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Release Date: March 14, 2018

National Gallery of Art 2018 Spring Film Program Features Washington Premieres, Archival Retrospectives, and Discussions with Filmmakers and Artists

Still image from "Crafting an Echo" by Marco Williams (2018, 90 minutes), screening at the National Gallery of Art on May 13, 2018, at 4:00 p.m., as part of the film series Avant-Garde to Underground: Outliers and Film, Part 2, introduced by Marco Williams. Image courtesy the artist.

Still image from Crafting an Echo by Marco Williams (2018, 90 minutes), screening at the National Gallery of Art on May 13, 2018, at 4:00 p.m., as part of the film series Avant-Garde to Underground: Outliers and Film, Part 2, introduced by Marco Williams. Image courtesy the artist.

Washington, DC—The spring film season at the National Gallery of Art features many special cinematic events, Washington premieres, archival retrospectives, and discussions with renowned filmmakers and artists. Scheduled events in April, May, and June include Brent Green and Brendan Canty in performance with Green's most recent handmade work; community access pioneer DeeDee Halleck; Thomas Bena with his diary film One Big Home; and two new art documentary features, Beuys and Leaning into the Wind.

Film series held in conjunction with special exhibitions include part two of Avant-Garde to Underground: Outliers and Film, featuring a presentation by American artist Vanessa Renwick, films by legendary found-footage doyen Craig Baldwin, and an afternoon with filmmaker James Benning, whose Stemple Pass is included in the exhibition Outliers and American Vanguard Art. In conjunction with the exhibition Heavenly Earth: Images of Saint Francis at La Verna, three divergent interpretations of the saint's life and teachings, by three contemporary Italian filmmakers, are presented.

Other film series highlight experimental filmmaker and self-taught artist Ernie Gehr, who returns to the Gallery with recent digital works and a presentation about his practice. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the May 1968 student revolts in Paris, a series from the French experimental collective known as Zanzibar is featured in May. From Vault to Screen focuses on restorations from two collections in Finland: the National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI) and the Finnish Film Foundation, both in Helsinki. Serge Bromberg, renowned for his work in rescuing and restoring unusual cinematic "orphans" and forgotten gems, returns to the Gallery for a new iteration of Retour de Flamme.

Films are shown in the East Building Auditorium in original formats whenever possible. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis unless noted otherwise. Doors open 30 minutes before films begin. Films are subject to change on short notice. For up-to-date information, visit

Special Events

Francesco d'Assisi
April 1, noon
In Francesco d'Assisi, a youthful rebel against corrupt institutions and worn-out hierarchies, Saint Francis (Lou Castel) eventually retires to La Verna where he receives the stigmata. (Liliana Cavani, 1966, subtitles, 35mm, 126 minutes)

The Flowers of Saint Francis
April 1, 2:30 p.m.
Inspired in part by the classic 14th-century text I fioretti di San Francesco, Roberto Rossellini's film is similarly composed of parables from the life of Francis and his followers. (Roberto Rossellini, 1950, subtitles, 35mm, 90 minutes)

Uccellacci e uccellini (Hawks and Sparrows)
April 1, 4:30 p.m.
Pier Paolo Pasolini's tale-within-a-tale portray 13th-century monks assigned by Saint Francis to teach hawks and sparrows (the haves and the have-nots) to love one other. (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1966, subtitles, 35mm, 89 minutes)

May 11, 1:00 p.m.
May 12, May 26, noon
A new feature documentary by Andres Veiel, Beuys is compiled from recently discovered photographs and rare television footage of installations, happenings and performances, conversations, and public teaching and debates. (Andres Veiel, 2017, subtitles, 111 minutes)

One Big Home
Thomas Bena in person
June 2, 3:00 p.m.
Thomas Bena is a carpenter and self-taught filmmaker who has lived on Martha's Vineyard for decades. Assorted local people become his interview subjects, and most are remarkably blunt on the topic of architecture, zoning, and renovation. (Thomas Bena, 2016, 88 minutes)

Leaning into the Wind
June 3, 4:00 p.m.
Nearly two decades after Rivers and Tides, Thomas Ridelsheimer revisits artist Andy Goldsworthy, the British sculptor famed for his mutable earthworks crafted from driftwood, rocks, ice, leaves, and other ephemeral things. Leaning into the Wind follows the artist through forests, jungles, thickets, fields, and even urban settings, all accompanied by Fred Frith's music. (Thomas Ridelsheimer, 2016, 93 minutes)

Hearts in a Heartless World: Access and Community Media
DeeDee Halleck in person
June 9, 2:00 p.m.
Free-speech champion and community access pioneer, author of Hand-Held Visions: The Impossible Possibilities of Community Media, founder of Paper Tiger Television, and cofounder of Deep Dish TV, DeeDee Halleck introduces a presentation of her rarely screened early documentary portraits in their original formats. The program includes Children Make Movies (1961, 16mm, 13 minutes); Mural on Our Street (1965, 35mm, 26 minutes); Jaraslawa (1973, 16mm, 15 minutes); and Bronx Baptism (1980, 16mm, 27 minutes). Followed by a recently digitized episode from Paper Tiger Television, Donna Haraway: National Geographic of Primates. (Total running time 120 minutes)

AFI Docs Special Screening
June 16, 4:00 p.m.
AFI Docs showcases many of the best new documentary films from the United States and around the world. The Gallery will present a premiere screening as part of this year's festival. Title and further details to be announced in May on the AFI website at

Serge Bromberg's Retour de Flamme: New Discoveries
Serge Bromberg in person
June 17, 4:00 p.m.
A César-winning director, former head of the Annecy Animation Film Festival, and TV producer, Serge Bromberg is also a collector of rare and enchanting films. This special program, which Bromberg accompanies on piano, includes many of his most recent discoveries, including Laurel and Hardy's lost masterpiece, Georges Méliès's Trip to the Moon in color, legendary opera singer Enrico Caruso, early animation, and much more. (Approximately 90 minutes)

A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness
Brent Green and Brendan Canty in performance
June 30, 3:00 p.m.
Percussionist Brendan Canty (Fugazi) and self-taught animator Brent Green present Green's latest handmade film. Accompanied by live narration, Foley sound, drums, and piano, the moments within A Brief Spark weave an intricate and delicate narrative of everlasting love in an increasingly dark time. (Brent Green, 2017, approximately 65 minutes)

Film Series

Avant-Garde to Underground: Outliers and Film, Part 2
April 7–May 13
Part two of the series Avant-Garde to Underground, organized in conjunction with the exhibition Outliers and American Vanguard Art, features screenings and discussions with a range of self-styled underground filmmakers in person, including the fabled found-footage pioneer Craig Baldwin, documentarian Marco Williams, artist Vanessa Renwick, and filmmaker James Benning in conversation with Outliers exhibition curator Lynne Cooke, among other guests. With special thanks to all the artists, Artists Television Access, Harvard Film Archive, and the Austrian Film Museum.

The Watermelon Woman
Introduction by Alexandra Juhasz
April 7, 2:00 p.m.
Cheryl Dunye's trailblazing debut The Watermelon Woman—the first feature film directed by and about a lesbian African American—centers on the protagonist's search for information about the fictional Fae Richards, a black actress from 1930s Hollywood. Constructed by artist Zoe Leonard in collaboration with Dunye to be used as props in The Watermelon Woman, the Fae Richards Photo Archive is on display in Outliers and American Vanguard Art. (Cheryl Dunye, 1996, 90 minutes)

Who Is Bozo Texino? preceded by Richart
Vanessa Renwick in person
April 8, 4:00 p.m.
More than 16 years in the making, Who Is Bozo Texino? explores a secret history of hobo and railway-worker graffiti while chronicling the search for the source of a ubiquitous tag. (Bill Daniel, 2005, 56 minutes). It is preceded by Renwick's short Richart (codirected with Dawn Smallman, 2001, 23 minutes), a revelatory and loving portrait of obsessive collagist and front-yard artist Richard Tracy. (Total running time 79 minutes)

April 14, 2:30 p.m.
Winner of several César Awards, Séraphine focuses on the true story of Séraphine Louis, a middle-aged domestic living in the 19th century, whose deep love of and connection to the French countryside motivated her colorful paintings of flora and fauna. (Martin Provost, 2008, 35mm, subtitles, 125 minutes)

Sonic Outlaws
Craig Baldwin in person
April 21, 2:00 p.m.
Sonic Outlaws, perhaps one of Baldwin's most accessible "documentaries," focuses on the (then) Bay Area recording and performance group Negativland and their legal battles to protect their culture-jamming practices. (Craig Baldwin, 1995, 98 minutes)

Spectres of the Spectrum
Craig Baldwin in person
April 22, 4:00 p.m.
Utilizing old kinescopes (filmed records of early TV broadcasts, before the advent of videotape) Baldwin creates an eerie, haunted "media-archaeology" zone for a sci-fi time-travel tale. (Craig Baldwin, 1999, 94 minutes)

Swimming in Nebraska
April 28, 1:00
Jon Jost describes his Swimming in Nebraska as "an essay-documentary of what I suppose most would call an experimental kind. It is meant as an oblique critique of the kind of provincialism in which New Yorkers or Parisians or Angelinos say things like, 'Nebraska, there's nothing there' or refer to the American Midwest as 'fly-over country.'" (Jon Jost, 2010, 74 minutes)

American Dreams (lost and found)
James Benning in person
April 28, 3:00 p.m.
American Dreams (lost and found) is James Benning's personal take on the history of the United States from 1954 to 1976 (mainly the years of his own youth), told through a complex and thought-provoking amalgamation of image, text, and sound. (James Benning, 1984, 35mm, 57 minutes)

Coming to Terms
April 28, 4:45 p.m.
In Coming to Terms, Jon Jost casts James Benning as the head of a household who requests his family's assistance in an effort to commit suicide. The stark and poetically minimalist narrative slowly unravels the family's responses as they try to process his request. (Jon Jost, 2013, 89 minutes)

James Benning in conversation with Lynne Cooke followed by measuring change
April 29, 4:00 p.m.
Represented in Outliers and American Vanguard Art by his media artwork Stemple Pass, Benning returns to the Gallery to discuss his films and projects with exhibition curator Lynne Cooke. Their discussion is followed by a screening of measuring change, one of the artist's landscape films. (James Benning, 2016, HD, 61 minutes)

Anne Charlotte Robertson: Selections from Five Year Diary
Introduction by Haden Guest
May 5, 2:00 p.m.
Diagnosed with various and changing mental disorders, Robertson faced several breakdowns and mental hospitals—experiences she documented and exorcised thoroughly through her films—particularly within the annals of Five Year Diary (1981–1997). (Total running time 101 minutes)

Lonnie Holley: The Truth of the Dirt followed by Crafting an Echo
Marco Williams in person
May 13, 4:00 p.m.
An observed portrait complemented by an intimate interview with the artist, Lonnie Holley: The Truth of the Dirt (2017) documents a man who sees beauty in what others step on, step over, and leave behind. Followed by the documentary Crafting an Echo, about the creative process of Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis's commissioned dance for the Martha Graham Dance Company (2016). (Total running time approximately 120 minutes)

Ernie Gehr: Recent Work
May 5–6
Veteran filmmaker Ernie Gehr returns to the Gallery to discuss his most recent work. Gehr's richly negotiated pieces meld and offset concrete soundscapes with sometimes barely perceptible slivers of place. These collisions between identifiable spaces and conceptual realms activate forms that are unique to Gehr's practice and career, now spanning over five decades.

Transport and Other Shorts (2016–2017)
Ernie Gehr in person
May 5, 4:30 p.m.
Featuring recently completed titles including Autumn, a multilayered observation of New York's Lower East Side, its inhabitants, and permutations; A Commuter's Life (What a Life!), developed from manipulated recordings made during the artist's regular train travel between New York and Boston; and Transport, a stirring first-person meditation through a train museum in Germany, among other titles. (Total running time 75 minutes)

New Work: A Talk by Ernie Gehr
Ernie Gehr in person
May 6, 4:00 p.m.
Gehr discusses his work and presents excerpts from several new digital films, including Cotton Candy, Glider, Greene Street, Waterfront Follies, and Brooklyn Series. (Approximately 70 minutes)

Paris, May '68: Zanzibar and Philippe Garrel
May 12–27
During the volatile late 1960s in Paris, the filmmaking collective known as Zanzibar began creating outsider underground movies, many of which are now lost or neglected. The group (consisting of Philippe Garrel, Jackie Raynal, Serge Bard, Daniel Pommereulle, Olivier Mosset, Frédéric Pardo, Patrick Deval, Caroline de Bendern, Zouzou, and one or two others) resembled a clique of Warhol Factoryesque characters—artists, writers, actors, and models, a few of whom had actually worked at the Factory. Special thanks to Sally Shafto, Jacob Perlin, Jackie Raynal, and Patrick Deval for their assistance.

Introduction by Sally Shafto
May 12, 2:30 p.m.
The first of the Zanzibar productions, shot between March and April 1968, borrows a title from a phrase scrawled on the walls of the University of Paris's Nanterre campus: Aideznous, détruisez-vous (Help us, destroy yourselves). Foreshadowing the growing spirit of revolt, Bard cast in this early film the artist and activist Alain Jouffroy who plays a professor lecturing to a nearly empty classroom on the necessity of revolution. (Serge Bard, 1968, subtitles, 75 minutes)

Le Révélateur preceded by Les enfants désaccordés
Introduction by Sally Shafto
May 12, 4:30 p.m.
Silent and dreamlike, Le Révélateur—in which a couple wanders the landscape with their young child and are menaced by some unknown force—was filmed in the Black Forest by cinematographer Michel Fournier. (Philippe Garrel, 1968, subtitles, 67 minutes) Garrel's Les enfants désaccordés follow the story of two teenagers who run away from home and inhabit a mansion on the edge of town where they act out problems from their respective families. (Philippe Garrel, 1964, subtitles, 15 minutes)

Les amants réguliers preceded by Actua 1
May 19, 2:30 p.m.
A participant observer in the events of May '68, Philippe Garrel used his son Louis as his leading actor and the classically trained Parisian cinematographer William Lubtchansky to shoot this poetic evocation of the era. (Philippe Garrel, 2005, 35mm, subtitles, 178 minutes) Actua 1, Garrel's short real-time documentation of May 1968, precedes the feature. (Philippe Garrel, 1968, 16mm, 8 minutes)

La cicatrice intérieure (The Inner Scar)
May 20, 4:30 p.m.
Philippe Garrel shot The Inner Scar with Warhol superstar Nico, his then partner and co-scriptwriter. As the actress wanders through a desert, she comes upon a man (Garrel) who leads her hither and yon, then disappears. The soundtrack features music from Nico's album Desertshore and minimal dialogue in English, German, and French, but no subtitles, per Garrel's request. (Philippe Garrel, 1972, 60 minutes)

Le Lit de la Vierge followed by On the Set of Le Lit de la Vierge
May 26, 2:00 p.m.
Pierre Clémenti plays a modern Christ figure who is reluctant to assume his earthly mission. (Philippe Garrel, 1969, 35mm, subtitles, 95 minutes) On the Set of Le Lit de la Vierge goes behind the scenes with a few of the actors in the film—Pierre-Richard Bré, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Babette Lamy, and the iconic Tina Aumont. (Frédéric Pardo, 1968, 16mm, silent, 30 minutes)

May 26, 4:30 p.m.
With its title from Georges Bataille's journal Acéphale, Deval's film follows the adventures of a young man and his friends as they wander through a barely recognizable post–May 1968 Paris. (Patrick Deval, 1968, 35mm, subtitles, 65 minutes) Special thanks to Centre Georges Pompidou for loan of their 35mm print.

Deux fois
May 27, 4:00 p.m.
Deux fois,shot during a week in 1968 in Barcelona, is a sequence of disconnected but riveting episodes that gained fame as a breakthrough work of feminist cinema. (Jackie Raynal, 1968, subtitles, 70 minutes)

Vite followed by The Revolution Is Only a Beginning: Let's Continue
May 27, 5:30 p.m.
Artist Daniel Pommereulle's Vite, though only a half-hour in length, was one of the most expensive of the Zanzibar films, featuring shots of the moon through a Questar telescope. (Daniel Pommereulle, 1969, subtitles, 37 minutes) Famed French actor Pierre Clémenti made several underground films, including the madcap The Revolution Is Only a Beginning: Let's Continue—his declaration of eternal revolt and poetry in the streets. (Pierre Clémenti, 1968, silent, 16mm, 25 minutes)

From Vault to Screen: Finland
June 10–24
Focuses on the holdings of Finland's National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI) and the Finnish Film Foundation in Helsinki, this series coincides with the commemoration of 100 years of Finnish independence. Special thanks to Antti Alanen, Tommi Partanen, Jenni Domingo, Annina Aalto, KAVI, the Finnish Film Foundation, and the Embassy of Finland.

The Unknown Soldier
June 10, 4:00 p.m.
As the chords of Finlandia reverberate on the soundtrack, members of a machine-gun troop emerge from the woodlands to join the national Continuation War counterattack on the Soviets after the Winter War standoff. A true national epic, and one of the world's great war sagas, the film was based on Väinö Linna's eponymous novel. (Edvin Laine, 1955, subtitles, 169 minutes)

People of the Summer Night
June 16, 1:00 p.m.
Based on Frans Eemil Sillanpää's 1934 novel (Ihmiset suviyössä), the narrative—told from varying viewpoints—focuses on the fates of several people during two long summer nights as they carouse, fall in love, fight, give birth, or die. (Valentin Vaala, 1948, subtitles, 66 minutes)

Loviisa (Louisa)
June 23, 2:00 p.m.
Considered the best adaptation from the Niskavuori play cycle by noted Estonian-Finnish writer Hella Wuolijoki, Loviisa is a tale of love between young Juhani Niskavuori and a local dairy worker named Malviina as well as of the family's frustration triggered by their affair. (Valentin Vaala, 1946, subtitles, 85 minutes)

Ciné-Concert: Anna-Liisa
Andrew Simpson, pianist
June 23, 4:00 p.m.
Anna-Liisa is an adaptation of the acclaimed 19th-century play by Minna Canth, a writer whose work focused on interesting female characters. The film's carefully reconstructed sets and open-air cinematography (underscored by this new digital restoration) draw attention to the unspoiled landscapes and the lives of local workers. (Teuvo Puro and Jussi Snellman, 1922, subtitles, 88 minutes)

Shadows in Paradise followed by Le Havre
June 24, 4:00 p.m.
The first of two restored classics from Finland's famous contemporary auteur Aki Kaurismäki, Shadows in Paradise is an early illustration of his memorably quirky style—muted satire mixed with fantasy and empathy in a minimal and boldly colored mise-en-scène. In Le Havre, Marcel Marx (André Wilms) lives a quiet life with Arletty (Kati Outinen) in the French port city where he befriends a young illegal immigrant from Africa and tries to hide him from the authorities. (Aki Kaurismäki, 2011, 35mm, subtitles, 93 minutes)

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