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Astoria’s Museum of Moving Image to showcase 70mm films, celebrate hip-hop in series of summer events

MoMI’s “70mm!” film series will feature Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” among other titles. (Photo courtesy of MoMI)

July 3, 2023 By John Schilling

The Museum of Moving Image (MoMI) in Astoria will undergo some changes and offer some new experiences for visitors to enjoy this summer, including new film screenings and updates to current exhibits.

Like in years past, the Museum of Moving Image will host “See It Big: 70mm!” its annual summer film series featuring “a selection of classic and contemporary films in the 70mm film format.”

“With a higher resolution and more light hitting the frame, 70mm film offers a bigger, brighter image than 35mm,” according to MoMI’s description of the event. “It also offers richer sound, with more space on the soundtrack. It is the ideal film format for ambitious cinematic spectacles, yet with the transition to digital filmmaking, 70mm movies have become increasingly rare.”

Among the series’ featured filmmakers include Christopher Nolan and Jordan Peele, as well as John Carpenter’s “Starman,” Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” George Seaton’s Oscar-winning “Airport,” and Stanley Kubick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” MoMI will screen these films at various days and times from Aug. 3 to Aug. 27 with $20 tickets going on sale to the public on July 4.

At the end of August, MoMI will also screen Paramount Pictures’ “Airplane!” which will launch a new ongoing comedy series scheduled for Saturday and Sunday matinees.

Until then, MoMI will feature films from the 1970s and 1980s, as a part of its ongoing “See It Big: Summer Movies” series. These titles, which will run through July 28, include sci-fi classics like the original “Star Wars” trilogy and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” as well as “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “An American Werewolf in London,” “Purple Rain,” “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Body Heat,” “La Bamba,” and “Chocolat.”

Alongside the 70mm! series, MoMI will also launch “Real Rap: Hip-Hop Star Power on Screen,” a new film series that will celebrate hip-hop’s half-century legacy.

“To commemorate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, this film series celebrates the insatiable beats and lyrics of hip-hop, which have proliferated throughout every borough, every corner of the United States and all over the world,” according to a description of the film series. “By focusing on hip-hop artists who have appeared on the big screen, including Queen Latifah, Tupac and Ice Cube, this series shows how rapper-actor’s artistry came to transform pop culture, transcending music to find brilliant expression and ultimately reshaping and redefining movie stardom.”

Tupac as Lucky in “Poetic Justice.” (Photo courtesy of MoMI)

This new hip-hop series will include John Singleton’s “Baby Boy” and “Poetic Justice,” Sanaa Hamri’s “Just Wright,” Tim Story’s “Barbershop,” Curtis Hanson’s “8 Mile” and John Carpenter’s “Ghost of Mars,” with more films to be announced in the coming weeks.

In terms of updates to MoMI, one of its most popular ongoing galleries, The Jim Henson Exhibition, welcomed a set of six new puppets last week that may look familiar to older crowds. The puppets, designed by Henson and his company, were featured in a recurring segment on the very first season of “Saturday Night Live” in 1975 that was set in “a swampy, vaguely extraterrestrial world” referred to as “The Land of Gorch.”

As for changes, later this month, the museum’s Refreshing The Loop passenger-elevator will receive its second installation with works by New York-based artists Pastiche Lumumba and Katherina “Kate the Cursed” Jesek.

Lumumba, whose work examines the power dynamics of “masculinity and Blackness,” and Jesek, whose work focuses on “outdated display technology” and “cyberpunk aesthetics,” will have their works featured in the exhibition from July 28 until Oct. 8. 

Additionally, this summer will be the last opportunity for visitors to check out Cinema of Sensations: The Never-Ending Screen of Val del Omar, an exhibition that opened at MoMI earlier this year and features the work of the late Spanish filmmaker José Val del Omar. After four months on display in the Changing Exhibitions Gallery, the exhibition will remain open throughout the rest of the summer and close on Oct. 1.

José Val del Omar in one of his laboratories. (Photo courtesy of the Val del Omar Archive)

For more information on MoMI’s upcoming exhibits, visit

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