Wall Street Goes to the Movies With Scorsese, Lavender Gelato

(Bloomberg) -- Apollo Global Management’s Gary Parr likes to eat dark chocolate at the movies. Goldman Sachs alum Steve Wisch of El Dorado Partners goes for his childhood favorite Milk Duds.

And it’s popcorn for Roy Furman, a Wall Street veteran who along with Parr and Wisch made do without their preferred snacks during Film at Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary gala.

Wall Street Goes to the Movies With Scorsese, Lavender Gelato

What popped Monday night was the organization’s new name (dropping "Society" to sound more inclusive, said Executive Director and Raisinets fan Lesli Klainberg) and its impact on the stature of cinema in the U.S.

Wall Street Goes to the Movies With Scorsese, Lavender Gelato

Presenting film next to opera, ballet, theater and classical music was a bold move in 1969, when the art form was considered “low culture, right down at the very bottom with comic books,” Martin Scorsese said.

Wall Street Goes to the Movies With Scorsese, Lavender Gelato

Film at Lincoln Center elevated it with the mission “to promote, protect and love film as an art,” Chairwoman Ann Tenenbaum said.

Patrons got plenty of proof with dozens of iconic film clips spanning five decades, from Akira Kurosawa and Jean-Luc Godard to Frederick Wiseman and Barbara Kopple, with a request for an orgy in Paul Mazursky’s “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” thrown in for good measure.

There was a peek at Luis Bunuel’s “The Exterminating Angel,” which opened the first New York Film Festival in 1963, and Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me,” his first film.

Through special programs and daily screenings in its theaters -- the Walter Reade opened in 1991, the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in 2011 -- Film at Lincoln Center has challenged and educated audiences, and brought exposure to young, foreign and overlooked filmmakers.

“People with names you didn’t know, whose films you didn’t know, suddenly pushed out,” said Furman, a past board president.

Wall Street Goes to the Movies With Scorsese, Lavender Gelato

It didn’t always go smoothly. In the 1970s, at a free showing in a city park of a short called “Pigs,” people in the audience threw beer cans at the screen. They thought it was about the police, not actual pigs, said Joanne Koch, who headed the group for more than 32 years.

A fabulous quirk of an organization devoted to film is that no matter how cool or avant-garde its patrons and staffers, stars glam up the atmosphere.

Wall Street Goes to the Movies With Scorsese, Lavender Gelato

Directors Pedro Almodovar and Jim Jarmusch kept their sunglasses on as fans snapped photos in the lobby of Alice Tully Hall. Tilda Swinton was ethereal even as she shared the mundane detail that her family watches movies in the kitchen. Jake Gyllenhaal’s good looks got him the part of plying the audience for donations.

Cute couple Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan spoke about the “kid in the lobby” they met one cold winter night at Film at Lincoln Center, who months later showed up to see “Wildlife,” a movie they wrote together, with Dano directing. It was but one piece of evidence of the bond that forms among strangers who sit together in dark rooms to see films.

The evening closed with a well-lit dinner and live music. “Billions” actor Bryan Connerty and directors Dee Rees (“Mudbound”) and Jimmy Chin (“Free Solo”) mingled near Deven Parekh of Insight Partners, Jonah Sonnenborn of Access Industries and Lazard’s Scott Hoffman. The nourishment rose above theater concession stands with pan-seared salmon, yellow lentils and lavender gelato.

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