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Film Programs
Canceled: Personal Problems

January 6 at 4:00
East Building Auditorium

Ishmael Reed in person

This event has been canceled.

From 1979 to 1981, with little money but exceptional talent, a group of avant-garde artists assembled in New York to produce what American poet, playwright, artist, and essayist Ishmael Reed calls an “experimental soap opera” with a largely African American cast and crew. Their leader was the late Bill Gunn, whose film Ganga and Hess has been hailed as a horror classic. Unusual in the history of cinema, the actors in Personal Problems define themselves and their roles, and they largely improvise, thereby avoiding the stereotypes offered up by Hollywood. After a flurry of showings in 1981, the remaining fifty-four video copies of Personal Problems lay in Reed’s attic for three decades until they were rediscovered by curator Jake Perlin, who carried a copy to Lincoln Center and BAMcinématek at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Now, in a new restoration from Kino Lorber, Personal Problems is “a startling, totally idiosyncratic work of art” — Nick Pinkerton, 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.

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