This weekend sees the opening of Museum of the Moving Image's invaluable First Look series. Now in its third year, First Look has carved out a niche for itself as a kind of quirky, more experimental cousin to the venerable New York Film Festival. Or, perhaps it's more accurate to call it the internationally-minded sister of the American indie focused BAMcinemaFest. The series has afforded New Yorkers their first chance to see films from Chantal Akerman's Almayer's Folly to Bruno Dumont's Outside Satan, and this year's lineup features a mix of big names (a new film from Godfrey Reggio!) and plenty of up-and-comers.

Readers of this blog should make some time for The Inner Jungle, which screens Saturday, January 11 at 4:15PM. Here is the programmers' description:

Filmmaking doesn’t get more intimate than Juan Barrero’s unique autobiographical film The Inner Jungle. The main on-camera subject is Barrero’s girlfriend, Gala Pérez Iñesta. Before a long scientific expedition to the Galapagos Islands, Juan takes Gala to his childhood town, where they talk about their future plans. When he returns from the jungle five months later to find that Gala is pregnant, Barrero uses his camera to candidly—and lyrically—record the wide range of feelings that pass between the couple. Evocatively drawing links between his own life and Darwin’s account of an orchid’s and mosquito’s symbiosis through insemination, Barrero’s film expresses the strange combination of terror and amazement surrounding romance and pregnancy.

Iñesta, a superb violinist, will give a brief live performance after the screening. Any attempt to grapple with Darwin's ideas is a special treat, and this seems an especially personal and idiosyncratic outing.

More on the second weekend of First Look offerings in this space next Friday.