Release Date: September 12, 2018
National Gallery of Art 2018 Fall Film Program Features Rajiv Vaidya Memorial Lecture, Films Across Borders Series, Washington Premiers, Archival Retrospectives, and Discussions with Filmmakers
Washington, DC—The fall film season (October–December) at the National Gallery of Art features several special cinematic events, Washington premieres, archival retrospectives, and discussions with renowned filmmakers. Opening with four recent films—from Cameroon, Georgia, Iran, and Kyrgyzstan—shown in association with the citywide festival Films Across Borders: Stories of Women, the season continues with the inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival, a collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, featuring presentations by Simone Leigh and Ephraim Asili.
Other special guest artists include Nicolás Combarro, who will present his recent documentary on Spanish photographer Alberto García-Alix; Super 8 film poet Helga Fanderl of Germany; and British filmmaker William Raban, who will introduce two programs of his work as part of the series Lifting Traces: Memories of London, programmed in conjunction with the exhibition Rachel Whiteread.
The annual Rajiv Vaidya Memorial Lecture, Noisy Archives and the Future of Memory, will be delivered by archivist Rick Prelinger of the Prelinger Archives, recently acquired by the Library of Congress. Two screenings of the new documentary Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable and a restoration of Billy Wilder's classic The Apartment will be screened this fall.
Unique film series include a retrospective of Italian auteur Luchino Visconti; From Co-op to LUX: The Last Decade of the London Film-Makers' Co-op, with films made in the 1990s by Vivienne Dick, Peter Gidal, and others; and The Puppet Master: The Complete Jiří Trnka, a comprehensive review of the renowned Czech animator.
Films are shown in the East Building Auditorium, in original formats whenever possible. Seating for all events is on a first-come, first-seated basis unless otherwise noted. Doors open 30 minutes before showtime. For more information, visit nga.gov/film.
The Two Faces of a Bamiléké Woman
October 6, 2:00 p.m.
Filmmaker Rosine Mbakam returns to her home village in Cameroon after an absence of seven years studying cinema in Belgium. She wants to introduce her young son, but even more she wants new knowledge about her own past. Mbakam speaks at length with her mother and the other village women in a surprising journey of self-discovery as Mama Bamiléké talks about tradition and her own arranged marriage, and about the robust alliance of local women, a comfort in times of need. (Rosine Mbakam, 2017, subtitles, 76 minutes) Shown in association with the citywide festival Films Across Borders: Stories of Women.
October 6, 4:00 p.m.
Written and directed by Sadaf Foroughi, Ava is a bold debut, a coming-of-age tale set in Tehran about a middle-class Iranian teenager on the verge of rebellion. When Ava veers from a predictable schedule of school, music lessons, girlfriends, and curfew, her controlling mother suspects a male relationship. Ava counters fiercely, further disturbing her already faltering family relationships. (Sadaf Foroughi, 2017, subtitles, 103 minutes) Shown in association with the citywide festival Films Across Borders: Stories of Women.
Alberto García-Alix. La línea de sombra (The Shadow Line)
Nicolás Combarro in person
October 7, 4:30 p.m.
Alberto García-Alix. La línea de sombra (The Shadow Line) is a powerful portrait of one of Spain's most renowned photographers. His story is told in first person by the artist himself, sitting mainly in his studio and gazing directly at the viewer. Filmmaker Nicolás Combarro is also an artist and curator who has organized many exhibitions of works by García-Alix, primarily portraits of people who, like the photographer himself, lead excessive lives. (Nicolás Combarro, 2017, subtitles, 80 minutes) Special thanks to the Embassy of Spain.
October 13, 2:00 p.m.
A classic of Kyrgyz literature, Chyngyz Aitmatov's novella Jamila was published in the Soviet Union in 1958 and widely read. When Aminatou Echard filmed her 2018 adaptation—the story of a woman choosing to run off with her lover while her husband from an arranged marriage is at war—she discovered that feelings about this legendary heroine are still passionate. (Aminatou Echard, 2018, subtitles, 84 minutes) Shown in association with the citywide festival Films Across Borders: Stories of Women.
October 13, 4:00 p.m.
Mariam Khatchvani's DeDe is a labor of love, a celebration of her community of Ushguli (a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Greater Caucasus Mountains) and a true story of a young woman who challenged diehard tradition when she went after the wrong man. (Mariam Khatchvani, 2017, subtitles, 97 minutes) Shown in association with the citywide festival Films Across Borders: Stories of Women.
The Atomic Café preceded by The Atomic Soldiers
October 14, 4:00 p.m.
Today a cult classic, The Atomic Café (digital restoration completed this year) is a compilation of excerpts from hundreds of mid-century propaganda shorts, newsreels, TV ads, and orphaned instructional films for civilians and the military on how to survive an attack. (Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, and Pierce Rafferty, 1982, 92 minutes) The Atomic Soldiers is a strangely intense yet moving account of recollections from the few surviving witnesses (former military personnel) at American nuclear test sites in the 1950s. (Morgan Knibbe, 2018, 22 minutes)
The Big Country
Catherine Wyler in person
October 20, 2:00 p.m.
Honoring the occasion of William Wyler's The Big Country release exactly 60 years ago, his daughter Catherine introduces a 35mm print of this monumental work. A wide-screen Western in Technicolor—filmed in 20 historic locations including Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, Empire Ranch in Arizona, Red Rock Canyon State Park, and the Mojave Desert in California—its plot pivots on a brutal feud over water rights among neighboring ranches. The cast is led by Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Carroll Baker, and Jean Simmons. (William Wyler, 1958, 35mm, 166 minutes) Special thanks to Academy Film Archive.
Correspondences: The Silent Cinema of Helga Fanderl
Helga Fanderl in person
October 21, 4:00 p.m.
Since 1986, German artist Helga Fanderl has made hundreds of Super 8mm films, each a silent document of a place, person, or set of visual elements. Fanderl exercises a unique practice in the presentation of her work, tailoring each event to the space and in accord with the way the films were created. For this screening, Fanderl projects 16mm blowups of her original small-gauge works over a dozen short silent films selected especially for the Gallery's audience. (Total running time approximately 60 minutes)
Chartres: La lumière retrouvée (Chartres: Light Reborn)
Introduced by Dominique Lallement
November 25, 2:00 p.m.
The partial restoration of Chartres Cathedral that took place from 2014 to 2016 focused on the nave, stained-glass windows, and first figures in the ambulatory. Chartres: La lumière retrouvée documents this meticulous process through observation and conversations with numerous restorers, archaeologists, scientists, and architects. The screening is followed by a panel discussion. (Anne Savalli, 2016, subtitles, 54 minutes) Presented in partnership with American Friends of Chartres.
Rajiv Vaidya Memorial Lecture: Noisy Archives and the Future of Memory followed by Lost Landscapes of New York
Rick Prelinger, speaker
December 2, 2:00 p.m.
This image-rich talk looks at the future of memory, the renaissance of physical media, the virtues of inconvenience, and how archives and cultural repositories can serve as a force for inclusion, perhaps healing our digital wounds. Rick Prelinger is founder of the Prelinger Archives, a celebrated repository of home movies and ephemeral films. At 3:30 p.m., Rick Prelinger's compilation Lost Landscapes of New York is screened. It spans the 20th century's daily life, work, and celebrations and includes street views of the Lower East Side, Harlem, Brooklyn, and Queens; a ride from the Bronx to Grand Central in the 1930s; old Penn Station before its demolition; street photographers in Times Square; Manhattan's exuberant neon signage; garment strikes and militant labor parades in the 1930s; Depression-era "Hoovervilles"; crowds at Coney Island; the Third Avenue El; candid shots from the 1939 World's Fair; and much more. (2017, HD video transferred from 35mm, 16mm, and 8mm film, 83 minutes)
Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable
December 23, 30, 2:00 p.m.
The first documentary film on the life and work of this celebrated photographer, whose images of street life in New York and people in postwar America established him as one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century. Constructed from his own words and images, the film is an intimate portrait of a man who both personified and transformed an era. (Sasha Waters Freyer, 2018, 90 minutes)
Washington premiere of digital restoration
December 30, 4:00 p.m.
Billy Wilder's 1960 comedy of manners—set in a New York firm where the women are prey for the higher-ups and bosses borrow low-level Bud Baxter's apartment for "nooners"—won five Oscars. While witty dialogue and caustic commentary are Wilder trademarks, laurels truly go to the extraordinary ensemble cast headed by Jack Lemmon who, as Bud Baxter, moves from milquetoast to mensch during the holiday season, as well as Shirley MacLaine as the amiable elevator operator who cheerfully masks her melancholy. (Billy Wilder, 1960, 125 minutes)
Cinema. History. Culture: Smithsonian African American Film Festival
2018 marks the inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival, a showcase for historic and contemporary media works highlighting black experiences in America. The Gallery has partnered with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture to present two events, including post-screening discussions with several artists. With special thanks to Rhea Combs, Jon Goff, the visiting artists, and the festival team for their collaboration.
Making a Way Out of No Way
Simone Leigh in person
October 25, noon
Includes the dance film Four Women (Julie Dash, 1978) set to Nina Simone's stirring, iconic ballad; To Be Free (Adepero Oduye, 2017), an imagining of a staged performance by Nina Simone where Oduye herself embodies the revolutionary singer; An Ecstatic Experience (Ja'Tovia Gary, 2015), a meditative invocation on transcendence as a means of renewal; and Untitled (M*A*S*H) (Simone Leigh, 2018, commissioned by the Berlin Biennale), a look at a fictive order of black nurses operating on the front of the Korean War, showcasing the agonizing choices faced by those who staff the tented encampments. (Total running time approximately 75 minutes)
Power of Place
Ephraim Asili in person
October 25, 3:00 p.m.
Includes two recent works from Ephraim Asili's experimental 16mm series Diaspora Suite: Kindah (2016), shot in Hudson, New York, and Accompong, Jamaica, founded in 1739 by rebel slaves and their descendants; and Fluid Frontiers (2017), an exploration of resistance and liberation exemplified by the Underground Railroad as well as more modern movements such as Dudley Randall's Broadside Press and works by other Detroit-based artists. Additional titles include When the Lionfish Came (Tamika Galanis, 2016), an illustration of disappearing Bahamian culture and the palpable absence of real climate change initiatives in the area, told metaphorically; and Diasporadical Trilogía (Blitz the Ambassador, 2016), a musical study of intersections between the global African experience and racial struggle expressed through one woman's memories. (Total running time approximately 90 minutes)
Lifting Traces: Memories of London
October 27–November 11
Proposing a cinematic context in conjunction with the exhibition Rachel Whiteread, this series expands on ideas set forth in Whiteread's sculpture House (1993). Issues around housing, psycho-geography, and notions of home and community in Britain's capital are explored through artist films utilizing documentary and experimental techniques. Highlighting selected works by London-based filmmakers William Raban (who introduces two programs), Patrick Keiller, and John Smith, the series offers a unique perspective into moving image work that is contemporaneous to, and conterminous with, Whiteread's sculptural practice. With special thanks to William Raban and LUX Artists' Moving Image, London.
The Houseless Shadow and Other Shorts
William Raban in person
October 27, 2:00 p.m.
William Raban describes his experiments in painting as "lifting traces" from nature. The program includes four shorts that document aspects of London and the vagaries of time: Available Light (2016), a time-lapse compressed reading of an 858-page classic text; views of the East End and Canary Wharf in Sundial (1992); a portrait of the river in Thames Film (1986); and The Houseless Shadow (2011), where "to the accompaniment of Charles Dickens' haunting essay Night Walks…sympathy is pushed to the point of identification with London's poor and homeless" (John Bowen). (Total running time 96 minutes)
Time and the Wave: Documenting Civic Space
William Raban in person
October 28, 4:00 p.m.
For William Raban, documentary lends itself to experimentation as much as any other form. This program highlights three disparate examples of his approach to nonfiction. Commissioned in 2014 by Acme Studios in celebration of the organization's 40th anniversary, Raban's 72–82 "emphasizes the process by which history is not revealed but rather constructed, even by direct participants, of whom Raban himself is one" (Jared Rapfogel). Preceding 72–82 is London Republic (2016), a speculation on the outcome of the Brexit vote completed two months in advance of the referendum; and Time and the Wave (2013), a document of Margaret Thatcher's funeral accompanied by a reading of Charles Dickens's 1852 essay "Trading in Death," which was composed on the occasion of the Duke of Wellington's state funeral. (Total running time 79 minutes)
November 11, 2:00 p.m.
London, a lauded portrait of Britain's capital by celebrated film essayist Patrick Keiller, articulates the city's meaning through references to its past, as told by a narrator and his companion known only as Robinson (perhaps a reference to Daniel Defoe's protagonist). (Patrick Keiller, 1996, 85 minutes)
Home Suite preceded by Blight
November 11, 4:00 p.m.
Home Suite is a close-up journey through a domestic landscape as well as an expedition through memory. Playing upon ambiguity and the unseen, the work uses physical details to trigger fragmented verbal descriptions of memories. (John Smith, 1994, 96 minutes) Blight, made in collaboration with the composer Jocelyn Pook, is a montage that revolves around the building of the M11 link road in East London, a project that provoked a long and bitter campaign by local residents to protect their homes from demolition. (John Smith, 1996, 15 minutes)
November 3–December 16
Long acknowledged as one of the leading figures of mid-century Italian cinema, Luchino Visconti (1906–1976) was a gifted visual artist as well as a paradoxical character—a committed Marxist who descended from a noble northern Italian family, rulers of the duchy of Milan and patrons of the early Renaissance in that strategic city. Elegant and literary, Visconti was not only a filmmaker but an accomplished musician, painter, designer, and racehorse breeder, although it was his interest in opera and theater that ultimately led him to filmmaking. He started in film by working with Jean Renoir who, Visconti admitted, "was a human influence not a professional one." More frequently than his contemporaries, Visconti made use of motifs from European art history to enrich his mise-en-scènes, sets, and costumes, creating a sophisticated visual vocabulary. This series includes 35mm prints as well as new digital restorations; it is organized in association with Cinecittà Luce.
November 3, 2:00 p.m.
Completed during the Fascist period, Ossessione is a tale of amour fou. Adapting the 1934 pulp novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, it displays all the attributes of neorealist cinema. Visconti easily managed the transition from the backroads of California (where the novel was set) to the rural Po Valley near Ferrara (where the filming took place), with Clara Calamai as the seductive osteria proprietress and Massimo Girotti as the handsome rover. (1943, subtitles, 140 minutes)
November 9, 2:30 p.m.
A departure for Visconti, Bellissima's script by Cesare Zavattini and Suso Cecchi d'Amico is a vehicle for force-of-nature actress Anna Magnani as Maddalena Cecconi, a stage mother determined to get her young daughter cast in a film at the Cinecittà studio. Not only a lampoon of the Italian film industry, Bellissima is also a portrayal of Roman working-class life at mid-century. (1951, subtitles, 108 minutes)
La terra trema
November 10, 2:30 p.m.
La terra trema (The Earth Trembles) features a cast of nonprofessionals—mostly local fishermen of Aci Trezza, north of Catania—to portray the life of a Sicilian coastal village. Forfeiting his own house to buy a workboat in order to avoid the brokers who control the local fleet, Antonio suffers a different sort of distress, stemming from bad weather and the bitterness of the other villagers. Visconti based his epic film on I Malavoglia, an 1881 novel by Italian realist Giovanni Verga. (1948, subtitles, 160 minutes)
White Nights (Le notti bianche)
November 17, 4:00 p.m.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 1848 short story has been transposed to film many times, but none are as elegantly theatrical as Visconti's. A man, wandering aimlessly at night, has a chance encounter on a bridge with a young woman vainly awaiting an erstwhile lover. The man agrees to meet her in the same spot on the bridge for the next several nights. The simple make-believe premise belies the complexity of the sentiments aroused by the film's three principal characters (Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Schell, and Jean Marais). (1957, 35mm, 97 minutes)
November 18, 4:00 p.m.
Visconti's first film in color is an elaborately conceived historical drama—portraying the Risorgimento at the time of the 1866 Battle of Custoza—and a powerful love story featuring Farley Granger as Austrian deserter Franz Mahler and Alida Valli as the contessa who betrays her own Italian cause. (1954, subtitles, 123 minutes)
Rocco and His Brothers
November 23, 2:00 p.m.
The epic sweep of Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli) tells the tale of the Parondi family—a mother and her five sons who have left their home in rural Basilicata for the northern city of Milan in search of opportunity. It becomes a parable of fraternal bonds, tradition, and transformation, set to the passionate score of composer Nino Rota. Its brilliantly neorealistic mise-en-scène contrasts with the film's passionate operatic underpinnings. (1960, subtitles, 177 minutes)
The Leopard (Il gattopardo)
November 24, 2:00 p.m.
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's beloved classic Il gattopardo chronicles a fading Sicilian patrician dynasty (after the writer's own family history) through the chaotic years of the Risorgimento when Sicily was annexed to Italy. The source for Visconti's most venerated film, The Leopard is flawlessly cast (Burt Lancaster as the prince and Alain Delon as his nephew) and restored to its intended length and CinemaScope aspect ratio. (1963, subtitles, 186 minutes)
Sandra (Vaghe stelle dell'orsa) preceded by Visconti segment from Siamo donne
December 1, 4:00 p.m.
"The specter of the holocaust looms as the title character (Claudia Cardinale) returns with her new husband to her family villa for the unveiling of a statue memorializing her father's death in a concentration camp. With an eye to ruins, dilapidation, and crumbling earth, Visconti induces a gothic atmosphere rife with apocalypse." —Hugh Mayo. (1966, subtitles, 105 minutes) Visconti's chapter from the portmanteau film Siamo donne (We, The Women) is a comic portrayal of Anna Magnani, who has the misfortune of riding with a taxi driver who charges a premium fee for a dog. (1953, subtitles, 23 minutes)
Conversation Piece (Gruppo di famiglia in un interno)
December 8, 4:00 p.m.
A reclusive professor (Burt Lancaster) has filled his Roman house with 18th-century group portraits—paintings known as "conversation pieces," small in scale and commonly depicting families or friends in informal domestic settings. Grudgingly, the professor agrees to rent his empty top floor to a wealthy and hotheaded marchesa (Silvana Mangano) and her entourage, consisting of her daughter, the daughter's boyfriend, and her young German admirer. Slowly, the group begins to resemble one of the professor's group portraits. (1974, subtitles, 121 minutes)
Death in Venice
December 9, 4:00 p.m.
Recreating Thomas Mann's famous novella in wide-screen, with elegant period backdrops, Death in Venice tracks Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde) as he develops an increasingly destructive obsession with a handsome fourteen-year-old Polish schoolboy named Tadzio (Björn Andrésen), whom he spots at the Grand Hotel des Bains on the Lido. While remaining faithful to the novella's mood and surroundings, Visconti changed the vocation of the repressed Aschenbach to musician (rather than Mann's writer), and the lush soundtrack is dominated by the music of Gustav Mahler. (1971, subtitles, 130 minutes)
December 15, 2:00 p.m.
The enigmatic King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845–1886) is remembered now for the opulent palaces he commissioned in the secluded hills of southwestern Bavaria (including Neuschwanstein and Schloss Linderhof) and for his patronage of theater and music, especially the composer Richard Wagner. For Visconti, Ludwig proved an ideal subject—operatic, excessive, luxuriant, and multilayered. The cast, led by Helmut Berger as Ludwig, also includes Romy Schneider as the king's favorite cousin Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Trevor Howard as Wagner, and Silvana Mangano as Cosima von Bülow. (1973, subtitles, 238 minutes)
December 16, 4:00 p.m.
Gabriele D'Annunzio's 1892 novel L'Innocente (The Intruder) is the tale of wealthy playboy Tullio Hermil (Giancarlo Giannini), whose persistent infidelities are not lost on his self-possessed wife Giuliana (Laura Antonelli). Eventually, she takes a lover of her own, with unintended consequences. In Visconti's hands, the film is also an opulent period piece set within the parlors and bedrooms of Villa Mirafiori in Rome and Villa Butori in Lucca. This is Visconti's final work and one of his most beautifully realized. (1976, subtitles, 112 minutes)
From Co-op to LUX: The Last Decade of the London Film-Makers' Co-op
Established in 1966 by a band of British experimental film artists interested in sharing and supporting each other's work, the London Film-Makers' Co-op (LFMC) shared similar concerns with contemporary US-based organizations such as Canyon Cinema in California and the Film-Makers' Cooperative in New York. This series highlights a selection of short films by LFMC members made in the 1990s, the organization's last decade, before it incorporated with London Electronic Arts and other independent film organizations such as Circles and London Video Access, to eventually become LUX. Thanks to Charlotte Procter, Matt Carter, and LUX Artists' Moving Image, London.
Resistance to Professionalization
November 10, 12:30 p.m.
This program begins with a micro film from one of the Co-op's core members, Peter Gidal, whose one-minute elegiac tribute Assumption (1997) pays homage to the early life of the organization. This is followed by the DIY ethnography London Suite (Vivienne Dick, 1989, 28 minutes); Running Light (Lis Rhodes, 1996, 15 minutes), an investigation into immigration and endless traveling from place to place; Latifah and Himli's Nomadic Uncle (Alnoor Dewshi, 1992, 17 minutes), in which two cousins discuss ideas of culture and history while wandering through London; and Crystal Aquarium (Jayne Parker, 1995, 33 minutes), a study in performances above and below the waterline that takes its title from the tanks used for underwater performances at the London Music Hall at the turn of the 20th century. (Total running time 94 minutes)
November 17, 2:00 p.m.
A program of shorts by several of Britain's most important women filmmakers includes the lyrical Mirrored Measure (Sarah Pucill, 1996, 9 minutes); Delilah (Tanya Syed, 1995, 12 minutes), a meditation on violence, love, and survival; Lady Lazarus (Sandra Lahire, 1991, 24 minutes), the first part of a trilogy entitled "Living on Air," inspired by the life and work of poet Sylvia Plath; A Life in a Day with Helena Goldwater, a trawl through a fictional day in the life of a performance artist who doubles as a deck chair attendant (Sarah Turner, 1996, 20 minutes); and the silent, optically printed Imaginary, told in three parts (Moira Sweeney, 1990, 16 minutes). (Total running time 81 minutes)
The Puppet Master: The Complete Jiří Trnka
The maestro of puppet animation, Czech artist Jiří Trnka (1912–1969) came of age in an era of marionette theater, a lively feature of European culture since at least the 17th century. A painter, illustrator, designer, and author of fantastic tales, Trnka came from a family of toymakers and, in his films, created magical worlds with his sets and costumes. He often borrowed from Czechoslovak folklore while inventing novel techniques for directing his puppets using stop-motion cinematography. As in traditional puppet theater, some of his films use allegorical form to produce political satire; his most well-known satire, The Hand, was banned. At times, Trnka mixed two-dimensional drawn animation with puppetry that extended his formal range. The first complete retrospective of Jiří Trnka in the United States—six features and 20 shorts—is a production of Comeback Company, curated by Irena Kovarova, and includes 35mm prints, two new digital restorations, and 11 newly translated works. Special thanks to the Czech National Film Archive.
Old Czech Legends
December 1, 2:00 p.m.
Trnka used Alois Jirásek's 1894 Ancient Bohemian Legends and other literary and scientific sources such as the Cosmas Chronicles to revive essential Czech legends and folktales. Using puppetry which he crafted himself to create an origin myth for Bohemia, Trnka's epic animation combines intricate camera moves, sets, and lighting with magical storytelling. (1953, subtitles, 91 minutes)
The Emperor's Nightingale
December 8, 2:00 p.m.
The timeless Hans Christian Andersen tale about an ailing Chinese emperor and his love for the birdsong that restores his health has inspired opera, theater, ballet, and at least two animated films (including one by Lotte Reiniger). In Trnka's version—combining live action and animation—the tiny puppets appear in enigmatic masks and the costumes and sets frequently shimmer. (1948, musical soundtrack, no dialogue, 35mm, 72 minutes)
December 22, 2:00 p.m.
Based on a classic 19th-century fairy tale by Božena Němcová, Bayaya is populated with medieval knights and damsels, castles and banquets, dragons and jesters, a dazzling white stallion, and a surprise jousting tournament. Václav Trojan's haunting musical score accompanies this enchanting puppet play that is not without a few dark moments. (1950, subtitles, 75 minutes)
Shorts Program 1
December 23, 4:00 p.m.
This program of four shorts, made in the 1960s, includes Obsession (1962, 9 minutes); Cybernetic Grandma (1962, 28 minutes); The Hand (1965, 18 minutes); and Archangel Gabriel and Mistress Goose (1964, 29 minutes). (Subtitles, total running time 84 minutes)
The Good Soldier Švejk
December 26, 1:00 p.m.
A well-known classic of 20th-century literature, Jaroslav Hašek's subversive farce The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk (1923) traces the antics of a down-on-his-luck World War I soldier trapped in a mire of bureaucracy. A wickedly funny and fast-moving film version of the satire, The Good Soldier Švejk has all the traits of Trnka at his best, including a delightful soundtrack. (1954, subtitles, 74 minutes)
Shorts Program 2
December 26, 3:00 p.m.
Trnka's distinctive animation talents were evident from the beginning, as seen in this collection of six early experiments—eccentric and surreal hand-drawn examples, an anti-Nazi send-up, an organ grinder's encounter with an evil spirit, and even a puppet version of Anton Chekhov: Grandpa Planted a Beet (1945, 10 minutes); The Animals and the Brigands (1946, 8 minutes); Springman and the SS (Jiří Brdečka and Jiří Trnka, 1946, 13 minutes); The Gift (Jiří Trnka and Jiří Krejčík, 1946, 15 minutes); Romance with Double Bass (1949, 13 minutes); The Devil's Mill (1949, 35mm, 20 minutes). (Subtitles, total running time 79 minutes)
Shorts Program 3
December 27, 1:00 p.m.
An adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, Christmas toy trains, magical circuses, and a charming country fable are highlighted in this series of five shorts: Merry Circus (1951, 35mm, 12 minutes); The Gingerbread House (directed by Břetislav Pojar, designed by Jiří Trnka, 1951, 35mm, 18 minutes); The Golden Fish (1951, 15 minutes); How the Old Man Traded It All Away (1953, 9 minutes); Circus (1955, 23 minutes). (Subtitles, total running time 77 minutes)
Shorts Program 4
December 27, 3:00 p.m.
A witty winter's folktale, a pair of sleeping puppets, a UNESCO commission, and a satire of the Old West are among the delights of this eclectic program of shorts: Kuťásek and Kutilka (1954, 18 minutes); Song of the Prairie (1949, 20 minutes); The Two Frosts (1954, 12 minutes); The Midnight Adventure (directed by Břetislav Pojar, designed by Jiří Trnka, 1960, 13 minutes); Why UNESCO? (1958, 35mm, 10 minutes). (Subtitles, total running time 73 minutes)
A Midsummer Night's Dream
December 28, 2:30 p.m.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Trnka's most dazzling puppetry animation feats. He shot two versions of the Shakespearean play at the same time—a version in CinemaScope and another in classic Academy aspect ratio with slight variations in scenery and shot sequences. This screening features the classic version with narration in English. (1959, 35mm, 78 minutes)
The Czech Year
December 29, 2:00 p.m.
A new restoration of Trnka's first feature-length puppet animation (hailed as a masterpiece when it first appeared), The Czech Year won a major award at the Venice Film Festival in 1947. The soundtrack features a melodious chorus of children's voices, while the story travels through a provincial year—from springtime festivals to holiday fairs and feasts—focusing on music, dance, ritual, and Christmas traditions with a cast of delightfully fanciful creatures and beautiful painted sets. (1947, 75 minutes)
Laurie Tylec, (202) 842-6355 or [email protected]
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