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Release Date: August 15, 2008

From Classic to Contemporary: National Gallery of Art Announces Fall 2008 Film Season

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art fall 2008 film program includes a diverse offering from the classics to the contemporary with recent films by American Indian, Swiss, and Hungarian directors to archival works by well-known filmmakers Jules Dassin, Josef von Sternberg, David Lean, and Edward Curtis. The Gallery will also include the Washington premiere of two new films, one about art collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel and the other about Muslim workers in a Paris suburb; a stunning BBC production about Jan van Eyck's masterpiece, The Annunciation (c. 1434/1436), on view in the Gallery's collection; and a new documentary about Swiss artist Albert Giacometti, among others. All films are presented in the East Building Concourse Large Auditorium.

Programs are free of charge. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Programs are subject to change. For details about each film and updates, visit


Film Indians Now!
October 4
November 1, 22
December 6
In association with the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), this series of films and discussions focuses on the portrayal of Native Americans in contemporary moving–image culture. Featuring eight separate events—four at the National Gallery and four at the NMAI—the series is offered in conjunction with the exhibitions George de Forest Brush: The Indian Paintings at the Gallery and Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian at the NMAI. For a complete listing of all eight events at both museums, visit

(Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg for Walt Disney Pictures, 1995, 35 mm animation, 84 minutes)
preceded by Conversion
(Nanobah Becker, 2006, digital beta, Navajo with subtitles, 8 minutes)
Moderated discussion with Patricia Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Meida, American University, filmmaker Nanobah Becker, and Gabrielle Tayac, research assistant, NMAI follows the screenings.

October 4 at 2:00

(Shane Belcourt, 2007, 35 mm, 102 minutes)
Moderated discussion with filmmakers Shane Belcourt and Christine Vachon follows the film.
November 1 at 2:00

A FUTURE REALIZED: Films by Today's Indian
November 22 at 2:00
Moderated discussion with curator Gerald McMaster and filmmakers Jeff Barnaby, Kevin Lee Burton, Dustinn Craig, Ramona Emerson, and Andrew Okpeaha MacLean follows the films.

(Francis Ford Coppola, 1972, 35 mm, 175 minutes)
December 6 at 2:00
Moderated discussion with filmmaker Chris Eyre and Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, follows the program Spotlight Switzerland.

New Swiss Cinema
October 10, 11, 12
Discovering art in diverse and incongruous places is the pretext behind this stellar presentation of documentaries and fictional works from Swiss directors Thomas Imbach, Peter Liechti, Georges Gachot, Christoph Schaub, and Michael Schindhelm, all members of Switzerland's rising independent film community. Featuring six area premieres, the series coincides with a celebration of Swiss music in the Gallery's West garden court.

Roman Signer: Signer's Koffer
(Peter Liechti, 1996, 35 mm, Swiss-German with subtitles, 80 minutes)
October 10 at 2:00

Hardcore Chamber Music
(Peter Liechti, 2006, 35mm, Swiss-German with subtitles, 72 minutes)
October 11 at 12:30

Bird's Nest: Herzog and de Meuron in China
(Christoph Schaub and Michael Schindhelm, 2008, digital beta, 88 minutes)
October 11 at 2:00

I Was a Swiss Banker
(Thomas Imbach, 2007, 35 mm, English, Swiss German, and Danish with subtitles, 75 minutes)
followed by Lenz
(Thomas Imbach, 2006, 35 mm, German with subtitles, 92 minutes)
October 11 at 4:00

Maria Bethânia: Music is Perfume
(Georges Gachot, 2005, 35 mm, Portuguese with English subtitles, 82 minutes)
Georges Gachot in person
October 12 at 4:00

Martha Argerich: Evening Conversations
(Georges Gachot, 2003, 35 mm, English, French, German with subtitles, 63 minutes)
October 12 at 5:45

Jules Dassin, American Abroad
October 18, 26
American director Jules Dassin (1911–2008), son of a barber from Connecticut, abandoned a promising Hollywood career during the blacklisting era of the 1950s and resettled in Europe. Marrying actress and, later, Greek culture minister Melina Mercouri, he shared a passion for Greek art and even urged the return of the Parthenon sculptures to Greece. Dassin's stance toward his life abroad is apparent in his work.

(1962, 35 mm, 115 minutes)
October 18 at 2:30

Rififi (Du rififi chez les homes)
(1955, 35 mm, 122 minutes)
Introduction by Jay Carr
October 26 at 4:30

Roman Ruins Rebuilt
October 25
November 15, 23
Complementing the exhibition Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples, this program features three variations on the theme of reconstructing the ancient Roman world—the arenas, houses, baths, and temples—for the cinema. Martin M. Winkler, professor of classics at George Mason University introduces each program. Winkler has edited the essay collections Classical Myth and Culture in the Cinema; Gladiator: Film and History; Troy: From Homer's Iliad to Hollywood Epic; and Spartacus: Film and History.

The Last Days of Pompeii
(Total running time approximately 198 minutes with intermission)
Introduction by Martin Winkler
October 25 at 2:00

Antony and Cleopatra (Marcantonio e Cleopatra)
(Enrico Guazzoni for Cinès, 1913, 16 mm, 80 minutes)
Introduction by Martin Winkler
James Doering on piano
Premiere of original 1914 score
November 15 at 3:00

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
(Richard Lester, 1966, 35 mm, 100 minutes)
Introduction by Martin Winkler
November 23 at 4:30

Josef von Sternberg, Master of Mood
November 8, 15, 29, 30
December 14
Although Josef von Sternberg's oeuvre is often linked with actress Marlene Dietrich, this director's relatively unknown early work was accomplished largely without the German diva. A six-film series includes two silent films that established his reputation as a poet of setting and mood.
Special thanks to Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna; the George Eastman House; and UCLA Film
and Television Archive.

The Salvation Hunters
(1925, 35 mm, silent with live accompaniment, 79 minutes)
Andrew Simpson on piano
November 8 at 2:00

Children of Divorce
Andrew Simpson on piano
November 8 at 4:00

(1929, 35 mm, 95 minutes)
November 15 at 12:30

The Docks of New York
(1928, 35 mm, silent with live accompaniment, 96 minutes)
Donald Sosin on piano, Joanna Seaton vocals
preceded by The Immigrant
(Charles Chaplin, 1917, 35 mm, 30 minutes)
November 29 at 4:00

An American Tragedy
(1931, 35 mm, 94 minutes)
November 30 at 4:30

(1931, 35 mm, 90 minutes)
December 14 at 4:30

David Lean Restored
December 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
The early films of Sir David Lean (1908-1991) have been restored for his centennial by the British Film Institute National Archive, Granada International, and Studio Canal. Although Lean's later 70 mm epics are generally better known, these films of the 1940s are so elegant and alive, so well written and constructed that, penned critic David Thomson, "they seem in love with the screen's power." Special thanks to the British Film Institute and David Lean Foundation.

Blithe Spirit
(1945, 35 mm, 95 minutes)
December 19 at 2:00
December 20 at 4:30

In Which We Serve
(1942, 35 mm, 114 minutes)
December 20 at 2:00

This Happy Breed
(1944, 35 mm, 110 minutes)
December 21 at 2:00

Great Expectations
(1946, 35 mm, 118 minutes)
December 21 at 4:30

Oliver Twist
(1948, 35 mm, 116 minutes)
December 26 at 2:30
December 27 at 12:30

(1949, 35 mm, 114 minutes)
December 27 at 3:00

Brief Encounter
(1946, 35 mm, 86 minutes)
December 28 at 2:00

The Passionate Friends
(1949, 35 mm, 95 minutes)
December 28 at 4:30

Péter Forgács
December 7, 13
The photographs, films, and media installations of Hungarian avant-garde artist Péter Forgács captivate with their unique combination of style and layered historical content. While his themes are not easy—family, war, philosophy, vanishing times and places—the films themselves are magical, constructing ephemeral spaces from amateur footage and forgotten texts. Forgács' introductory lecture is followed by three recent films.

Film, Memory, and Amnesia
(Approximately 50 minutes)
This program is made possible by funds given in memory of Rajiv Vaidya.
Lecture by Péter Forgács
December 7 at 2:00

Miss Universe of 1929
(Péter Forgács, 2006, digital beta, German with subtitles, 70 minutes)
Presented in association with the Washington Jewish Film Festival.
December 7 at 3:30

Own Death
(Péter Forgács, 2007, digital beta, 118 minutes)
December 7 at 5:00

I am Von Höfler
(Péter Forgács, 2008, digital beta, Hungarian with subtitles, 160 minutes)
December 13 at 2:00


Derek (A Portrait of Derek Jarman)
October 5 at 4:30
Tilda Swinton and Isaac Julien pooled talents to create this experimental portrait of their friend and mentor, British artist-director Derek Jarman (1942–1994). Jarman's daring theater designs and films such as Caravaggio and Edward II made one of England's most controversial twentieth-century personalities. His milieu comes alive in the film's dramatic sequences and home movie footage. (Isaac Julien, 2008, digital beta, 76 minutes)

Alberto Giacometti, Eyes on the Horizon
(Included in Spotlight Switzerland festival)
October 8, 9, and 10 at 12:30
A new documentary on the Swiss artist draws from Giacometti's Écrits (Writings), memories of friends and collectors, and brilliant location cinematography of the spaces where he lived and worked. (Heinz Bütler, 2006, digital beta, 58 minutes)

New Masters of European Cinema: Dernier maquis (The Last Underground)
Washington premiere
Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche in person
October 19 at 4:30
The premier event in an ongoing quarterly program spotlighting the work of young European film directors, Dernier maquis's beautifully orchestrated shots and plan-séquences disclose a series of grim complications among Muslim workers at a remote industrial site in a Paris suburb. Director Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche (who plays site foreman in the film) is present to discuss his work. (2008, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 93 minutes)

New Short Films from Europe
November 2 at 4:30
A selection of new short films from Europe includes many enchanting live action and animated works, among them Mic Jean-Louis (Cathy Sebbah, 2007), L'Escale (Shalimar Preuss, 2007), Résistance aux tremblements (Olivier Hems, 2008), Taxi wala (Lola Frederich, 2006), La Svedese (Nicolas Liguori, 2007) and Auf der Strecke (On the Line) (Reto Caffi, 2008).

In the Land of the Headhunters
Live appearance by Coast Orchestra
November 9 at 6:30
In 1914, eight years before Robert Flaherty's renowned Nanook of the North, photographer Edward S. Curtis made a dramatic feature with native North Americans from British Columbia's Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) nation. Long forgotten (the film had one brief revival in the 1970s), In the Land of the Headhunters has now come into its own with a full restoration of the print and the original orchestral score. (Edward S. Curtis, 1914, 35 mm, live accompaniment by the all-native Coast Orchestra, 76 minutes)

Herb and Dorothy
Herb and Dorothy Vogel and Megumi Sasaki in person
November 16 at 4:30
With modest means, postal clerk and librarian Herbert and Dorothy Vogel began buying contemporary art in the 1960s and eventually amassed one of the finest collections anywhere. Following this screening of her new documentary, director Megumi Sasaki will lead an audience discussion. (Megumi Sasaki, 2008, digital beta, 89 minutes)

The Exiles
November 28 at 1:00 and 3:00
November 29 at 1:00
A neglected but now restored jewel, The Exiles portrays, in impromptu style reminiscent of John Cassavetes, the relocation of Native Americans from their rural reservations to downtown Los Angeles in the late 1950s. "British director Mackenzie has an ear for the poetry of ritualized interaction," wrote one critic, "and an eye for the glint of the hard light on city streets." (Kent Mackenzie, 1961, 35 mm, 72 minutes)

The Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece: The Annunciation
December 10 through December 12 at 12:30
December 17 through December 19 at 12:30
December 24 and Friday December 26 at 12:30
Conservators and curators from the UK and US disclose details of the history, iconography, and preservation of one of the great works by Jan van Eyck in the National Gallery of Art's collection. (BBC, 2006, digital beta, 50 minutes)

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

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