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Remembrance: Two Films by Edward Owens

  • Wednesday, February 16, 2022
  • 12:00 p.m.
  • Week-long Film Presentation
  • Virtual Program

Little known until recently, Edward Owens’s short, 16mm films represent an interest in portraiture and a compelling, intimate view of interior spaces, especially those of the artist’s mother. With special thanks to the Filmmakers’ Cooperative for permission to share these digital transfers of the films, and to Ed Halter, who interviewed Owens in 2009 shortly before the filmmaker’s death. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition James Van Der Zee’s Photographs: A Portrait of Harlem.

Remembrance: A Portrait Study
“The music is by Marilyn Monroe singing ‘Running Wild’ from Some Like It Hot, because it’s a film portrait of Nettie Thomas. She did floors in white women’s homes, like Black women did to support their families in the olden days. My mother is sitting in a wicker chair with an ostrich feather boa, a grey worsted wool skirt, a silk belt. For her portrait, I used ‘All Cried Out’ by Dusty Springfield.”—Edward Owens (1967, 16mm to digital, 6 minutes)

Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts
“A montage of still and moving images, mixing and alternating Black people and white people, fantasy and reality, a presidential suite and a mother’s kitchen: a sensitive, poetic evocation in the manner of the filmmaker’s Remembrance. Brilliantly colored and nostalgic, it comprises a magical transformation of painterly collage and still photographic sensibility into filmic time and space.”— Charles Boultenhouse, filmmaker (1968–1970, 16mm to digital, silent, 6 minutes)

Click here to learn more about the Film Programs: Virtual Cinema at the National Gallery.
Join us during the week of March 16–22, 2022, for Body and Soul (Oscar Micheaux, 1921, 75 minutes), an example of an early “race film,” and icon Paul Robeson’s debut screen performance.