Release Date: March 29, 2011
Spring 2011 Films at the National Gallery of Art Feature Eric Rohmer, Nam June Paik, Igor Stravinsky, Kevin Jerome Everson, plus New Documentaries, Exhibition Films, and More
Washington, DC—The spring film season begins in April with the series Richard Dindo: Artists, Writers, and Rebels, from the renowned Swiss director's works focusing on infamous cultural icons. One of Dindo's documentaries features painter and sculptor Paul Gauguin in conjunction with the Gauguin: Maker of Myth exhibition, on view at the Gallery from February 27 through June 5, 2011.
In celebration of the exhibition In the Tower: Nam June Paik (March 12–October 2, 2011), the Gallery will present All For All: Collaborative Channeling, a program highlighting three videos that Nam June Paik made in collaboration with other artists: Guadalcanal Requiem, You Can't Lick Stamps in China, and Allan ‘n' Allen's Complaint.
Washington premieres include Lost Bohemia, a film about a spectrum of artists, musicians, dancers, and actors who once resided in the now-demolished Carnegie Studio Towers, and Son of Babylon by Iraqi filmmaker Mohamed Al-Daradji.
The Gallery presents a number of film series this season, including A Season of Rohmer, a retrospective of works by recently deceased new wave director Eric Rohmer. His films, injected with lingering attention to detail and clever dialogue, focus on small moral dilemmas in the mundane lives of the young, middle-class demographic. June brings In Praise of Independents: The Flaherty, a series that highlights contemporary beliefs in film and media culture. American Originals Now: Kevin Jerome Everson also begins in June. As a filmmaker, Everson examines African American history and the African American experience.
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. For more information, visit www.nga.gov/ film or call (202) 842-6799.
Stravinsky on Film
Tony Palmer, Joseph Horowitz, Robynn Stilwell, Alexander Toradze, and others in person
Saturday, April 9, 1:00 p.m.
The rich accumulation of film production on Igor Stravinsky is celebrated in a program that interprets his life and music, and includes the premiere of a new restoration of Richard Leacock's A Stravinsky Portrait (1966). Preceding that, the masterful documentary Stravinsky: Once at a Border (1982) is screened and discussed by director Tony Palmer and critic Joseph Horowitz. Presented in association with Post-Classical Ensemble, Music Center at Strathmore, and Georgetown University, the afternoon also includes dialogue with noted Stravinsky and Balanchine specialists Robynn Stilwell and Alexander Toradze, who opens the afternoon with a performance of Tango. (Total running time approximately 350 minutes, with intermission).
Director Josef Birdman Astor in person
Saturday, April 16, 4:30 p.m.
Josef Birdman Astor's poignant and illuminating new film on the artists, musicians, actors, and dancers who for decades inhabited the historic 1890 Carnegie Studio Towers atop Carnegie Hall—and who recently were forced to leave the residence to make way for renovations and new urban development—receives its Washington premiere. Historically, the building was home to celebrity residents including, at one time or another, Leonard Bernstein, Isadora Duncan, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille, Marlon Brando, Enrico Caruso, and others, including director Astor himself. (Josef Birdman Astor, 2010, DigiBeta, 77 minutes)
The Black Maria: Selections from the Festival
Saturday, April 23, 3:30 p.m.
Named for Thomas Edison's pioneering New Jersey film studio, this renowned festival competition is now in its 29th year. A selection of the festival's best new documentary and experimental shorts is culled from the December 2010 judging and presented by the Black Maria's founding director, John Columbus. (Total running time approximately 150 minutes)
Sunday, May 1, 5:00 p.m.
A motley group of one-time classmates who grew up in Moscow during the years of the Soviet Union's collapse—members of the last generation who came of age under communism—make frank assessments of their feelings about the era, now that 20 years have already passed. American documentarian and self-proclaimed Russophile Hessman studied abroad in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and got to know her subjects well—their comfort with her filmmaking is apparent, as each person honestly appraises his or her life in this rousingly thoughtful essay that also integrates much period footage. As one American reviewer noted, "Now that we're beginning to awaken to the limits of our form of government … Hessman's film seems timely as well." (Robin Hessman, 2010, high-definition DCP, 88 minutes)
Son of Babylon
Director Mohamed Al-Daradji in person
Thursday, May 12, 6:30 p.m., reservation required (see below)
A beautifully crafted, compelling road movie, Son of Babylon was shot on location in northern Iraq in regions at once ravishing and war torn. Shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 a spirited 12-year-old Kurdish boy, Ahmed, sets out with his grandmother on an odyssey to find his father, missing since the Gulf War. While en route, the pair brave a string of chaotic adventures and a ragtag cast of characters, some of whom turn into odd allies in a futile search. Director Mohamed Al-Daradji, an Iraqi native, not only had clear command of his material and nonprofessional cast, but managed to shoot the film in widescreen 35 mm under often treacherous conditions. (Mohamed Al-Daradji, 2010, 35 mm, Arabic/Kurdish with subtitles, 92 minutes) Presented in association with Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue, an initiative of the Sundance Institute and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For this screening only, reservations are required. To reserve a free ticket, call (202) 633-3030.
Ciné-Concert: La Bohème
Dennis James performs original score on theater organ
Saturday, May 14, 2:30 p.m.
King Vidor's meticulous Hollywood adaptation of Henri Murger's Scènes de la Vie de Bohème, similar to other theatrical and operatic versions of the tale, celebrates the love of seamstress Mimi (Lillian Gish) and poet Rodolfo (John Gilbert). Cedric Gibbons' romantic Latin Quarter sets and Hendrik Sartov's warm cinematography enhance the melodrama, even if this La Bohème might be missing a certain Parisian je ne sais quoi. Dennis James performs the film's original musical score. (King Vidor, 1926, 35 mm, silent with live music, 100 minutes).
Death in Venice
Sunday, May 15, 4:00 p.m.
Visconti's epic adaptation of Thomas Mann's novella, filmed on location in the Grand Hôtel des Bains, Piazza San Marco, and other sites around Venice and the Veneto, changes Mann's original writer protagonist into the composer Gustav von Aschenbach. The film, with its sensuous soundtrack consisting of Adagietto from Mahler's Fifth Symphony and sections from the composer's Third Symphony, is screened on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Mahler's death in May 1911. Visconti envisioned specific parallels to the composer's life and work. (Luchino Visconti, 1971, 35 mm, 130 minutes)
Friday, May 20, 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 21, 12:30 p.m.
Emile de Antonio's snapshot of New York's art world in the late 1960s, long unavailable, has now been restored in a digital version. Footage of the landmark Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition New York Painting and Sculpture 1940–1970—and candid moments with Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Barnett Newman, Henry Geldzahler, Frank Stella, and others—prompted one New York Times reviewer to quip, "watching it is like being at a cocktail party." (Emile de Antonio, 1973, DigiBeta, 116 minutes)
International Festival of Films on Art
Saturday, May 28, 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 29, 2:00 p.m.
Monday, May 30, 2:00 p.m.
Award winners from the 2010 edition of the celebrated International Festival of Films on Art, an annual event in Montreal now in its 29th year, are screened in various formats over Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday, May 28, the program includes Twice Upon a Garden (Canada, 2009, 52 minutes), about the botanical paradise known as Les Jardins de Métris near the Saint Lawrence estuary; Expansive Grounds (Germany, 2008, 66 minutes), on Peter Eisenman's controversial Berlin Holocaust Memorial; and Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight (U.S., 2008, 73 minutes) on the American graphic designer and creator of the "I Love NY" campaign.
On Sunday, May 29, The New Rijksmuseum (Netherlands, 2009, 120 minutes) is screened.
On Monday, May 30, the series concludes with Boris Vian, the Jazz Life (France, 2009, 60 minutes), a portrait of the writer who became artistic director of the legendary Jazz Hot magazine; Archipels Nitrate (Belgium, 2009, 62 minutes), on the unique history of the famed Cinémathèque Royale in Brussels; and Symphonie Montréal (Germany and Canada, 2010, 97 minutes), a celebration of one of the world's great symphony orchestras and its conductor, Kent Nagano.
Paris—The Luminous Years
Saturday, June 11, 2:30 p.m.
One of America's most original cultural documentarians, Perry Miller Adato has for 30 years been crafting films for broadcast on personalities like Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, and Eugene O'Neill. Paris—The Luminous Years, her latest effort, portrays the city and its famed café society as a catalyst in the modernist movement. Footage of the many Americans who made Paris their home, including Josephine Baker, Aaron Copland, Ernest Hemingway, Janet Flanner, and Sylvia Beach, comprises part of the narrative. (Perry Miller Adato, 2010, HD-Cam, 120 minutes)
All for All: Collaborative Channeling with Nam June Paik
Sunday, June 12, 2:00 p.m.
Known as the father of video art, Nam June Paik collaborated with numerous other artists, technicians, and colleagues to develop his iconic artworks and installations. This program focuses on three collaged single-channel works that Paik realized with three of his long-time partners and collaborators: Guadalcanal Requiem (with Charlotte Moorman, 1977–1979, 29 minutes), an exploration of the Solomon Islands' battleground through archival footage, interviews with World War II survivors, and images of Moorman performing with various cellos; the travelogue You Can't Lick Stamps in China (with Gregory Battcock, 1978, 29 minutes), a work reframed from material recorded during critic Battcock's two-month cruise to China; and Allan ‘n' Allen's Complaint (with Shigeko Kubota, 1982, 29 minutes), a juxtaposition of two separate performances—one by sculptor and performance artist Allan Kaprow, the other a reading by Allen Ginsberg. (Total running time 90 minutes)
Richard Dindo: Artists, Writers, Rebels
One of Europe's most esteemed documentarians, Swiss filmmaker Richard Dindo (b. 1944), has steadily been acquiring a following in North America. Most of his films—absorbing, intelligent, and unconventional—are biographical essays. His subjects, in the main, are artists and revolutionaries, often both. While certain figures like Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Arthur Rimbaud, and poet Breyten Breytenbach are famously encircled in controversy, other subjects are lesser known but no less intriguing for the manner in which Dindo builds his portrait. Using actual testimony and eyewitness accounts spoken by actors, Dindo returns with his camera to the places where events actually occurred, as if seeking to derive some new revelation at the moment of filming. This series is presented through the cooperation of SwissFilm, with special thanks to Hanna Bruhin and Richard Dindo.
Gauguin in Tahiti and the Marquesas and Aragon, the Book of Matisse
Director Richard Dindo in person on April 15
Friday, April 1, 8, and 15, 2:30 p.m.
Gauguin's letters and other writings are paired with paintings and the settings that motivated them in this chronicle of the artist's journey to the South Pacific. As a rebel who espoused a return to nature, Gauguin warned that industrialization would eclipse the earth's beauty, and wipe out the region's cultures. (2010, DigiBeta, 68 minutes)
In 1941, French poet and writer Louis Aragon fled the Nazi-occupied zone of France for Nice, where he befriended Henri Matisse. Thirty years later Aragon completed Henri Matisse, a Novel, an account of their relationship. Dindo's beautiful film essay Aragon, the Book of Matisse evokes this work's creation during the years in the south of France. (2003, Beta SP, 52 minutes)
Who Was Kafka?
Director Richard Dindo in person
Saturday, April 16, noon
For his portrait of the renowned writer from Prague, Dindo adapted a technique he developed in earlier biographical films. Actors portraying Franz Kafka's family, lovers, and friends—Max Brod, Milena Jesenská, Felice Bauer, and Gustav Janouch among others—act out their characters' words and writings, as they recall Kafka. Archival photos and footage of Prague provide the visual backdrop. (2006, 35 mm, 98 minutes)
Director Richard Dindo in person
Saturday, April 16, 2:30 p.m.
In southern California's Mojave Desert, members of the Mars Society—a loosely connected group of people who live modestly but spend time planning a better life on the Red Planet—don homemade spacesuits and wander the Mojave, conjuring a dry Martian landscape. Are they tired of life on earth? In a personal, entertaining, and thought-provoking essay, Dindo raises fundamental questions on the future of humankind and, in his interviews, uncovers an oddly heartrending array of attitudes. "Mars is a metaphor for a utopian dream—and I like people who have a dream." (2010, 35 mm, 83 minutes)
Arthur Rimbaud, a Biography
Saturday, April 23, 1:00 p.m.
Arthur Rimbaud, a Biography (Arthur Rimbaud, une Biographie) is one of Richard Dindo's landmark works, "a documentary fiction" on the life and death of the gifted symbolist poet (1854–1891). Using "interviews" and eyewitness accounts from his sister and mother, a childhood friend, an employer, the poet Paul Verlaine, and others who knew him, the film constructs a portrait of Rimbaud's turbulent career, drug addictions, and early death, while the camera wanders the settings that were his favorite haunts. (1991, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 143 minutes)
A Season of Rohmer
April 3–May 29
Eric Rohmer (1920 – 2010) changed the course of contemporary filmmaking with his eloquent, elegant, and probing films focused on small moral dilemmas in the everyday lives of young, middle-class people. Born Jean-Marie Maurice Schérer (Eric Rohmer was his nom de plume), he remained quiet about his private life but created beautifully wordy and witty scenarios for his protagonists. His trademark comedies of manners are, in fact, as much about his characters' linguistic habits as they are about their lives, loves, and entanglements. Frequently compared to Jane Austen or Henry James, Rohmer produced an oeuvre arguably closer to that of Stendhal: intense analysis of the tiniest situations, a light tone of detachment, and, of course, clever dialogue. "A Rohmer film is a flavor that, once tasted, cannot be mistaken"—Roger Ebert. This retrospective, presented at the National Gallery of Art, the American Film Institute Silver Theatre, and La Maison Française, includes all extant works. With special thanks to Institut français, AFI, the Embassy of France, and Films du Losange.
The Sign of Leo
preceded by Nadja à Paris
Sunday, April 3, 4:30 p.m.
In Rohmer's earliest nouvelle vague feature, an American musician living high on the hog in Paris loses a grand inheritance and tries to make ends meet with help from his friends. It's summer, though, and everyone has fled. A delicate homage to the city of lights, The Sign of Leo (Le Signe du Lion) is also a compelling portrait of loneliness. "Rohmer is the first exponent of what might be called ‘the cinema of pure behavior ... portraying the friction set up between a human being and society, his wearing down, his slow degradation"—Louis Marcorelles. (1959, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 90 minutes)
Nadja of Nadja à Paris prepares a term paper on Proust while sampling the life of the city, developing a preference for Montparnasse, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and the blue-collar neighborhood Belleville. (1964, BetaSP, 13 minutes)
A Tale of Springtime
Sunday, April 10, 4:30 p.m.
Late in his career Eric Rohmer undertook the quartet Tales of the Four Seasons, each film reflecting a different state of mind as well as a different time of year. Finding spring a season for adventure, the heroine of A Tale of Springtime (Conte de Printemps) finds herself moving into a new living arrangement where her involvements with the present occupants of the household turn curiously convoluted. "Rohmer delves beneath words to uncover, through gesture and intonation, their real meanings: no one is completely blameless in this web of intrigue"—Geoff Andrew. (1990, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 108 minutes)
A Tale of Winter
Sunday, April 17, 4:00 p.m.
Like other Rohmer heroines, Félicie in A Tale of Winter (Conte d'Hiver) believes that life is steered by some higher order, a sort of positive romantic energy. In what appears to have been a simple blunder years earlier, she lost the love of her life, and forever keeps the faith that one day he will return. "Paris is prosaic in winter; one has to provide one's own transcendent metaphors…Bresson, Hitchcock, and Shakespeare appear to have guided the filmmaker. As in their [respective works] White Nights, Vertigo, and The Winter's Tale, people who were thought dead are resurrected"—Judy Bloch. (1992, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 114 minutes)
A Tale of Autumn
Sunday, April 24, 4:30 p.m.
Protagonists in A Tale of Autumn (Conte d'Automne), the last chapter of the Four Seasons cycle, are a generation older than Rohmer's typical leads. Vineyard owner Magali (Beatrice Romand) and bookseller Isabelle (Marie Rivière), good friends since childhood, become mixed up in a hopeless muddle when an outsider attempts to become Magali's matchmaker. As usual, it's not the tale but the telling that gives distinctive character to the story, "as sublimely warming an experience as the autumn sun itself"—Stephen Holden. (1998, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 112 minutes)
A Tale of Summer
Saturday, April 30, 4:30 p.m.
Alone on holiday in the Brittany coastal town of Dinard, guitar-toting Gaspard meets graduate student Margot, a waitress for the summer season. The two suddenly find themselves speaking freely about life, and realize they are enjoying a warm respite from their regular entanglements. Playing with the cliché that summer remains the most fleeting of seasons in A Tale of Summer (Conte d'Été), Rohmer builds a profoundly ironic character study from the simplest associations. (1996, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 113 minutes)
Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle
Saturday, April 30, 2:30 p.m.
Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle (Quatre Aventures de Reinette et Mirabelle), a present-day variant on the country mouse and city mouse fable, follows the friendship between a naïve young painter from the provinces and a worldly-wise student from Paris. Through four offbeat narratives, the two women tangle with an assortment of characters and situations, sustaining throughout a "Chaplinesque sense of comedy and Rohmer's customary delight in paradox and richness of characterization"—Pacific Film Archive. (1987, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 95 minutes)
Rendezvous in Paris
Saturday, May 7, 4:00 p.m.
Rohmer's command of the short story was never more obvious than in Rendezvous in Paris (Les Rendez-vous de Paris), three bittersweet sojourns through arcane corners of the city with six characters on the verge of impulsive romantic entanglements. "What gives this piece a lift is that Rohmer shot it so casually…on a minimal budget, so it's something of a return to the ideals of the nouvelle vague; and it's very much a love letter to Paris"—Geoff Andrew. (1995, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 100 minutes)
The Marquise of O
Sunday, May 8, 4:30 p.m.
As an Italian citadel falls during the Napoleonic wars, a virtuous governor's daughter (Edith Clever) is saved from rape by a Russian officer (Bruno Ganz) but finds herself inexplicably pregnant and, as a result, cast out by her family. Rohmer's first period film and only work in a language other than French was also his first adaptation—Heinrich von Kleist's 1808 novella. "I wanted to use the original text as if Kleist himself had put it on the screen." (1976, 35 mm, German with subtitles, 103 minutes)
Eric Rohmer, Supporting Evidence
Saturday, May 7, 2:30 p.m.
From the acclaimed and long-running French television series Cinéma de Notre Temps, the documentary portrait Eric Rohmer, Supporting Evidence (Eric Rohmer, Preuves à l'Appui) finds the usually private and reticent Rohmer talking at great length about his life, his ideas, and his work. (André Labarthe and Jean Douchet, 1994, DigiBeta, French with subtitles, 60 minutes)
The Lady and the Duke
Sunday, May 22, 4:00 p.m.
In an interesting departure from his normally naturalistic approach, Rohmer experimented in The Lady and the Duke (L'Anglaise et le Duc) with historical drama set in a virtual Paris. An adaptation of the memoirs of a Scottish noblewoman in love with a French aristocrat at the time of the French Revolution, the film's then-new digital technology transformed a series of perspective paintings based on period engravings into architectural tableaux—the milieu for much of the action. The result is a beautiful expression of Rohmer's avowed objective "to find the true by way of the false." (2001, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 129 minutes)
Saturday, May 21, 3:30 p.m.
Another seeming departure from Rohmer's norm is this spy story set in France of the mid-1930s. Loosely based on an unsettled case (the "Miller-Skobline Affair") of a White Russian general in exile who duped not only the Soviets, the Nazis, and the French, but also his adoring Greek wife (played by Katerina Didaskalou), Triple Agent slips in contemporary newsreel footage but mainly tells its tale obliquely through quiet drawing room conversations in exquisite period sets. At the core is Rohmer's customary investigation of relationships and their gradations of feelings and misgivings. Noted one contemporary reviewer, "The sheer classic purity of Rohmer's narrative is both beautiful and bracing, and the final sequence, especially, is magnificently matter-of-fact." (2003, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 100 minutes)
Astrée and Celadon
Sunday, May 29, 5:00 p.m.
Rohmer's last work was inspired in part by Honoré d'Urfé's 17th-century novel L'Astrée. Astrée and Céladon (Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon) retells this famous tale of classical love between a shepherd and shepherdess in idyllic outdoor settings suggesting paintings by Poussin. Its shimmery surface, however, only masks one of Rohmer's most rewarding narratives and a warning to the audience to beware the crude and coercive manipulation of minds. "Rohmer suggested that Astrée and Celadon would be his final film, and its view of life is the far-sighted perspective of a die-hard moralist gazing at the foolish world from an Olympian altitude, or perhaps from another planet"—Stephen Holden. (2007, 35 mm, French with subtitles, 109 minutes)
In Praise of Independents: The Flaherty
The Flaherty Seminar, the celebrated international forum for independent filmmakers, artists, academics, curators, critics, and students, now in its 56th year, takes place over the course of a week each summer in rural upstate New York.
Inaugurated in 1955 by Frances Flaherty, widow of the pioneering American filmmaker Robert Flaherty, this concentrated series of viewings and critical discussions still adheres to its founder's principle of "non-preconception." While the thematically linked screenings emphasize documentary and experimental work, the general focus is on contemporary thought in film and media culture. Taken as a whole, "the Flaherty" is a uniquely engaging and edifying experience. The Gallery salutes this annual event with a two-part selection from the 2010 seminar. Special thanks to Linda Lilienfeld, Mary Baron, and Mary Kerr.
On Work: A Selection of Shorts
Director Akosua Adoma Owusu in person
Saturday, June 4, 2:00 p.m.
The theme for the 2010 Flaherty was "Work"—as a means of survival, source of identity, and ceaseless setting for ritual, history, fulfillment, and discontent. The guest curator was media critic and writer Dennis Lim. The following short films are presented in this order: The Pottery Maker (Robert Flaherty, 1925, U.S.); Clay (Naomi Uman, 2008, Ukraine); The Longest Day (Uruphong Raksasad, 2006, Thailand); Me Broni Ba (My White Baby) (Akosua Adoma Owusu, 2008, Ghana); Strike Anywhere (Benj Gerdes and Jennifer Hayashida, 2009, Sweden); and The Sixth Section (Alex Rivera, 2003, Mexico). (Total running time 120 minutes)
preceded by Haiku
Saturday, June 4, 4:30 p.m.
Among its many rewards, the Flaherty offers a chance to view a number of works by a single filmmaker and then discuss that work with the artist, in person, throughout the week. The 2010 edition of the seminar featured, among others, Argentinean director Lisandro Alsonso, whose La Libertad (2001, 35 mm, 73 minutes) is "an account of everyday work and ritual that transforms the banal into poetry, maybe even myth"—James Quandt. The staccato-like Haiku (Michael Glawogger, 1987, 35 mm, 3 minutes) precedes the feature.
American Originals Now: Kevin Jerome Everson
The prolific filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson (b. 1965) has created an ongoing cycle of shorts and feature films dedicated to the exploration of African American history and the experiences of people of African descent. Using traditional cinematic techniques such as the reenactment and the interview, as well as formal structural and experimental approaches, he develops films that are spare yet powerful, and unusually rich in detail and nuance. "Everson rejects the role of cultural explainer, opting instead to place the burden of understanding on the audience and its own labor."—Ed Halter. An associate professor of art at the University of Virginia, Everson is the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Academy in Rome Prize. His work has been exhibited and screened at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and many other venues. In 2009, he was honored with a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris.
Materials, Process, Procedure, and Subject
Director Kevin Jerome Everson in person
Sunday, June 5, 4:30 p.m.
Through the context of his background and his visual art production, Everson makes connections among his works in this multimedia presentation across cinematic, sculptural, and photographic lines. Included are two works from 2009—Company Line, on one of the first predominately black neighborhoods in Mansfield, Ohio, and the silent single-take Old Cat—as well as premieres of a handful of newly completed shorts from 2010 and 2011. The Mansfield films "betray a sense of deep ambivalence about the promises of upward mobility in America… Fifty years later, the people of Mansfield still aren't sure what ‘better' means"—Ed Halter and Thomas Beard. (Total running time 90 minutes)
Half On, Half Off and Erie
Director Kevin Jerome Everson in person
Saturday, June 25, 4:30 p.m.
The short Half On, Half Off (2011, 16 mm) documents a team of workers on a Pensacola, Florida, beach dealing with the aftermath of the recent Deepwater Horizon spill. Erie (2010, DigiBeta) is "a series of single take shots in and around communities near Lake Erie. The scenes relate to a Black migration within the USA, contemporary conditions, folks concentrating on the task at hand, theater, and famous art objects"—Everson. (Total running time 85 minutes)
Color, ‘Scope: Recent Restorations from the 1950s
Recent restorations of classic wide-screen theatrical releases from the 1950s confirm that 35 mm print production and exhibition are still flourishing in the age of the download. Although digital scanning is regularly utilized in the restoration process itself, digital files are shot back to 35 mm film for high-quality, authentic presentation. With thanks to Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, and Criterion for use of their vault prints.
Sunday, June 12, 4:30 p.m.
Charming drifter William Holden proves an irresistible force for small-town Kansas beauty queen Kim Novak in the film adaptation of William Inge's popular 1953 Pulitzer Prize–winning play Picnic. Stage and film veteran Joshua Logan directed both the Broadway production and the motion picture, the latter winning Oscars for art direction and editing. James Wong Howe's stunning CinemaScope compositions were filmed on location in five central Kansas towns, and the sensuous musical score became one of the most popular themes of the 1950s. (Joshua Logan, 1956, 35 mm, Eastmancolor, 115 minutes)
House of Bamboo
Saturday, June 18, 2:30 p.m.
In occupied Japan, American military cop Robert Stack infiltrates a gang of criminals—all dishonorably discharged GIs—led by the urbane and unbalanced Robert Ryan. The film, however, does away with any high-minded distinctions between the hoodlums and the law, "as generalized thuggery runs riot amid a landscape of racial and cultural differences"—Jason Sanders. The film's lush Tokyo setting is beautifully fully exploited: at one point, the camera follows Stack's love interest Shirley Yamaguchi through a streetscape, then opens up to reveal Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel, a structure demolished in the late 1960s. (Samuel Fuller, 1955, 35 mm, Eastmancolor, 102 minutes)
Sunday, June 19, 4:30 p.m.
In Delmer Daves' accomplished and unassuming Western, a drifter (Glenn Ford) joins rancher Ernest Borgnine's crew of cowhands and, in due course, becomes enmeshed in a tragedy with more than a few Shakespeare-inspired undertones. Shot in Wyoming's Grand Teton country, Jubal's Technicolor CinemaScope landscapes provide backdrops that are nothing short of spectacular. (Delmer Daves, 1956, 35 mm, 100 minutes)
Saturday, June 25, 2:30 p.m.
With a stellar cast on location in Bisbee, Arizona, "three stickup men posing as salesmen (it doesn't get more '50s) pull in for ‘business.' Casing things out over a day and a night, they get acquainted with the population of Sherwood Anderson small-towners awash in hotel-bar cocktails, dreamy voyeurism, and infidelity. The cast is a museum exhibition on the nigh-extinct art of scaled-in American bit acting … Richard Fleischer, an ace with the long frame, grab[s] one of the most ravishing train shots in cinema" — Nick Pinkerton. (Richard Fleischer, 1955, 35 mm, Eastmancolor, 91 minutes)
Bigger Than Life
Sunday, June 26, 2:00 and 4:30 p.m.
Director Nicholas Ray dug below the surface of American life to reveal cracks in the 1950s suburban dreamscape. Here James Mason plays a mild-mannered teacher whose misuse of then-new wonder drug cortisone drives him to the brink of mental illness. "Suburbia is haunted by psychosis; family life torn apart by Oedipal bloodlust. Ray's direction in ‘Scope and Eastmancolor is as moving as ever—delicate compositions and fluid camerawork contradicted by the image of weak men locked into obsessive self destruction. At every level the banal props of ‘50s prosperity are tuned into symbols of suffocation and trauma"—Chris Auty. (Nicholas Ray, 1956, 35 mm, 95 minutes)
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