is granted, and the bite of a snake turns him into the un-dead. As in many of Achternbusch’s films, the characters enter an intermediate realm where the dead interact with the living."

    So neither is a conventional, lighthearted, often boozy summer romp at the movies. But based on those descriptions, it sounds like you'll be ready for a drink after the screenings let out.