Release Date: September 16, 2011
National Gallery Fall Film Events Feature Andy Warhol's Film and Video, French Cinéma Fantastique, Americans Lynne Sachs and Fred Worden, Soviet-Era Filmmakers, and More
Washington, DC—The fall film season at the National Gallery of Art begins in October with a screening of Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child in conjunction with the Warhol: Headlines exhibition, on view at the Gallery from September 25, 2011, through January 2, 1012. Five documentaries profiling Warhol contemporaries, along with the film series Andy Warhol, also celebrate the exhibition. In November, musicians Dean & Britta (Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips) will present the Washington premiere of their multimedia performance 13 Most Beautiful… Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests.
On November 5, the Gallery presents a rare screening of For Florence (Per Firenze) in honor of the 45th anniversary of the 1966 Florence flood. The visually complex Mysteries of Lisbon (Mistérios de Lisboa), from recently deceased filmmaker Raúl Ruiz, will be presented on December 18 and 21. The screening is inspired by the exhibition The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries, on view from September 18, 2011, through January 8, 2012.
On October 15, the Gallery will host a ciné-concert featuring Karlheinz Martin's 1920 film From Morning to Midnight, with live musical accompaniment by the Alloy Orchestra.
Several film series are presented by the Gallery this fall, including Fantômas and Le Cinéma Fantastique, both honoring the centennial anniversary of Fantômas, a fictional character created in 1911 by French authors Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. October brings American Originals Now: Lynne Sachs, a series that highlights a collection of essay films by this internationally recognized American filmmaker. In December, experimental filmmaker Fred Worden visits the Gallery for an installment of American Originals Now to present a selection of his early and more recent works.
Two film series this season feature critical Soviet-era filmmakers: Ali Khamraev: Uzbek Triptych and Yuri Ilyenko: Ballad of Ukraine (presented on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Ukrainian independence). On November 26 and 27, the Gallery presents the weekend-long series Seeking Spain in the Cinema, exploring different portrayals of Spanish identity in American and Spanish cinema.
Films are screened in the East Building Auditorium, located at Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Works are presented in original formats and seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors open 30 minutes before each show and programs are subject to change.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
Saturday, October 1, 2:30 p.m.
Director Tamra Davis in person
Filmmaker Davis recorded hours of video with her friend Basquiat. Years later, she conceived and edited a feature portrait of this expressionistic artist who, seen in retrospect, was one of the most important chroniclers of the downtown New York scene in the post-Warhol era. Basquiat's milieu—his studio, his friends, and his collaboration with Andy Warhol—are all depicted. Presented in association with the Downtown Scene NY film series, screening at various locations in Washington, DC, from September 15 through October 15. (Tamra Davis, 2010, 35 mm, 88 minutes)
Sunday, October 9, 4:00 p.m.
A brilliant new restoration brings back the visual grandeur of The Assassin (L'Assassino), a pointed critique of politics and police power in 1960s Italy. Antiques dealer Alfredo Martelli (Marcello Mastroianni), renowned for his deceptive practices, is caught by the police. The reason for his arrest, however, is far from what he supposes. "[The police] build an allegation with whatever means they have. . . . The moment you stand before an authority you are guilty. Naturally, for this film the censors attacked and threatened"—Elio Petri. (Elio Petri, 1961, 35 mm, subtitles, 98 minutes) Special thanks to Museo Nazionale del Cinema and L'Immagine Ritrovata
Ciné-Concert: From Morning to Midnight
Alloy Orchestra in performance
Saturday, October 15, 3:00 p.m.
The rarely seen cinema version of Georg Kaiser's infamous German expressionist drama From Morning to Midnight (Von Morgens bis Mitternacht) is performed in live concert with the Alloy Orchestra. Recently restored by the Munich Filmmuseum, the film's expressionist sets and outlandish style upstaged the better known Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, released the same year. "Completed four months after Caligari, Karlheinz Martin's adaptation inspired a response which soon imposed limits on filmic experimentation. Believing Martin's work too abstract for public taste, German cinemas refused to screen it; the film had a limited release in Japan in 1923"—Juliet Jacques. (Karlheinz Martin, 1920, digital restoration, 75 minutes)
For Florence (Per Firenze)
Introduction by Sheila Waters and Don Etherington
Saturday, November 5, 3:30 p.m.
A rare screening of Franco Zeffirelli's Per Firenze, the famed Italian director's sole documentary containing the only known film footage of the catastrophe (with Richard Burton's voiceover commentary), will take place in honor of the 45th anniversary of the Florence flood of November 1966. Presented in association with the University of Maryland. Sheila Waters and Don Etherington, University of Maryland, discuss the film. (Franco Zeffirelli, 1966, 16 mm, 55 minutes)
Kevin Brownlow: My Life with Napoleon
Kevin Brownlow in person
Friday, November 25, 2:30 p.m.
Kevin Brownlow, the eminent British film historian honored this year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his exceptional contributions to the preservation of cinema, illustrates his latest research and restoration on a lifelong project to return Abel Gance's 1927 Napoleon to its original form, including the dramatic Polyvision triptych finale. His complete restoration of the legendary epic will have its long-awaited U.S. premiere in March 2012 at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland, California, with a full orchestral score composed and conducted by Carl Davis. (60 minutes)
Christoph Schlingensief Tribute:
The African Twin Towers
Introduction by Alex Jovanovic (assistant to Schlingensief)
Saturday, December 3, 4:00 p.m.
Originally planned as a fiction feature, The African Twin Towers is a documentary about Christoph Schlingensief's (1960–2010) last, unfinished film, set in Namibia. The film finds Schlingensief—the celebrated German artist, actor, and film and theater director awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale 2011 for his German Pavilion installation—at his artistic best, gushing with ideas and attempting to find his filmic métier after a decade in performance and visual art. The voiceover was recorded later, when he was already ill with cancer. (Christoph Schlingensief, 2006, Hd-Cam, subtitles, 71 minutes) Presented in association with Goethe Institut Washington
Mysteries of Lisbon (Mistérios de Lisboa)
Sunday, December 18, 4:00 p.m., and Wednesday, December 21, 12:30 p.m.
Raúl Ruiz's majestic adaption of Portuguese novelist Camilo Castelo Branco's 1854 romantic epic Mistérios de Lisboa—a brilliantly twisting tapestry of interlocking fates and identities—is reputed to be this master filmmaker's final work. As such, Ruiz has crafted a beautiful monument to the narrative cinema: visually complex, telling a story of machinations and maneuvers that are never exactly as they seem. (Raúl Ruiz, 2010, high-definition DCP, 270 minutes with intermission)
Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story
Wednesday, December 28, 12:30 p.m.
Brigid Berlin, daughter of Hearst Publishing head Richard Berlin, rejected her blue-blooded background to become part of Warhol's Factory in the 1960s and remained a Warhol confidente until his death. In footage, she is candid about her family relationships and lifelong struggles."I didn't ask to be born. This is what they got, so this is what they got to contend with." (Shelly Dunn Fremont and Vincent Fremont, 2000, 35 mm, 75 minutes)
The Universe of Keith Haring
Wednesday, December 28, 2:30 p.m.
Keith Haring, the artist who made his name with stylized graffiti caricatures ("silly drawings") in New York's subway system in the 1980s, was captured in interview footage with biographer John Gruen and archival clips with family and friends such as Grace Jones, Madonna, Kenny Scharf, Andy Warhol, Tony Shafrazi, and Junior Vasquez, among others. (Christina Clausen, 2008, DigiBeta, 90 minutes)
Notes on Marie Menken
Thursday, December 29, 12:30 p.m.
Marie Menken (1909–1970), a New York underground filmmaker once nicknamed "the mother of the avant-garde," inspired every artist who knew her. Loaded with excerpts of her beautifully abstract works, Notes on Marie Menken also features footage from Duel of the Bolexes, a home movie of Marie and Andy Warhol on a New York rooftop. Her turbulent relationship with husband Willard Maas was allegedly the source for Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Martina Kudlácek, 2006, 35 mm, 97 minutes)
Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling
Friday, December 30, 12:30 p.m.
The incredible career of superstar Candy Darling (James Lawrence Slattery) is brought to life in vintage interviews, archival video, photographs, and clips of former Warhol regulars. Actress Chloë Sevigny embodies Darling's voice, reading from letters and diaries. (James Rasin, 2010, 35 mm, 85 minutes)
October 1–December 31
Time Frames: Andy Warhol's Film and Video
Illustrated discussion by John Hanhardt
Sunday, December 4, 2:00 p.m.
Andy Warhol created a large and distinctive body of work in both film and video. This lecture examines the various ways Warhol reshaped time and narrative in both media, illustrated with excerpts from his films and videotapes. John Hanhardt, historian of experimental media, is senior curator for media arts and director of the Nam June Paik Media Arts Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum. (Approximately 75 minutes) Made possible by funds given in memory of Rajiv Vaidya
Andy Warhol: 16 mm
Saturdays October 1–December 31 (times vary)
In association with the exhibition Warhol: Headlines, a range of Warhol's 16 mm films is screened on Saturdays through the end of the year. The schedule includes Soap Opera, Outer and Inner Space, Lupe, Since, Space, Afternoon, Velvet Underground and Nico, The Chelsea Girls, and John and Ivy. See www.nga.gov/film for specific titles and dates.
13 Most Beautiful. . . Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests
Dean & Britta in performance
Saturday, November 12, 4:00 p.m.
Dean and Britta (Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips) make their Washington debut performing songs on guitar and keyboard to the backdrop of Warhol's Screen Tests. The mesmerizing images, filmed in the Silver Factory in the mid-1960s, align the glamour of Hollywood with the edginess of the art world. Among the subjects are "Baby" Jane Holzer, Dennis Hopper, Lou Reed, and Edie Sedgwick. The program was commissioned by the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. (Approximately 60 minutes)
The popular pulp-fictional arch-villain Fantômas is one hundred years old this year. Created by authors Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre, the early volumes published in 1911 prompted hundreds of adaptations and offshoots in a variety of forms, but none as noteworthy as Louis Feuillade's silent movie serials produced for the Gaumont Company. Not only did these serials catch on immediately with contemporary viewers, but Fantômas imagery began to appear in avant-garde poetry and painting from artists intrigued by the character's wizardry. The restored original five episodes from Feuillade's series are included in this program through courtesy of the Gaumont Pathé Archives, Paris.
Fantômas, Parts One and Two
Sunday, October 2, 4:30 p.m.
In the first two Fantômas episodes—Fantômas à l'Ombre de la Guillotine (Fantômas in the Shadow of the Guillotine) and Juve contre Fantômas (Juve against Fantômas)—the black-hooded bandit, his companion Lady Beltham, the policeman Juve, and the journalist Fandor cavort in stories complete unto themselves, always ending with a question mark. The series inspired Guillaume Apollinaire and Max Jacob to found the Société des Amis de Fantômas in 1913. (Louis Feuillade, 1913, approximate running time 114 minutes)
Fantômas, Parts Three through Five
Saturday, October 8, 2:30 p.m.
Episodes three, four, and five of the series, La Mort Qui Tue (Death That Kills), Fantômas contre Fantômas (Fantômas against Fantômas), and Le Faux Magistrat (The False Magistrate), prompted critic Maurice Raynal to note in Apollinaire's review Les Soirées de Paris, "Feuillade's Fantômas is saturated with genius." Exteriors were shot on location in neighborhoods of Paris while interiors, mostly bourgeois households, were sets. (Louis Feuillade, 1913–1914, approximate running time 219 minutes, with intermission)
Le Cinéma Fantastique
October 23–December 31
Fantastique—or the occurrence of the uncanny and the "not rational" (Pierre Gripari) in the cinema—is no respecter of genre and form. It finds a way into fairy tale, horror, melodrama, even detective films. The surrealists of the 1920s were fond of the fantastique, but so are contemporary aficionados of la science-fiction. The first of several series devoted to films of the French fantastique, most of the works in this group spring from literary sources, whether fable or feuilleton. Le Cinéma Fantastique is presented in honor of the centennial anniversary of the creation of the Fantômas novels in 1911. With special thanks to Julien Cuvillier, Agnès Bertola, CNC, Caroline Patte, Keith Cohen, Gaumont Pathé Archives, Cinémathèque Française, Embassy of France, and Culture France for their support.
Paris Qui Dort
followed by The Imaginary Voyage
Sunday, October 23, 4:30 p.m.
Ben Model, piano
A scientist brings Paris to a standstill though his invention of a magic ray that freezes movement. One group—including the Eiffel Tower watchman and passengers from an incoming plane—remains safe and sound, free to roam the silenced streets amid motionless bodies. A sly commentary on technology, photography, cinematography, and the Parisian cityscape, Paris Qui Dort (Crazy Ray) invokes everything from early chase films to time travel. (René Clair, 1924, 35 mm, 35 minutes)
The Imaginary Voyage (Le Voyage Imaginaire), René Clair's send-up of a George Méliès fantasy, is a quirky madcap fable with outlandish décor and three naïve office workers—Albert, Jean, and Auguste—all in love with their typist, Lucie. One day at work Jean dreams he lands in a home for old fairies and, through his kisses, converts all the old crones to young women. Lucie is among them, of course, but soon his rivals appear. Magically, they all end up on the towers of Notre Dame as more bizarre mischief ensues. (René Clair, 1925, 35 mm, subtitled, 60 minutes)
La Chute de la Maison Usher
preceded by Edgar Allan Poe: Histoires Extraordinaires
Introduction by Keith Cohen
Saturday, October 29, 2:30 p.m.
Jean Epstein combines motifs from several Poe tales in La Chute de la Maison Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher). (Epstein admitted it was his "general impression of Poe.") A stranger arrives at a country inn looking for the house of his old friend Roderick, a painter—who is delirious as he tries to finish his wife's portrait before her looming death. In fact, the bond between husband and wife is so intense that the portrait is literally sapping the life from Madeline. (Jean Epstein, 1928, 35 mm, silent, 63 minutes)
A rare screening of Eric Rohmer's short nonfiction essay on Poe, Histoires Extraordinaires, precedes the feature. Rohmer wrote, "The film gives us access to a more natural poetic world of Poe, full of visionary images in which the form always implies the idea." (Eric Rohmer, 1965, DigiBeta, 25 minutes)
The Testament of Doctor Cordelier
Saturday, October 29, 4:30 p.m.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson's Victorian tale of a divided psyche, gets a modern Parisian guise in Renoir's Le Testament du Docteur Cordelier. Legendary actor Jean-Louis Barrault, aided only by a wig and false teeth, plays both the demonic Opale (Mr. Hyde) and Cordelier (Dr. Jekyll), daring to "prove the existence of the soul in material terms." Made late in his long career, Renoir conceived Testament as a live television play using multiple cameras (even hidden cameras, filming Barrault, in character, as he startles pedestrians), extra microphones, and long single-take shooting—a curious attempt to craft a kind of hybrid cinematic language. (Jean Renoir, 1959, 35 mm, subtitles, 95 minutes)
preceded by Voyage à Travers l'Impossible
Sunday, October 30, 4:30 p.m.
Jacques Rivette's make-believe tales, mesmerizing and ominous, were the only fantastique films to emerge from the French new wave. In Duelle, the Queen of the Sun (Bulle Ogier) and the Queen of the Moon (Juliet Berto) fight for control of a magic gem, a huge diamond that allows the possessor to remain on earth for a long period of time. "As in nearly all Rivette's films, 'earth,' of course, is Paris"—John Wakeman. (Jacques Rivette, 1976, 35 mm, 120 minutes)
Georges Méliès enchanting trip to the sun, Voyage à Travers l'Impossible, precedes the feature. (Georges Méliès, 1904, silent, DigiBeta, 20 minutes)
Eyes without a Face
Sunday, November 6, 4:00 p.m.
Eyes without a Face (Les Yeux sans Visage) is an incredible amalgam of horror and fairytale in which the tremulous heroine Christiane (Edith Scob) remains a prisoner of solitude in a waxen mask of eerie, frozen beauty. Having crashed the car which destroyed her face, her doctor father (Pierre Brasseur) feverishly experiments with skin grafts, each failure requiring his devoted assistant (Alida Valli) to prowl the Latin Quarter in search of another suitable ‘donor.' Finally despair breeds madness and rebellion. . . . Illuminated throughout by Franju's unique sense of poetry"—Tom Milne. (Georges Franju, 1959, 35 mm, subtitles, 88 minutes)
Saturday, November 19, 4:00 p.m.
In a futuristic fantasy, a young woman flees from a disastrous "war between the sexes." The strange house where she finds safe haven is director Louis Malle's own. In astrological terms, a black moon signifies the beginning of some cataclysmic change, while Malle said Black Moon was inspired by his own menacing dreams (featuring English-speaking characters) while working at his country house. "A parlor game played by Freud and Lewis Carroll on a slow summer evening," wrote critic Jay Cocks. (Louis Malle, 1975, 35 mm, 100 minutes)
Screenwriter Jacques Champreux in person
Sunday, November 20, 4:00 p.m.
"Georges Franju's homage to Louis Feuillade and the silent crime serial is a strange and beautiful film, evoking the surrealism of Dalí and Cocteau, the poetry of Jean Vigo, and the nostalgia of camp. Judex and his sidekicks redress the evil perpetrated by the purest of criminals in a nocturnal dreamworld where black figures climb perpendicular walls and white doves appear from nowhere. In some ways, the film is about the fatality, the tired destiny, of those who must play out the archetypes of good and evil"—Pacific Film Archive. (Georges Franju, 1963, 35 mm, subtitles, 103 minutes)
The Seashell and the Clergyman
followed by Blood of a Poet
Sunday, December 4, 5:00 p.m.
The first of two avant-garde works composed by poets, The Seashell and the Clergyman's (La Coquille et le Clergyman) nightmarish tale of shifting, whirling imagery was designed by filmmaker Germaine Dulac from a scenario by Antonin Artaud. A clergyman, a military man, and a woman clash in outbursts of longing and frustration, masking a sub-theme of divided personality. "The cinema has an unexpected and mysterious side which we find in no other form of art"—Antonin Artaud. (Germaine Dulac, 1928, 35 mm, subtitles, 40 minutes)
Blood of a Poet (Le Sang d'un Poète), wrote Jean Cocteau, marks "a descent into oneself . . . a kind of half-sleep through which I wandered as though in a labyrinth." Commissioned by Charles de Noailles, with music by Georges Auric and appearances by Lee Miller and Barbette, the film is the first part of Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy. (Jean Cocteau, 1930, 35 mm, subtitles, 55 minutes)
Beauty and the Beast
Saturday, December 24, 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.
Jean Cocteau's treatment of the classic fable La Belle et la Bête about a village beauty who must surrender to a beast as sacrifice for her father's error of judgment uses minimal manipulation to achieve, in Cocteau's words, "a realism of the unreal." Set in the 17th century of the story's first telling, the sets and costumes evoke lighting effects of Vermeer, while the fast and slow motion of cameraman Henri Alekan reinforces the magic. (Jean Cocteau, 1946, 35 mm, subtitles, 96 minutes)
Saturday, December 31, 2:00 p.m.
Filmmaking for Jean Cocteau was less personal than either his painting or poetry, yet it was cinema that introduced his imagery to the world. Contemporary critics were slow to sing the praises of Orphée (Bosley Crowther called it "more Morpheus than Orpheus") but the film has steadily grown in stature to become a major allegorical work dealing with themes of death and dream, fantasy and myth, poetry and song. (Jean Cocteau, 1950, 35 mm, subtitles, 95 minutes)
Saturday, December 31, 4:00 p.m.
In a fairytale kingdom, monarch Jean Marais agrees to his dying queen's (Catherine Deneuve) last wish: he should remarry at once, but only to someone more beautiful than she. Their daughter (also played by Deneuve) is the only woman who fits the bill. Fairy godmother Delphine Seyrig conceals Deneuve as the scullery maid "Donkey Skin," until a handsome prince sees beneath her camouflage. Jacques Demy's adaptation of Charles Perrault's fable Peau d'Âne was his third musical with composer Michel Legrand. (Jacques Demy, 1970, 35 mm, subtitled, 100 minutes)
American Originals Now: Lynne Sachs
The ongoing film series American Originals Now offers an opportunity for discussion with internationally recognized American filmmakers and a chance to share in their artistic practice through special screenings and conversations about their works in progress. Since the mid-1980s, Lynne Sachs has developed an impressive catalogue of essay films that draw on her interests in sound design, collage, and personal recollection. She investigates war-torn regions such as Israel, Bosnia, and Vietnam, always striving to work in the space between a community's collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. Sachs teaches experimental film and video at New York University and her films have screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Buenos Aires, New York, and Sundance Film Festivals, and her work was recently the subject of a major retrospective at the San Francisco Cinemathèque.
Recent Short Films
Lynne Sachs in person
Sunday, October 16, 4:00 p.m.
Three short films exemplify Sachs' unique approach to nonfiction filmmaking and to the empathetic process of imagining other people's motivations. Photograph of Wind (2001, 16 mm, 4 minutes) is a portrait of the artist's daughter as witnessed by the eye of a storm; The Last Happy Day (2009, 37 minutes) uses personal letters, abstracted images of war, home movies, and a performance by children to understand the complex story of Sachs' distant cousin, Sandor Lenard, a Hungarian medical doctor who fled the Nazis and reconstructed the bones of American dead; and Wind in Our Hair (2010, 42 minutes), a bilingual narrative inspired by the stories of Argentine writer Julio Cortázar. (Approximately 83 minutes)
Your Day Is My Night
Lynne Sachs in person
Sunday, October 23, 2:00 p.m.
The Task of the Translator (2010, video, 10 minutes) and Sound of a Shadow (2011, Beta SP, 10 minutes), two recently completed short evocative films, precede a screening of Sachs' current work in progress Your Day Is My Night: "…a collective of Chinese and Puerto Rican performers living in New York explores the history and meaning of ‘shiftbeds' through verité conversations, character-driven fictions, and integrated movement pieces. A shiftbed is shared by people who are neither in the same family nor in a relationship. Looking at issues of privacy, intimacy, privilege, and ownership in relationship to this familiar item of furniture. . . . I have conducted numerous performance workshops centered around the bed—experienced, remembered, and imagined from profoundly different viewpoints."—Lynne Sachs. (Approximately 60 minutes)
Ali Khamraev: Uzbek Triptych
One of two critical Soviet-era filmmakers whose work is featured this season, Ali Khamraev (born 1937 in Tashkent) studied at the distinguished Soviet state film school VGIK attended by Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Paradjanov, and Aleksandr Sokurov. A director with greater stylistic range than these more famous contemporaries, Khamraev was celebrated in the 1970s for a series of popular action films, yet he also produced musicals, documentaries, metaphorical works such as White, White Storks, and outright critiques of abuses under Stalin such as Garden of Desires—all of this from a modest personality who never clamored for attention on the world stage. Three of his classic films from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s are presented at the Gallery as part of a Khamraev retrospective organized in association Alla Verlotsky, Seagull Films, and the Freer Gallery of Art, with thanks to the Mardjani Foundation.
followed by White, White Storks
Ali Khamraev in person
Sunday, November 13, 4:00 p.m.
Three women wrestle with social convention and constraint in postwar Uzbekistan: a young woman hoping to build her own house, but without the consent of an absent husband; a teacher searching for ways to introduce progressive ideas to poor villagers; and a woman who, years earlier, had been forced into marriage. On the film's initial release critic Ron Holloway wrote, "Triptych places Khamraev in the forefront of Soviet cinema and assures his status as possibly the most talented director in the Soviet Middle Asian republics." (1979, 35 mm, subtitles, 76 minutes)
The beautiful black-and-white White, White Storks, a tale of impossible love in a traditional Muslim village, reveals Ali Khamraev's "affinity for nature and its cycles, his attention to traditional customs and family relationships, and his marked fascination with rebellious women. ‘The heroine (wrote critic Gerald Peary) is a smart woman in an unhappy marriage who falls hard for a softspoken guy who makes a mission of defending local women. . . . The demonstrative camera style is traditionally Russian, lyrical, emotional, in tune with a tale of longing and heartbreak'"—Pacific Cinemathèque. (1966, 35 mm, subtitles, 82 minutes)
I Remember You
Saturday, November 19, 2:00 p.m.
When his ailing mother asks a man to find the grave of his father, the man makes a poignant train journey across Uzbekistan and Russia. "Like Fellini's Amarcord, I Remember You is an autobiographical meditation on the past . . . a poetic odyssey, which also proves to be a journey into subconscious memory, rendered in images of extraordinary intensity and beauty. The striking Gulya Tashbayeva, the director's wife, gives a haunting performance"—Peter Scarlet. (1985, 35 mm, subtitles, 92 minutes)
Seeking Spain in the Cinema
Throughout its history, Hollywood has reduced race and ethnicity to conventions and stereotypes that seemingly serve to pique viewer interest. In this program, the portrayal of Spanish identity (including the Civil War era and modern flamenco culture) in three classic Hollywood narrative films is contrasted with El Amor Brujo, the final film in Carlos Saura's flamenco cycle. Along with commentary by Spanish novelist Antonio Muñoz Molina and Josep Colomer, Prince of Asturias Chair in Spanish Studies, Georgetown University, legendary Spanish cantaora Esperanza Fernandez provides a musical introduction. Presented in association with Post-Classical Ensemble's production of Manuel de Falla's flamenco-inspired masterpiece El Amor Brujo at Georgetown University, and with support from Spain's Ministry of Culture.
The Barefoot Contessa
followed by Behold a Pale Horse
Introduction by Josep Colomer
Saturday, November 26, 2:00 p.m.
Related in flashback as a rags-to-riches saga, The Barefoot Contessa features Ava Gardner as the ultimate tragic and untamed Spanish-born gypsy dancer Maria Vargas, transformed by American movie moguls via the Hollywood system into a glamorous star. As her former friend and confidant, down-on-his-luck director Humphrey Bogart narrates her life story. (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1954, 35 mm, 128 minutes) Print from UCLA Film and Television Archive
In Behold a Pale Horse, ex-Catalan anarchist Artiguez (Gregory Peck), living in France, continues organizing guerrilla raids on Spain years after the Civil War has ended. His bête noire, the Guardia Civil's Captain Viñolas (Anthony Quinn), sees Artiguez only as an outlaw. The complicated contest between the two men hinges on the fact that Artiguez's mother is now dying at home in Spain. (Fred Zinnemann, 1964, 35 mm, 118 minutes)
The Devil Is a Woman
Introduction by Josep Colomer
Sunday, November 27, 2:00 p.m.
Josef von Sternberg's adaptation—set during Spanish Carnaval—of Pierre Louÿs's 1898 French novel La Femme et le Pantin, gave Marlene Dietrich an opportunity to embody the Spanish temptress Concha, a woman whose manipulative and remorseless ways are nearly the downfall of the film's narrator, Don Pasqual. "Everything—lighting, camera, editing, acting—is aligned in the desperate expression of the erotic power of the woman"—Ado Kyrou. (Josef von Sternberg, 1935, 35 mm, 80 minutes) Print from UCLA Film and Television Archive
El Amor Brujo
Esperanza Fernandez, Antonio Muñoz-Molina, Angel Gil-Ordoñez, Joseph Horowitz, and Igal Perry in person
Sunday, November 27, 4:00 p.m.
The final film in Carlos Saura's flamenco cycle, produced in collaboration with choreographer Antonio Gades and dramatically using Manuel de Falla's El Amor Brujo, weaves a tale of tragic gypsy love between Carmelo (Gades), José (Juan Antonio Jimenez), and Candela (Christina Hoyos), a woman who as a young girl loves Carmelo, but is promised to José. In later life, after his death, Candela continues to be obsessed by the figure of her late husband José. "The flamenco choreography is so intrinsically dramatic that the acting passages often seem superfluous"—Janet Maslin. (Carlos Saura, 1986, 35 mm, 100 minutes) A flamenco set precedes the screening.
Yuri Ilyenko: Ballad of Ukraine
"A wizard behind the camera" is the way one critic characterized the visionary Ukrainian filmmaker Yuri Ilyenko (1936–2010), who graduated in 1960 from the Moscow film academy VGIK (one year earlier than his Central Asian contemporary Ali Khamraev). Though Ilyenko's early fame derived from his stunning cinematography for Sergei Paradjanov's folkloric Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, he crafted his own distinctive body of painterly, allegorical cinema while working at Kiev's Dovzhenko Film Studios, where his visual energy and expressive flair helped shape the midcentury Ukrainian poetic cinema movement. This series, organized in association with Yuri Ilyenko's son Philip, and with support from the Washington Group Cultural Fund and the Embassy of Ukraine, includes three principal works. (A fourth film, White Bird with Black Mark, is included in a larger survey of poetic cinema next year). The program is presented in Washington on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Ukrainian independence in December 1991.
A Spring for the Thirsty
Philip Ilyenko in person
Saturday, December 10, 2:00 p.m.
The visual equivalent of a narrative poem, A Spring for the Thirsty (Krynytsia dlia sprahlykh) relies on the measured repetition of its pure and unadorned black-and-white imagery to construct a fable of rural decay and renewal as an old peasant recalls feelings of love and loss shrouded in memories. "A Ukrainian lyric in the tradition of Dovzhenko's silents . . . looking as avant-garde today as it must have in 1965. Written by the poet Ivan Dratsch as a tragicomic character study, the film becomes Ilyenko's parable of death and rites of passage. Brought off the shelf in 1987, A Spring for the Thirsty cost the director/cinematographer 22 years of frustration and official censure"—Russell Merritt. (1965, 35 mm, subtitles, 71 minutes) The director's son, Philip Ilyenko, introduces the film.
The Eve of Ivan Kupala
Philip Ilyenko in person
Saturday, December 10, 4:00 p.m.
A colorful, chaotic, and fantastical adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's folkloric story On the Eve of Ivan Kupala's Day (Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala), Ilyenko's film was immediately shelved by Soviet censors and only rereleased in 1988. The poor peasant Piotr, hoping to marry the unattainable Pidorka, strikes a deal with the evil Bassaruv: Piotr must pluck a flower that blooms only on the Eve of Ivan Kupala (the summer solstice)—and the penniless Piotr will then be rich. The diabolical Bassaruv, however, with the aid of a witch, tricks Piotr; ultimately, though Piotr gets his bride, his life falls to ruin around him. (1968, 35 mm, subtitles, 71 minutes) The director's son, Philip Ilyenko, introduces the film.
Swan Lake—The Zone
Saturday, December 17, 2:00 p.m.
During his prolonged 1970s imprisonment, Sergei Paradjanov wrote diaries that later became the basis for Ilyenko's Swan Lake—The Zone (Lebedyne ozero-zona). A hard-hitting indictment of totalitarian cruelty, the film relates the story of a convict unable to successfully escape from a camp. At one point he is forced to hide inside the claustrophobic reproduction of a hammer and sickle and, at another, he finds his suicide attempt thwarted by a guard. "The time in prison was hard. But instead of falling apart, I left the prison richer as the author of four screenplays. . . . Swan Lake—The Zone is about the criminal milieu and its pathology. . . . Isolation is gruesome, tragic things happen"—Sergei Paradjanov. (1990, 35 mm, subtitles, 96 minutes)
American Originals Now: Fred Worden
Since the 1970s, Fred Worden has been making experimental films primarily to examine "how a stream of still pictures passing through a projector at a speed meant to overwhelm the eyes might be harnessed to purposes other than representation or naturalism." With wholehearted revelry in cinematic illusion and a commitment to kinetic abstractions, he produces short films and digital videos that draw attention to subjective perceptual play through the manipulation of visual phenomena. Assistant professor of art at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Worden has produced work exhibited at festivals and venues in Paris, Hong Kong, Rotterdam, London, New York, and Toronto.
Possessed and Other Shorts
Fred Worden in person
Sunday, December 11, 4:30 p.m.
Digital video is Worden's current chosen medium, allowing for a myriad of mind-bending experiments or "optical locations." This program collects several of his more recent works, including Here (2005, 7 minutes), "a conjuring in order to accommodate a clandestine rendezvous between Sir Laurence Olivier and Georges Méliès"; Possessed (2010, 9 minutes), a reworking of a short clip from an early Joan Crawford movie that establishes her firmly on the "outside"; and the ribald When Worlds Collude (2008, 13 minutes) among others. "Seizing upon the gifts and gullibilities of our eye-brain perceptual system, Worden catalyzes a maelstrom of unlocked imaginings"—Mark McElhatten. (Total running time 74 minutes)
After Hours in the Cerebral Kitchen
Fred Worden in person
Saturday, December 17, 4:30 p.m.
After Hours in the Cerebral Kitchen is the title Fred Worden has given to a malleable artist's talk/lecture he has designed to contextualize his interest in the moving image and human perception. Following the presentation, Worden will show one of his early 16 mm nonfiction films, How the Hell I Ripped Jack Goldstein's Painting in the Elevator (1989, 22 minutes), and offer a rare opportunity to view and discuss his current work in progress, tentatively titled All or Nothing. (Total running time 80 minutes)
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