Release Date: July 29, 2015
Summer Films at National Gallery of Art Include Albert Maysles Retrospective, Rare 35mm Prints from Italian Film Archives, Tribute to Titanus Studio, and Special Appearance by Indie Filmmaker
Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art film program returns to its East Building Auditorium on August 1 with a tribute to Albert Maysles that focuses on his and his brother David's interest in art and performance and includes several screenings from Italian film archives shown in the Gallery's annual summer preservation series dedicated this year to the Italian film production house Titanus.
Maysles Films Inc.: Performing Vérité (some in original 16mm format)
Through August 2
Albert Maysles (1926–2015) and his brother David (1931–1987) expanded the artistic possibilities for direct cinema by espousing "the eye of the poet" as a factor in shooting and editing cinema vérité. Their trademark approach—capturing action spontaneously and avoiding a point of view—became, for a time, the very definition of documentary. It is presented as a tribute to Albert Maysles, who died this year in March. Maysles often visited the National Gallery of Art; his wife, Gillian Walker, was the daughter of former Gallery director John Walker. The National Gallery of Art extends a special thanks to Jake Perlin and Rebekah Mayles for making the showing of the Maysles films possible.
Screenings include Grey Gardens (August 1), now hailed as one of the greatest nonfiction works of the 20th century. The story is about the now-famous aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Edith Ewing Bouvier and Edie Bouvier Beale, who lived out their lives in a ramshackle Long Island estate. Additional films include Salesman (August 1), a documentary about four American men making a marginal living selling bibles in working-class neighborhoods. Gimme Shelter (August 2), a documentary with footage from an epic concert that included, among others, the Grateful Dead, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Rolling Stones, includes the infamous murder of Meredith Hunter that was inadvertently captured on camera.
Titanus Presents: A Family Chronicle of Italian Cinema
August 8–September 27
The renowned production house Titanus, founded in Rome in 1904 by Gustavo Lombardo, is still operating today under grandson Guido Lombardo. Alongside the cadre of genre film directors were the auteurs—Luchino Visconti, Alberto Lattuada, Federico Fellini, Dino Risi, Ermanno Olmi, Elio Petri, and Francesco Rosi—plus a constellation of gifted actors from Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman to Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida. The series is presented in Washington with the cooperation of the Italian Cultural Institute, Marco Cicala, Linda Lilienfeld, Stefania Sandrone, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and Locarno Film Festival.
Titanus films include Totò Diabolicus (August 8), a parody of a giallo crime thriller, in which legendary comic actor Totò plays five siblings; The Fiancés (August 8), one of Ermanno Olmi's eloquent tales of the working-class poor; Le Amiche (August 9), Michelangelo Antonioni's adaptation of a Cesare Pavese novel; and The Leopard (August 29), Luchino Visconti's grand adaptation of Giuseppe Rotunno's masterful novel Il Gattopardo.
Days of Glory (August 15), made in the wake of the Ardeatine Caves Nazi-Fascist massacre, shows riveting vérité footage of the recovery of the bodies, the trial, and more. Now a landmark of early neorealism, the domentary is rarely screened outside Italy. Violent Summer (August 15) reveals a doomed love affair between a naval hero's widow (Eleonora Rossi Drago) and a younger man (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a draft dodger. In The Days Are Numbered (August 16), a modernist take on a working-class life in crisis mixes neorealism with social observation. Roma Ore 11 (August 22) tells a tale of five women among hundreds applying for a low-paying secretarial job in postwar Rome, whose lives were changed when a staircase collapses. Il Bidone (August 23) is a story about three con artists that subsist by playing tricks on the gullible poor, disguising themselves to fit the mood of each escapade. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (August 30) features an American writer in Rome that witnesses an attack inside an art gallery, based on The Screaming Mimi by American pulp fiction writer Fredric Brown.
Additional films include The Sign of Venus (September 5), which features Sofia Loren and Franca Valeri in a film about the romantic adventures of two cousins from different backgrounds—one overly feminine (Loren) and the other overly plain. Banditi a Orgosolo (September 6) is the story of a shepherd wrongly accused of a crime and pursued by thuggish carabinieri. I Magliari (September 6) develops themes of the immigrant worker, organized crime, and Europe's north-south problem. Sophia Loren stars in Two Women (September 13), adapted from a novel by Alberto Moravia. The 26-year-old Loren became the first Oscar winner in a foreign-language film. Bread, Love, and Dreams (September 19) features Gina Lollobrigida, Marisa Merlini, and Vittorio De Sica in this 1960 film set in a mountain village near Abruzzi. The Passionate Thief (September 27) features Anna Magnani, Totò, and Ben Gazzara in Mario Monicelli's dazzling screwball farce that was restored last year for theatrical release.
Alberto the Great (Luca Verdone in person September 5), a new documentary on the iconic career of Alberto Sordi—arguably Italy's most beloved comic actor of the mid-20th century—provides an amusing yet in-depth account of his career in cinema through clips, photographs, interviews, and testimonials. The National Gallery of Art extends a special thanks to the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington.
Full Moon in Paris (September 20) highlights the romantic longings and self-deceptions of a trio of young Parisians in Eric Rohmer's masterful comedy of manners. In Rohmer in Paris followed by The Girl at the Monceau Bakery (September 26), Éric Rohmer's Parisian cityscapes take on an intriguing life all their own in this cinematic essay with insightful reflections on the city's topography. Documentarian Richard Misek mixes biography, speculation, fact, and fiction with excerpts from assorted Rohmer films into an original excursion through cinema history and contemporary Paris.
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Maysles Films Inc.: Performing Vérité
July 5–August 2
Titanus Presents: A Family Chronicle of Italian Cinema
August 8–September 27
Sarah Edwards Holley