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Pacino’s Way features classic films and some lesser-known gems

The weekslong celebration of the New York icon includes screenings of “The Godfather,” “Scarface” and “Sea of Love.”

Al Pacino's unforgettable role as Tony Montana in

Al Pacino's unforgettable role as Tony Montana in "Scarface" is one of dozens of performances you can experience at Pacino's Way. Photo Credit: Universal / Everett Collection via The Quad

He is Michael Corleone, Serpico and Tony Montana, an icon among icons, as famous and beloved as anyone in the history of movies.

We have known Al Pacino, watched him and celebrated him for decades.

Yet the programmers of Pacino’s Way, an enormous retrospective of this one-of-a-kind career opening at the Quad Cinema on Wednesday, maintain that their festival offers the opportunity to experience a new and different side of the 77-year-old, Bronx-raised legend.

“There’s a lot of range in what someone like Pacino can do,” Quad senior programmer Gavin Smith says. “People associate him with certain iconic things like ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Scarface,’ but actually there’s a lot more diversity in what he did as an actor. You just have to look at the less well-known, the less splashy films to see he really has a big range.”

To highlight the scope of Pacino’s work — to show the universe beyond the showy “hooah,” “Scent of a Woman” archetype — the festival incorporates movies in which the actor gives far more subdued and introverted performances.

Smith and fellow programmer C. Mason Wells highlight films like “Manglehorn,” in which Pacino plays a lonely locksmith, or “Sea of Love,” where his depressed detective grapples with the probability that the love of his life is a serial killer, to highlight that Pacino is someone who can do “quiet, just as naturally as he can do loud,” as Wells puts it.

The opportunity to re-discover Pacino at the Quad this month extends to a swath of experimental work, including his 1996 documentary “Looking for Richard,” which takes a self-reflexive look at the staging of “Richard III” and the larger significance of Shakespeare in contemporary life.

“The argument here is that Pacino is a lot deeper and stranger than people often give him credit for,” Wells says.

Pacino’s Way ends with the New York premiere of a double feature by the star that illustrates the unique, relentless curiosity that has both shaped his professional life and set him apart from his contemporaries.

Beginning March 30, the Quad will house runs of “Salomé,” an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s one-act play directed by and starring Pacino (as well as Jessica Chastain); and “Wilde Salomé,” his making-of documentary about it.

“Wilde Salomé and Salomé have been and continue to be extremely close to my heart,” Pacino says in a statement. “They are an experimental journey that transcend time; a tribute to the genius of Oscar Wilde that lead me to discover the talents of Jessica Chastain. My hopes for this release are that people will delve back into the wonderful works of Oscar Wilde, which are still as relevant today as the day they were originally penned.”

The essence of Pacino, of course, is that of a great New York actor. He is all-but synonymous with his hometown, thanks to everything from “The Panic in Needle Park” to “The Godfather,” “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and so many more classics.

“There’s a ferocity, there’s an energy, there’s an eccentricity to the work that feels very New York,” Wells says.

Pacino is confirmed to make an in-person appearance at screenings of “Revolution” and the Salomé movies, and he can’t wait.

“I am grateful and looking forward to coming home,” Pacino says. “Greenwich Village, where the Quad is located, is where I developed as a young actor. It will be an honor for me to revisit my films alongside old colleagues.”

The festival is showing at the Quad Cinema at 34 W. 13th St. from Wednesday, March 14, through March 29.


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