Michael Snow, artist. Internationally renowned multidisciplinary artist Michael Snow (b. 1928, Canada) visited the National Gallery of Art on February 8 and 9, 2014, to introduce two programs of his influential experimental films. The four titles included—Wavelength (1966), So Is This (1982), Back and Forth (1969), and One Second in Montreal (1969)—all consider the astonishing, but often unrecognized, effects of light, memory, and duration on perception. Michael Snow introduced each program, and graciously took questions from the audience after each screening.
Anna Winestein, historian and executive director of the Ballets Russes Cultural Partnership. In conjunction with the exhibition Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music, historian and executive director of the Ballets Russes Cultural Partnership Anna Winestein presented a lecture on August 10, 2013, about the contribution of Russian film professionals to Abel Gance’s legendary Napoléon. Parallels between the relationship of the Ballet Russes with European performing arts in the 1920s, and that of the Russian émigré film studio Albatros with European cinema were also explored.
Revered director and screenwriter Agnieszka Holland discusses her latest narrative feature In Darkness (2011) and the HBO Europe miniseries Burning Bush (2013). Both works are based on historic events—the struggle to survive in Nazi-occupied Poland and the revolutionary reaction to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, respectively—and illustrate with empathy the humanitarian and existential plight of various individuals. This event is made possible by funds given in memory of Rajiv Vaidya. With thanks to the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.
Edward Zwick, director, and Margaret Parsons, head of film programs, National Gallery of Art. In conjunction with the exhibition Tell It with Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw Memorial, and in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the new restoration of Glory was presented on September 15, 2013. First released in 1989, the feature dramatized the establishment of the first African American fighting unit as well as the July 18, 1863, storming of Fort Wagner (a turning point in the war). Director Edward Zwick spoke with Margaret Parsons, head of film programs, about the production of this landmark film.
Dr. Annette Insdorf, director of undergraduate film studies and professor in the graduate film program of Columbia University's School of the Arts, introduces a screening of Philip Kaufman’s 1988 feature film The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Dr. Insdorf, author of Philip Kaufman (Contemporary Film Director Series, 2011), discusses the adaptation of Czech writer Milan Kundera’s novel in the context of Kaufman’s other feature films, including The Right Stuff (1983) and The Wanderers (1979).
Recital by pianist and filmmaker Lincoln Mayorga. A Suitcase Full of Chocolate recounts the extraordinary history of Sofia Cosma, a brilliant concert pianist whose career was suppressed first by the Nazis and later by the Soviets. Years later, against all odds, Cosma reconstructed her life and profession as a performer in Romania, becoming one of the most celebrated pianists of Eastern Europe. The introduction by the documentary’s creator—concert pianist Lincoln Mayorga—includes live performances of work by composers Chopin and Rachmaninov (among others), with an overview of the history of Russian concert pianists from the last century using the experiences of Sofia Cosma as a prime example.