Release Date: March 12, 2010
Film Programs at National Gallery of Art this Spring Celebrate Spanish Film, the Beat Generation, Chopin, and More
Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art presents two landmark film series in April devoted to Spain's remarkable cinematic history—Catalunya: Poetry of Place and From Ecstasy to Rapture: A Journey through Spanish Experimental Film—in celebration of the exhibition The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture, 1600–1700, on view through May 31.
During April and May, the Gallery presents Still Voices, Inner Lives: The Journals of Alain Cavalier, a retrospective devoted to French filmmaker Alain Cavalier. Also in May, a series titled Moving Compositions: Aspects of Chopin celebrates the bicentennial of composer Fryderyk Chopin's birth.
June brings the series Beat Memories in honor of the exhibition Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (May 2–September 19, 2010). These films focus on musicians, filmmakers, playwrights, poets, painters, and protesters of the Beat and counterculture movements also explored in Ginsberg's photographs.
All films are shown in the East Building Auditorium. Programs are free of charge with seating available on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Programs are subject to change. Films are shown in original format. For current information, visit www.nga.gov/programs/film, or call (202) 842-6799.
Figaros Hochzeit (The Marriage of Figaro)
Saturday, April 17, at 1:00 p.m.
Introduction by Harry Silverstein
The postwar German DEFA studio (Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft) produced a series of popular black-and-white opera films in the late 1940s at their Potsdam-Babelsberg facility. Mozart's Figaros Hochzeit, the first of these, featured wonderfully showy sets and costumes. (Georg Wildhagen, 1949, 35 mm, German with subtitles, 109 minutes) Presented in association with Washington National Opera.
Flamenco at the Source
Sunday, April 18, at 4:30 p.m.
Screening and discussion with Brook Zern
Flamenco scholar Brook Zern presents segments from the renowned Rito y Geografía del Cante Flamenco—the vast ethnographic documentation of flamenco, completed in Spain 40 years ago, and featuring the art form's legendary traditional interpreters in the context of their everyday lives. Zern's focus is the diversity of flamenco song, from alegrías, guajiras, malagueñas, and granaínas to the poignant cante jondo. (120 minutes)
Battle of Wills
Friday, April 23, at 1:00 p.m.
Introduction by Anne Henderson
Convinced he owns the only portrait of Shakespeare painted from life, Canadian citizen Lloyd Sullivan has invested a fortune trying to prove his point. Battle of Wills moves from conservation labs in North America to galleries on Bond Street pursuing the puzzle behind a painting that still perplexes the art world. (Anne Henderson, 2008, HD-Cam, 52 minutes)
New Masters of European Cinema:
En construcción (Work in Progress)
Saturday, June 5, at 2:30 p.m.
José Luis Guerín in person
One of the most adventurous talents in recent European cinema is the Catalan filmmaker José Luis Guerín. Almost a decade ago he completed Work in Progress, a film that plays with the layered ambiguities of the visual world and the photographed image. Guerín's subject, the construction of an upscale condominium in a marginal Barcelona neighborhood, allows him to reflect on his own ideas about history and perception, "magically spinning a spellbinder from the simplest elements"—Harvard Film Archive. (José Luis Guerín, 2001, 35 mm, Spanish and Catalan with subtitles, 125 minutes)
De Vilde Svaner (The Wild Swans)
Sunday, June 6, at 4:30 p.m.
H. R. H. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark's original designs dramatically adorn a new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's 1838 tale about a princess who releases her 11 brothers from the spell of their evil queen mother. Queen Margrethe's costumes and painterly sets, constructed from her decoupage art, are the actors' sole milieu. (Peter Flinth and Ghita Nørby, 2009, 35 mm, Danish with subtitles, 60 minutes)
Monuments: Matta-Clark, Graham, Smithson
Redmond Entwistle in person
Saturday, June 19, at 2:00 p.m.
A clever and amusing critique of three minimalists, Monuments portrays a problem that emerges in the work of Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Dan Graham, as each artist retraces his relationship to New Jersey. "An allegory for the effects that globalization has had on society and landscape"—Rotterdam Film Festival. (Redmond Entwistle, 2009, 16 mm, 30 minutes)
Manhattan in 16 mm
Saturday, June 19, at 3:30 p.m.
A sequence of documentary and experimental shorts, filmed over the past 20 years in the now rare 16 mm gauge, observes, lionizes, and languishes over the city of New York and its denizens. Included are works by Jim Jennings, Jem Cohen, Peter Hutton, Barbara Hammer, Mark Street, and more. (Total running time 80 minutes)
Sunday, June 20, at 4:30 p.m.
Dennis James on theater organ
Abel Gance's passionate epic, shot during World War I and viewed today more as an innovative antiwar film than tragic triangular romance, has just been restored and reconstructed by the Netherlands Filmmuseum working with Lobster Films in Paris. The print incorporates the original tinted and toned sequences and represents the best historical material. (Abel Gance, 1919, 35 mm, silent with live music, 166 minutes)
From Ecstasy to Rapture: Experimental Film in Spain
An unprecedented retrospective of Spanish avant-garde cinema of the last 50 years, From Ecstasy to Rapture consists of six programs arranged by theme and technique, in archival prints and preservation video transfers. Presented as part of the Preview Spain: Arts & Culture '10 program and through the cooperation of the Embassy of Spain, Spain–USA Foundation, and Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona. Special thanks to Francisco Tardio Baeza and curators Antoni Pinent and Andres Hispano. Sound films are subtitled in English.
Saturday, April 3, at 2:00 p.m.
A program of shorts and réalités including the work of visionary filmmakers José Val del Omar and José Luis Guerín, architect Gabriel Blanco, and artists Benet Rossell, Antoni Miralda, and Virginia García del Pino. (Total running time 85 minutes)
Saturday, April 3, at 4:00 p.m.
An eclectic mix of Super-8 mm shorts and 16 mm found-footage films (transferred to video) contrasts the work of film artists from divergent generations: the 1970s avant-garde and younger filmmakers active during the last decade. Included are works by Toni Serra, Jesús Pérez-Miranda, Eugeni Bonet, Marcel Pey, Luis Cerveró, Juan Bufill, Lope Serrano Sol, Maximiliano Viale, Oriol Sánchez, Manuel Huerga, and others. (Total running time 70 minutes)
Friday, April 9, at 2:30 p.m.
The only feature in the history of Spanish cinema constructed entirely by hand-painting directly on celluloid, devoid of figurative elements or soundtrack, Movement/Painting is a spectacular composition of pure and beautiful abstraction. (José Antonio Sistiaga, 1968–1970, 35 mm, silent, 70 minutes)
Animated Experiments: Rhythm, Light, Color
followed by Investigations/Metacinema
Saturday, April 10, at 2:00 p.m.
A survey of experimental animation in the Spanish cinema illustrates one of the most inventive of all art forms, with techniques ranging from stop-motion to collage, sand-on-glass animation, and camera-less cinema. Artists include Josep Mestres, Fermí Marimón, Joaquim Puigvert, Begoña Vicario, Izebene Oñederra, Jordi Artigas, Isabel Herguera, Eugenio Granell, Marcel Pié Barba, Frederic Amat, and Juan Pablo Etcheverry. (Total running time 70 minutes)
Reflections on the nature of the medium and connections among film and other art forms are explored in Investigations/Metacinema. A few of the artists represented are Blanca Casas Brullet, Elías León Siminiani 2009, Lluis Rivera, Isaki Lacuesta, Gonzalo de Pedro, Jorge Cosmen, and Carles Durán. (Total running time 70 minutes)
Saturday, April 10, at 4:30 p.m.
Film-as-vampire is an idea explored in Zulueta's outrageous and genre-defying masterpiece, a late 1970s extravaganza of cinema, largely forgotten outside Spain. The pivotal character, Pedro, records everything with his Super-8 camera, then discovers that he has a special receptiveness to filmed images, allowing him to "reach a near cathartic, mystical state called arrebato leading to a strange and unusual fate"—Roberto Curti. (Iván Zulueta, 1980, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 105 minutes)
Catalunya: Poetry of Place
The cinema of Catalunya (Catalonia) on Spain's Mediterranean coast flourished all through the 20th century, even when the region's filmmaking was suppressed following the Civil War. Generous contrasts of landscape, strong local traditions, and an incomparable literary and artistic heritage (Barcelona, for example, was the original center of Spain's filmmaking) have all contributed to the singular social and cultural lineage expressed in the Catalan cinema. Presented through the cooperation of Filmoteca de Catalunya, with thanks to Pragda Mariona Bruzzo, Josep Calle Buendía, Linda Lilienfeld, Mary Baron, and Ronald Sadoff.
La plaça del diamant
preceded by Barcelona, Perla del Mediterraneo and Barcelona Park
Sunday, April 4, at 4:00 p.m.
Adapting a celebrated 1962 novel by Catalan writer and midcentury intellectual Mercè Rodoreda, La plaça del diamant portrays the prolonged transformation of a working-class urban woman (Sílvia Munt) as she endures the tragedy of the Civil War. (Francesc Betriu, 1982, 35 mm, Catalan with subtitles, 111 minutes)
The first known travelogue of the city, Barcelona, Perla del Mediterraneo features scenes of the port, Catalonia Square, Gràcia Avenue, Gaudí's Park Güell, and the Tibidabo. (1912–1913, 35 mm, silent, 9 minutes)
An early réalité by the legendary Segundo de Chomón, whose later optical effects were to influence Dalí and Buñuel, Barcelona Park captures the charm of Ciutadella park. (1911, 35 mm, silent, 3 minutes)
Sunday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m.
Gypsy lovers from feuding clans in Barcelona's Somorrostro barrio try to elope in spite of their futile straits. In this celebrated 1960s classic, the cinéma vérité close-ups and brilliant flamenco performances (including renderings from the legendary Carmen Amaya and Antonio Gades) caused one contemporary reviewer to quip, "Rovira-Beleta is a director we hope to hear from again." (Francisco Rovira-Beleta, 1962, 35 mm, Catalan and Spanish with subtitles, 101 minutes)
Ciné-Concert: Gent i paisatge de Catalunya (People and Landscapes of Catalonia)
preceded by Playa y Costa Brava and Electric Hôtel
Saturday, April 24, at 2:30 p.m.
Gillian Anderson in person
Josep Gaspar's beautiful 1920s footage of Catalonia is accompanied by a new musical score composed by students from New York University's Steinhardt Department of Music, based on Catalan themes, and performed live under Gillian Anderson's direction. Gaspar was a believer in cinema's capacity to preserve the images of people and places for future generations. (Josep Gaspar, 1926, reconstructed 1992, 35 mm, live music for two pianos, 64 minutes)
A lyrical summer day in Catalonia with beaches and pleasant landscapes compose the short travelogue Playa y Costa Brava, with score inspired by traditional music. (Isidro Socías, 1934, 35 mm, 9 minutes)
Electric Hôtel is a delightfully futuristic vision of technology, with a score that draws from early modern compositional techniques, blended in a variety of melodic and rhythmic elements drawn from Catalan folk melodies. (Segundo de Chomón, 1908, 35 mm, 7 minutes)
L'arbre de les cireres (The Cherry Tree )
Saturday, May 1, at 2:00 p.m.
In a forgotten village at the end of the 20th century, a small boy learns the subtler lessons of life. Marc Recha crafts his tale in a meditative, minimalist style, taking the boy's point of view to construct a tale about relationships, love, death, and the pulse of the natural world. "Gently celebratory, of a sort that our own domestic output seldom manages"—Donald Levit. (Marc Recha, 1998, 35 mm, Catalan and Spanish with subtitles, 94 minutes)
Gala (Elena Dimitrievna Diakonova)
followed by Gaudí
Saturday, May 8, at 2:30 p.m.
A journey through the incredible life of Elena Dimitrievna Diakonova Gala from her Russian birthplace, to Davos and first husband Paul Éluard, then on to Paris where she met Salvador Dalí. Gala presents its subject not only as muse to many artists but also as a complex personality. (Sílvia Munt, 2002, 35 mm, Catalan, Spanish, English, and French with subtitles, 105 minutes)
Gaudí originated with the need to create an "official" version of Antonio Gaudí's life. Lacking historical documents and footage, the filmmakers reconstructed his chronicle by staging their own interviews, attempting to "get a feel for the period through unearthed images found among the rubble after the Civil War." (Manuel Huerga, 1988, digital betacam, English, Catalan, and Spanish with subtitles, 54 minutes)
Report on the Revolutionary Movement in Barcelona followed by El alegre paralelo (The Jolly Paralelo)
Saturday, May 15, at 4:30 p.m.
The first newsreel of the Civil War, shot entirely by anarchists, July 19 to 23, 1936, exposes the street fighting, the barricades, the ruined convents, and the damaged buildings. As the CNT (National Confederation of Labor) takes control, the Durruti Column, only days later, departs for the Aragón Front through the city's ravaged avenues. (1936, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 20 mintues)
Documenting the Avinguda del Parallel (Avenue of the Parallel), once the heart of Barcelona's nightlife, amateur cineastes Ramon and Ripoll-Freixes capture in El alegre paralelo the quarter's insane excitement. (Enric Ripoll-Freixes and Josep Maria Ramon, 1964, digital beta, Spanish with subtitles, 32 minutes)
La piel quemada (The Burnt Skin)
Sunday, May 16, at 4:30 p.m.
In a village on the trendy Costa Brava, a laborer ends his day carousing. At the same time in Andalusia, his wife and family begin a one-way journey to join him. Confronting many issues in a beautifully layered narrative, La piel quemada is a milestone: the topic of Andalusian migration to the north would not be treated again in the cinema until 2003. (Josep Maria Forn, 1966, 35 mm, Spanish and Catalan with subtitles, 104 minutes)
Saturday, May 22, at 2:00 p.m.
A comedian in a newly formed troupe is hired away for a solo gig and, when he returns, discovers his love has left. Made at the start of the sound era as a vehicle for baritone Marcos Redondo, La Farándula is a rare example of the 1930s musical and the lyric-dramatic genre zarzuela, in which spoken dialogue alternates with singing. (Antonio Momplet, 1935–1938, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 72 minutes)
Lejos de los árboles (Far from the Trees)
Sunday, May 23, at 4:30 p.m.
"This perfect successor to Buñuel's Land without Bread shows a Spain far from the beaten paths of the tourist trade. Not only the poverty, but the persistence of superstition and occult beliefs captured by the film rebukes the image of a forward-looking modern Spain that by the 1960s was promoted by the Franco regime"—Film Society of Lincoln Center. (Jacinto Esteva, 1970, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 103 minutes)
The Silence before Bach
preceded by Mundanza
Sunday, June 13, at 4:30 p.m.
Musing on music's social history, The Silence before Bach places the composer's work in a few unfamiliar yet engaging contexts, creating independent rhythms and emphasizing the rich counterpoint. (Pere Portabella, 2007, 35 mm, Spanish, German, and Catalan with subtitles, 102 minutes)
In the new short Mundanza, the family home of Federico García Lorca is emptied—paintings, objets d'art, and furniture packed and removed—while in the ensuing silence, the rooms are carefully watched. (Pere Portabella, 2009, 35 mm, 20 minutes)
Still Voices, Inner Lives: The Journals of Alain Cavalier
French director Alain Cavalier (b. 1931), once assistant to Louis Malle, found his favorite filmic métier in the journal—essayistic daybooks filled with notes and observations, the camera turned on himself and the things around him. At times Cavalier's journals are lyrically transcendent, at other times blithely down to earth. Visually, each journal is a meditative still life of forms and objects evoking the randomness and fragility of everyday life. Special thanks to Antoine Sebire, Kathy Geritz, Jake Perlin, and Françoise Widhoff.
Saturday, April 17, at 3:30 p.m.
Sketches from the lives of four very different workers (a surgeon, a sculptor, a butcher, and a former assistant to Orson Welles) form a mosaic poetically plumbing the meaning of the word "vocation." In the final segment, at a house in France where Orson Welles once lived and worked, Cavalier explores the detritus left behind. (2000, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 87 minutes)
followed by Lieux saints (Holy Places)
Sunday, April 25, at 4:30 p.m.
Cavalier finds pages from a diary composed when his first wife, actress Irène Tunc, died in a car crash. Still trying to come to terms with the tragedy, he creates a new journal, taking his video camera to Irène's hometown and to places they knew together. "Cavalier strips himself bare, opens his diary to the world, and looks at his own reflection in the mirror"—Andrea Franco. (2009, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 85 minutes)
Lieux saints, a wistful reverie on European water closets, finds these dreary rooms sharing a few features with the rarified realm of chapels. (2007, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 30 minutes)
Saturday, May 1, at 4:00 p.m.
Always experimenting, Cavalier obsessively records on camera his own life over a period of eleven years. Moments with second wife Françoise mingle with scenes of his aging parents, his own battle with skin cancer, and footage of birds and other small creatures who wander into view. "A string of thought-provoking episodes, granting all-areas access and forming a well-rounded autobiography"—Neil Young. (2005, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 100 minutes)
La Rencontre (The Meeting)
followed by Cinéma de notre temps: Alain Cavalier
Sunday, May 2, at 4:30 p.m.
A man resolves to record with his camera the first year of a new relationship. The rules: film only small details and, with voiceover dialogue, create an intimate context. The result: a delicately shaded love poem and beautifully balanced portrait of a life shared by a man and a woman. (1997, video transferred to 35 mm, French with subtitles, 75 minutes)
The documentary portrait Alain Cavalier is from the ongoing French television series Cinéma de notre temps. (Jean-Pierre Limosin, 1995, BetaSP, French with subtitles, 55 minutes)
Portraits d'Alain Cavalier
Friday, May 21, at 1:00 p.m.
Five vignettes from Cavalier's series of 24 studies of women and their work encompass a florist, a lavatory attendant, a mattress maker, and a spinner. "Each sketch is a beautiful miniature, poetically rendering a life's work with a few well-chosen flourishes"—Steve Seid. (1988–1992, 16 mm, French with subtitles, 50 minutes)
followed by Lettre d'Alain Cavalier
Sunday, May 30, at 4:30 p.m.
The account of the life of a young Carmelite nun who eventually became Saint Thérèse of Lisieux unfolds as a kind of journal, each vignette a separate event in her life. "This is no hagiography but a humorous, humane, and moving depiction of a very ordinary life, made unordinary in the telling and adorned by a superb performance from Catherine Mouchet"—Derek Malcolm. (1986, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 95 minutes)
Lettre d'Alain Cavalier explores the director's random thoughts as he prepares to work on his script for Thérèse. (1982, betacam, French with subtitles, 12 minutes)
Moving Compositions: Aspects of Chopin
Emblematic of Poland but also of the Romantic era, Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin remains an icon to artists and audiences alike. Polish poet Cyprian Norwid best described the composer as "born a Varsovian, his heart Polish, his talent a citizen of the world." In honor of the bicentennial of Chopin's birth, this series explores the ways in which the music and the man have been celebrated, codified, and used to various effects. Organized in collaboration with Filmoteka Narodowa, Warsaw and TV Studio Filmow Animowanych, Poznan. Special thanks to Malgorzata Markowska, Kinga Karbowniczek, Marcin Gizycki, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Andrzej Markowski Foundation, and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.
Experiment, Music, and Chopin in Polish Cinema
Sunday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m.
Introduction by Marcin Gizycki
The experimental film practice of artists Franciszka and Stefan Themerson began in Poland and continued unabated after their emigration to London in 1942. Both they and their colleague Eugene Cekalski explored new ways of working with montage and sound, utilizing the emotional force and power of Chopin's compositions to the fullest. Three restored shorts make up this program: Calling Mr. Smith (Franciszka and Stefan Themerson, 1943), Colour Studies of Chopin (Eugeniusz Cekalski, 1944), and Żelazowa Wola (Eugeniusz Cekalski, 1948), a beautifully imagined film about the influence of his music. (Total running time 52 minutes)
The Heart and Soul of Warsaw
Saturday, May 15, at 2:00 p.m.
This collection of rare shorts connects Chopin to Warsaw literally and metaphysically. The program includes Ballada f-moll (Andrzej Panufnik, 1945), a bird's eye documentation of a devastated 1945 Warsaw; the newsreel Chopin's Heart Returns to Warsaw (1945); Born in Warsaw (Maria Kwiatkowska, 1996), surveying Poland's annual International Chopin Piano Competition; and Chopin's Heart (Marian Marzynski, 2006), produced for Frontline. (Total running time 86 minutes)
The Youth of Chopin (Młodość Chopina)
Saturday, May 22, at 4:00 p.m.
Produced during the Stalinist regime, Ford's feature imagines young Chopin as an idealistic student, intent on social as well as cultural revolution. Czesław Wollejk is perfect as the composer: fragile, passionate, and agonized. Performances are by Halina Czerny-Stefańska, winner of the 1949 International Chopin Piano Competition, and violinist Wanda Wilkomirska. (Alexander Ford, 1951, 35 mm, Polish with subtitles, 121 minutes) Presented in association with the Washington Chopin Festival and Andrzej Markowski Foundation.
A Song to Remember
Saturday, May 29, at 1:00 p.m.
Charles Vidor's melodrama portrays Chopin (Cornel Wilde) as single-minded in his patriotic support of an independent Poland, until George Sand (Merle Oberon) diverts him and his cause. With piano performances by José Iturbi, this rarely screened biopic offers an account of the composer's life in mid-19th-century society across Poland, France, and Majorca. (Charles Vidor, 1945, 35 mm, 113 minutes)
Iconic Sound: Chopin in Recent Film and Video
Saturday, May 29, at 3:30 p.m.
A program of contemporary works that innovatively incorporate and reflect on Chopin's compositions includes several recent animations—Prelude (Hieronim Noeumann, 1996), Nocturne (Kazimierz Urbanski, 1996), Etude C (Ewa Ziobrowska, 2010), Mazurek E (Elżbieta Kamieńska Mruszczak, 2010), and Novi Singers (Daniel Szczechura, 1996). Also on the program are the realization of a project begun by artists Paul Sharits and Jozef Robakowski in 1976, Attention: Light! (Wieslaw Michalak and Jozef Robakowski, 2004), and the pioneering video work The Orchestra by Oscar-winning artist Zbigniew Rybczynski (1990). (Total running time 89 minutes)
Musicians, filmmakers, playwrights, poets, painters, and protesters are the focus of this series presented in association with the exhibition Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg.
The Savage Eye
Saturday, June 12, at 2:30 p.m.
A new restoration of an American landmark, The Savage Eye was assembled in part from a collection of clips from late 1950s America, woven together with a poetic narrative about a down-and-out divorcée (Barbara Baxley) seeking a fresh start in California. (Ben Maddow, Joseph Strick, Sidney Meyers, and Haskell Wexler, 1959, 35 mm, 68 minutes) Print restored by, and courtesy of, the Academy Film Archive.
preceded by Muscle Beach
Saturday, June 12, at 4:00 p.m.
Joseph Strick and Ben Maddow's arresting adaptation of Jean Genet's The Balcony, made on a shoestring, finds Shelley Winters, Peter Falk, Leonard Nimoy, and Lee Grant leading a first-rate cast. As uprisings rage in the streets, action inside a Brechtian-style brothel reveals that human relationships have been reduced to disengaged performance. (Joseph Strick, 1963, 35 mm, 84 minutes)
Strick's early short Muscle Beach casts a detached but genial eye at the regulars who populate the sands of Santa Monica, to the accompaniment of Earl Robinson's blues. (Joseph Strick and Irving Lerner, 1948, 35 mm, 9 minutes)
Fridays, June 18 and 25, at 1:00 p.m.
City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, center of the universe since 1953 for poets and writers, is the focus of Christopher Felver's new portrait of the city's fabled Lawrence Ferlinghetti. His Pocket Poets Series, an early venture, published Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems in 1956 with an introduction by William Carlos Williams. (Christopher Felver, 2009, HD-Cam, 82 minutes)
Cecil Taylor: All the Notes
Fridays, June 18 and 25, at 3:00 p.m.
A free jazz pioneer and master of complex improvisation, Cecil Taylor shares insights, anecdotes, and quips, captivating the viewer in this documentary portrait assembled from new and old footage and concert sequences. (Christopher Felver, 2004, digital beta, 73 minutes)
Pull My Daisy
followed by Conversations in Vermont
Sunday, June 20, at 2:00 p.m.
Pull My Daisy is the quintessential beat memory, an improvisational scene from an unproduced play by Jack Kerouac, shot in a Greenwich Village apartment populated with Robert Frank's friends and acquaintances, including son Pablo. (Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie, 1959, 35 mm, 30 minutes)
A decade later, Robert Frank made the taut and autobiographical Conversations in Vermont. His children Pablo and Andrea, now teenagers, are interrogated by Frank about their former life in New York versus their new life in Vermont. (Robert Frank, 1969, 16 mm, 26 minutes)
Polis Is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place
preceded by Lowell Blues
Saturday, June 26, at 2:00 p.m.
A celebration of Kerouac's "childhood holy land," Lowell Blues remembers the place the writer could never forget. Excerpts from Doctor Sax are read by Gregory Corso, Johnny Depp, Carolyn Cassady, David Amram, and others, with soundtrack by Lee Konitz, Jim Doherty, and Willie Alexander. (Henry Ferrini, 2000, digital beta, 26 minutes)
The Beats' "big fire source," poet Charles Olson, reads from his own work and celebrates his beloved Gloucester on New England's coast in Polis Is This. The poet's landscapes come alive again via his own private mission to preserve them. (Henry Ferrini, 2007, digital beta, 56 minutes)
Guns of the Trees
Saturday, June 26, at 4:00 p.m.
Jonas Mekas' first narrative is a madcap journal of 1950s Beat life, a modish view of existential despair in the life of Barbara (Francis Stillman) and Gregory (Adolfas Mekas). The couple is befriended by the seemingly happy Ben (Ben Carruthers) and Argus (Argus Carruthers) while impromptu poetry readings provide the counterpoint. (Jonas Mekas, 1962, 16 mm, 75 minutes)
What Happened to Kerouac?
Sunday, June 27, at 2:00 p.m.
Kerouac's legendary appearances on NBC's The Steve Allen Show are counterbalanced by commentary from friends and clips from home movies in this famous chronicle of the poet who was at the center of the Beat ethos. (Richard Lerner and Lewis MacAdams, 1986, 96 minutes) Courtesy of Reserve Film and Video Collection, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Patti Smith: Dream of Life
preceded by Long for the City
Sunday, June 27, at 4:30 p.m.
Stephen Sebring in person
For 11 years, photographer-filmmaker Stephen Sebring recorded mammoth amounts of footage of singer, songwriter, poet, and Beat follower Patti Smith. Dream of Life, true to its title, is easy and diffused as Smith visits the burial places of favorite poets Rimbaud, Burroughs, and Ginsberg, finds friends, recollects her life, pursues her political aims, and performs. (Stephen Sebring, 2008, 35 mm, 109 minutes)
In Long for the City Patti Smith recites two of her works and roams around her New York neighborhood, noting the changes that are taking hold. (Jem Cohen, 2008, digital beta, 10 minutes)
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