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Release Date: July 5, 2016

Ciné-Concerts, Festival of Preservation, New Films by Thom Andersen and José Luis Guerín, Shorts from the Black Maria Film Festival, Bruce Baillie Retrospective, Early Cinematic Pantomime and Shakespeare Pre-Sound, New Documentaries, and Special Appearances Highlight National Gallery of Art 2016 Summer Film Season

Image of Bruce Baillie from series The Inner Landscapes of Bruce Baillie, screening August 13-21 at National Gallery of Art, Washington, East Building Auditorium. Image courtesy of Bruce Baillie.

Image of Bruce Baillie from the series The Inner Landscapes of Bruce Baillie, screening August 13-21 at National Gallery of Art, Washington, East Building Auditorium. Image courtesy of Bruce Baillie.

Washington, DC—Cinematic rarities and restorations fill the summer film season at the National Gallery of Art, starting with the series Recovered Treasure: UCLA Festival of Preservation. To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 1616, the Gallery presents Shakespeare as Cinematic Experiment: 1908–1921, a unique opportunity to witness the earliest attempts to transfer Shakespearean performances from stage to screen.

The Grandest Spaces: Picturing Museums includes a number of recent feature documentaries and essays about museums from a vast range of perspectives. The series has been organized to coincide with the Gallery's 75th anniversary. Once again the Gallery welcomes the opportunity to screen award-winning new shorts from the Black Maria Film Festival, one of the world's premier showcases for the short form. The Inner Landscapes of Bruce Baillie looks at this artist's groundbreaking avant-garde works from the 1960s and 1970s. Synchronized Pantomimes/Early Animations is a unique program focusing on the importance of pantomime and music in the earliest years of cinema.

Special events this season include the Washington premieres of José Luis Guerín's The Academy of Muses and Le Saphir de Saint-Louis, Thom Andersen's The Thoughts That Once We Had and The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, and a number of unusual ciné-concerts, including Menschen am Sonntag, early animations by Catalan artist Segundo de Chomón, and D. W. Griffith's Broken Blossoms accompanied by recreations of Griffith's own special effects with a ten-piece ensemble conducted by Gillian B. Anderson.


Special Appearances, Washington Premieres, Ciné-Concerts

José Luis Guerín's The Academy of Muses (preceded by Le Saphir de Saint-Louis)
July 17 (4:00)

The First Line
Filmmakers Coerte Voorhees and John Voorhees in person
Introduced by Eleftherios Ikonomou
July 24 (4:00)

Cine-concert: People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag)
Matthew Nolan and Rachel Grimes in performance
July 31 (4:30)

Thom Andersen's The Thoughts That Once We Had
Washington Premiere
September 11 (4:00)

Thom Andersen's The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger
Washington Premiere
September 18 (4:00)

Béla Tarr's Macbeth (followed by The Day Before the End)
September 25 (4:00)


Recovered Treasure: UCLA Festival of Preservation
July 2–10

The First Legion
July 9 (2:30)

White Zombie (followed by The Crime of Dr. Crespi)
July 10 (4:00)

The Grandest Spaces: Picturing Museums
July 16–Aug 28

Several recent feature-length documentaries and ciné-essays have focused on museum culture, from architecture to collections, exhibitions, renovations, behind-the-scenes politics, and public controversies. Representing a variety of styles from docudrama to experimental, The Grandest Spaces includes recent films on museums in London, Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, Saint Petersburg, Madrid, and other cities. The series is organized on the occasion of the National Gallery of Art's 75th anniversary.

Hieronymus Bosch—Touched by the Devil
July 16 (1:00)

Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation
July 16 (3:00)

National Gallery
July 23 (2:00)

The New Rijksmuseum
July 30 (1:00)

Francofonia (preceded by Hubert Robert–A Fortunate Life)
August 7 (4:00)

The Great Museum
August 20 (2:00)

James Benning's Natural History
August 20 (4:00)

Russian Ark
August 28 (4:00)

Black Maria at Thirty-Five: Selections from the Festival
August 6

For 35 years the Black Maria Film Festival has been celebrating and preserving the diversity, invention, and vitality of the short film. The festival takes place at New Jersey City University and is named after Thomas Edison's original West Orange film studio, called "Black Maria" because of its resemblance to the black-box police paddy wagon of the same name. Black Maria Film Festival is an annual juried competition of new shorts in all genres, open to anyone. Selections from the most recent competition are screened at the Gallery in two programs, each introduced by Black Maria's executive director, Jane Steuerwald.

Black Maria Program One
August 6 (1:00)

Black Maria Program Two
August 6 (3:30)

The Inner Landscapes of Bruce Baillie
August 13–21

A founding member of independent film distributor Canyon Cinema and cofounder of the San Francisco Cinematheque (with artist Chick Strand in 1961), Bruce Baillie (b. 1931) is a true pioneer of American avant-garde film. His experiments in sound and image are firmly rooted in the land and the observational, often connecting to a place, mood, history, and mythos of the American West, while remaining entirely subjective, always evocative, and unabashedly playful. From the very beginning, Baillie stretched the technical limits of his medium with optical printing, superimpositions, and other visual and aural collaging methods. Three programs of his 16mm film work have been chosen for this series from the recent retrospective All My Life: The Films of Bruce Baillie. With thanks to curator Garbiñe Ortega and Antonella Bonfanti, executive director of Canyon Cinema, for the generous loan of these 16mm film prints.

Why Take Up the Camera?
August 13 (2:30)

Searching For Heroes
August 14 (4:00)

The Sky, the Land, the In-Between
August 21 (4:00)

Shakespeare as Cinematic Experiment: 1908–1921
August 27–September 24

In the pre-sound era, hundreds of short films were produced from Shakespeare's plays—mostly one-reelers of highlights with actors in costume. These shorts aimed to grant a bit of respectability to movie-going, while offering familiar, culturally resonant fare to an increasingly middle-class audience. Certain film companies—Vitagraph, Thanhouser, Pathé's affiliate Film d'arte Italiana, Cines, Biograph, Kalem, Ambrosio, Gaumont, Eclair, and Nordisk, among others—showed particular interest in these shorts. While many of the films have been lost, a number of archives, including the Library of Congress and the British Film Institute, hold significant collections of these experiments. Organized to coincide with the quadricentennial of the Bard's death, this series includes lectures, ciné-concerts, and rarely seen film fragments. Special thanks to Anthony Guneratne, Mike Mashon, Zoran Sinobad, Fleur Buckley, George Watson, the Library of Congress, and the George Eastman Museum.

Ciné-concert: Richard lll (1911 and 1912)
Donald Sosin, Joanna Seaton, Christian Simmelink, Stephen Czarkowski, Neil Brown, and David J. Miller in performance
August 27 (3:00)

Ciné-concert: The Asta Nielsen Hamlet (German version)
Dennis James, Michael Tsalka, and Madeline Beitel in performance
September 10 (2:30)

Ciné-concert: The Asta Nielsen Hamlet (American version)
Philip Carli in performance
September 17 (2:30)

Vitagraph Shakespeare Cycle (1908-1912)
Screening and discussion with Anthony Guneratne
September 24 (2:30)

Synchronized Pantomimes/Early Animations
September 3–4

A combination of performance and discussion focuses on the history and importance on pantomime in early cinema. This weekend of exploration includes an illustrated lecture by Gillian B. Anderson, examples of pantomime in the cinema with an 11-instrument ensemble, and early animations by renowned Spanish cinéaste Segundo de Chomón. The pantomimes A Modern Garrick and Taming of the Shrew honor William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death and the restoration work necessitated by the dramatic rediscovery of these two prints at the bottom of a swimming pool in the Yukon. The program is a unique celebration of the spectacle of early cinema.

With special thanks to the Library of Congress, Museo Nazionale Del Cinema di Torino, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Ciné-Concert: Broken Blossoms (preceded by The Taming of the Shrew and A Modern Garrick)
Gillian B. Anderson, conducting Cinemusica Viva
September 3 (2:00)

Synchronized Music: Pantomime's Influence on Moving Pictures
Lecture by Gillian B. Anderson
September 4 (2:00)

Cine-Concert: The Early Animation of Segundo de Chomón
Virginia Guastella, pianist
September 4 (3:30)

The National Gallery of Art's film program provides many opportunities throughout the year to view classic and contemporary cinema from around the world. Through screenings, scholarly notes, filmmaker discussions, and unique introductions by critics and academics, the program encourages viewers to learn more about the history of the cinema and the role of media in society. Innovative retrospectives, restored works of historical value, silent films with live musical accompaniment, new documentaries, and experimental media by noted video artists are offered on weekends during the entire year. For information about past film programs, please visit the Film Programs Archive.

The Gallery's film holdings include hundreds of international documentaries related to the arts, such as Jean Dubuffet Un Auto-Portrait, Joseph Cornell: Worlds in a Box, Beaubourg, David Hockney: The Colors of Music, The Camera Je, and various international television series on the arts. The National Gallery is an associate member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).

Programs are free of charge, but seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Films are screened in original formats in the Gallery's 500-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium with stadium-style seating. Doors open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Programs are subject to change.

For more information, e-mail [email protected], or call (202) 842-6799.

Please see our accessibility page for information on services for the hearing-impaired.

Press Contact:
Sarah Edwards Holley, (202) 842-6359 or [email protected]

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Press Release

Sarah Edwards Holley
(202) 842-6359
[email protected]