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Film Programs
Personal Problems

September 21 at 2:00
East Building Auditorium

Ishmael Reed in person

From 1979 to 1981, with little money but extraordinary talent, a group of avant-garde artists assembled in New York to produce what poet, playwright, artist, and essayist Ishmael Reed calls an “experimental soap opera” with a largely African American cast and crew. Unusual in the history of cinema, the actors in Personal Problems define their own roles and then improvise, avoiding the stereotypes usually offered by Hollywood. After a flurry of showings in the early 1980s, the remaining fifty-four video copies of Personal Problems lay in Reed’s attic for three decades. The film was restored for theatrical rerelease just last year. “A startling, totally idiosyncratic work of art” — Artforum. (Ishmael Reed and Bill Gunn, 1980, 165 minutes)

courtesy Kino Lorber

Film Programs

The National Gallery of Art’s film program provides many opportunities throughout the year to view classic and contemporary cinema from around the world.

View the current schedule here.

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