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Rooftop Cinema

View the full film lineup for the 2022 Rooftop Cinema.

people seated on the Museum Rooftop Sculpture Garden for Rooftop Cinema

2022 Program

Thursdays at 8 PM • August 4, 11, 25, and September 1

Bring a friend, bring a blanket or camp chairs, and prepare yourself for an evening of independent films and videos under the stars. Rooftop Cinema returns to the Museum’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden each Thursday this August for its seventeenth season. Films begin at sundown, approximately 8 PM.

Rooftop Cinema is a program of MMoCA’s education department and is curated by James Kreul. MMoCA’s film programming is generously funded by maiahaus and Venture Investors, LLC.

Ticket Information

  • Rooftop Cinema is $7 per screening, or free for MMoCA members and anyone age 18 and younger.
  • Ticket sales begin at 7:30 PM on the Third Floor.
  • Screenings relocate to the Lecture Hall if rain is predicted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is seating is provided?
Limited seating is provided, but bringing a blanket or a chair is encouraged for more comfort.

Is the rooftop restaurant open?
MMoCA does not currently have a rooftop restaurant, so there is no bar or restaurant food being served.

Will there be any snacks or refreshments available for purchase?
Yes. Water and snacks are available for purchase. Carry-ins are not allowed.

When does the film start?
The film start times are approximate and depends on sunset and light levels.

Where will tickets be sold?
Ticket sales are on the Third Floor.

Covid Policy for Attendees

  • Masks are highly recommended indoors and when interacting with Museum staff.
  • Masks are encouraged outdoors when social distancing cannot be easily maintained.

film still showing an older person wearing trousers and a suit blazer standing in front of a building, with a television screen on the exterior that reads "to take courageous steps for freedom today"
Film still from The American Sector (2020) directed by Courtney Stephens and Pacho Velez. Image courtesy of Grasshopper Film.

Thursday, August 4, 8 PM: The American Sector

Courtney Stephens, Pacho Velez | USA | 2020 | 69 minutes

Acclaimed documentarians Courtney Stephens and Pacho Velez (Manakamana, The Reagan Show) explore how the preservation and display of relics from the Cold War era can inform us about current American culture and politics. Stephens and Velez visit sections of the Berlin Wall on display in over 75 locations across the United States, ranging from the serious (Fort Benning, Georgia) to the bizarre (a casino in Las Vegas).

“An exemplary work of cinema as political action. A film that powerfully evokes the active presence of history in daily civic life—and reveals the politics that inhere in its commemoration. Yields extraordinary results through audacious methods.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Learn more about this film on the distributor’s website.

Singer Poly Styrene singing into a microphone on stage, wearing a suit blazer or jacket
Film still from Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché (2021) directed by Celeste Bell and Paul Sng. Image courtesy of Kino Library.

Thursday, August 11, 8 PM: Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché

Celeste Bell, Paul Sng | UK | 2021 | 96 minutes

Poly Styrene was the first woman of color in England to front a successful rock band, X-Ray Specs. She introduced the world to a new sound of rebellion, using her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, and everything she saw unfolding in late 1970s Britain. Misogyny, racism, and mental illness plagued Poly’s life, scarring her relationship with her daughter Celeste, who became the unwitting guardian of her mother’s legacy. Celeste examines her mother’s diaries and a previously unopened artistic archive to better understand Poly the icon and Poly the mother.

“More than a journeyman rockumentary, Poly Styrene is a thoughtfully finessed filial reckoning: a daughter’s journey toward understanding her mother as a young artist and as a young woman of color.” –Lisa Kennedy, New York Times

Watch the official trailer.

film still showing a person's face with metal textures over-layed on their face
Film still from The Village Detective: a song cycle (2021) directed by Bill Morrison. Image courtesy of Kino Lorber.

Thursday, August 25, 8 PM: The Village Detective: a song cycle

Bill Morrison | USA | 2021 | 81 minutes

In 2016, a fishing boat off the shores of Iceland caught four reels of 35mm film, seemingly of Soviet provenance, in its nets. The discovery wasn’t a lost work of major importance, but an incomplete print of a popular Soviet comedy from 1969, starring the beloved Russian actor Mihail Žarov. Bill Morrison, whose previous films Decasia and Dawson City: Frozen Time utilize lost, deteriorating footage, believes that the water-damaged print can be seen as a fitting reflection on the film work of Žarov, who re-emerges from the bottom of the sea 50 years later like a Russian Rip Van Winkle. Morrison uses the discovery as a jumping off point for his latest meditation on cinema’s past.

“Morrison’s movies feel like half-remembered reveries formed from memories you can no longer consciously recall. Hovering at the intersection of reappropriation, preservation, history, music, and art, any one of his works will haunt you for the rest of your life.” –Dan Schindel, Hyperallergic

Watch the official trailer.

Press: New York Times, NPR, Rolling Stone

person walking, wearing a winder jacket, jeans, and boots walking along a wall with a mural of the star portion of the American flag
Film still from North by Current (2021) directed by Angelo Madsen Minax. Image courtesy of Grasshopper Film.

Thursday, September 1, 8 PM: North by Current

Angelo Madsen Minax | USA | 2021 | 86 minutes

North by Current is a visual rumination on the understated relationships between mothers and children, truths and myths, losses and gains. After the inconclusive death of his young niece, filmmaker Angelo Madsen Minax returns to his rural Michigan hometown, preparing to make a film about a broken criminal justice system. Instead, he pivots to excavate the depths of generational addiction, Christian fervor, and trans embodiment. Lyrically assembled images, decades of home movies, and ethereal narration form an idiosyncratic and poetic undertow that guide a viewer through lifetimes and relationships. Like the relentless Michigan seasons, the meaning of family shifts, as Madsen, his sister, and his parents strive tirelessly to accept each other. North by Current was featured on the prestigious PBS documentary series P.O.V., and won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Milwaukee Film Festival.

“This kind of personal film has often been attempted (even before Tarnation made waves), but rarely with this insight…Out of the fractured family documentary, what emerges finally is a drama of self-realization. –Nicolas Rapold, New York Times