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Magic_flute2-150x150
July 8, 2014  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Ingmar Bergman’s The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute. 1975. Sweden. Directed by Ingmar Bergman

The Magic Flute. 1975. Sweden. Directed by Ingmar Bergman

These notes accompany screenings of Ingmar Bergman’s The Magic Flute on July 9, 10, and 11 in Theater 3.

Let me say upfront that I know virtually nothing about opera. As I recall, I’ve been to the Met three times to see Der Rosenkavalier, some Leoš Janáček, and William Kentridge’s recent Gogolesque grotesquery. Read more

Jaws_1-150x150
July 1, 2014  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws
Jaws. 1975. USA. Directed by Steven Spielberg

Jaws. 1975. USA. Directed by Steven Spielberg

These notes accompany screenings of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws on July 2, 3, and 4 in Theater 3.

Back on March 30, 1974, when I was introduced to the young director of Sugarland Express, I had no idea I was playing a miniscule role on the periphery of one of the greatest revolutions in film history. Read more

Aguirre_wrath_god-e1403550563967-150x150
June 24, 2014  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Klaus Kinski in Aguirre, the Wrath of God. 1973. West Germany. Directed by Werner Herzog

Klaus Kinski in Aguirre, the Wrath of God. 1973. West Germany. Directed by Werner Herzog

These notes accompany screenings of Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God on June 25, 26, and 27 in Theater 2.

I would argue that no director in film history has moved so successfully back and forth between actuality and narrative as Werner Herzog, and Herzog’s skill in ether genre is nowhere better displayed than in Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre, the Wrath of God). Read more

It-for-others-150x150
June 20, 2014  |  Current Film Exhibitions
Inside Flaherty at MoMA: Turning the Inside Out—Duncan Campbell, Raqs Media Collective, and CAMP
It for Others. 2013. Great Britain. Directed by Duncan Campbell. Courtesy of Duncan Campbell and LUX, London

It for Others. 2013. Great Britain. Directed by Duncan Campbell. Courtesy of Duncan Campbell and LUX, London

I have been viewing many interesting film and media works by contemporary artists and filmmakers while attending the Flaherty Seminar at Colgate University in upstate New York. Three artists representing a cross section of the work presented at the Flaherty Seminar—and offering three different positions on form—will be at MoMA to discuss their work during a special Modern Mondays event Read more

Last-picture-show-3-150x150
June 17, 2014  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show
Cybill Shepherd and Jeff Bridges in The Last Picture Show. 1971. USA. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich

Cybill Shepherd and Jeff Bridges in The Last Picture Show. 1971. USA. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich

These notes accompany screenings of Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show on June 18, 19, and 20 in Theater 3.

There is a sense that, for cinephiles of my generation, Peter Bogdanovich is our Walter Mitty, living out our fantasies. Bogdanovich became a successful and scholarly critic, curated film exhibitions at MoMA and elsewhere, hobnobbed with the greats Read more

Death_venice_1971-150x150
June 10, 2014  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice
Death in Venice. 1971. Italy. Directed by Luchino Visconti

Death in Venice. 1971. Italy. Directed by Luchino Visconti

These notes accompany screenings of Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice on June 11, 12, and 13 in Theater 3.

It’s generally conceded in retrospect that such major directors as F. W. Murnau, Sergei Eisenstein, Marcel Carne, George Cukor, Vincente Minnelli, James Whale, and Edmund Goulding were gay. Read more

Dirty-harry-1-150x150
June 3, 2014  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry

Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. 1971. USA. Directed by Don Siegel. Image courtesy Photofest

Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. 1971. USA. Directed by Don Siegel. Image courtesy Photofest

These notes accompany screenings of Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry on June 4, 5, and 6 in Theater 2.

Don Siegel (1912–1991) was a director whose career had, in the words of biographer Judith M. Kass, “a historical uniqueness in terms of the Hollywood studio film.” My friend Judy emphasizes that Siegel “makes films that reflect himself,” which is ultimately what auteurism is all about. Read more

Shadows-150x150
May 28, 2014  |  Collection & Exhibitions, Film
From the Collection: John Cassavetes’s A Pair of Boots (1962)

New York–born actor/director John Cassavetes (1929–1989) began working in early episodic television while directing his first feature film, Shadows, which officially opened in March 1961 in New York City. Concurrent with the production of Shadows, Cassavetes starred in and directed 27 episodes of the early television crime drama Johnny Staccato (which was filmed in Los Angeles but set in a Greenwich Village jazz club), in which he played the title role, a jazz pianist/private detective. Read more

Merchant_four_seasons_1972-150x150
May 27, 2014  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Merchant of Four Seasons
Hans Hirschmueller in Merchant of the Four Seasons. 1971. West Germany. Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Hans Hirschmueller in The Merchant of Four Seasons. 1971. West Germany. Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

These notes accompany screenings of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Merchant of Four Seasons on May 28, 29, and 30.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder would have been 69 this coming Saturday. Tragically, however, he died in 1982, just days after his 37th birthday. Somehow, he managed to cram 44 directorial credits and 43 acting credits into this all-too-brief lifespan. In the process, Fassbinder managed to become Germany’s most noteworthy filmmaker since the golden age of Expressionism Read more

Mccabe_mrs_miller-3-150x150
May 20, 2014  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Warren Beatty in McCabe & Mrs. Miller. 1971. USA. Directed by Robert Altman. © Warner Bros. Image courtesy Warner Bros./Photofest

Warren Beatty in McCabe & Mrs. Miller. 1971. USA. Directed by Robert Altman. © Warner Bros. Image courtesy Warner Bros./Photofest

These notes accompany screenings of Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller on May 21, 22, and 23 in Theater 3.

Robert Altman (1925–2006) strikes me as being, on balance, the most interesting American director to come along after Orson Welles. He was obstreperous, inconsistent (one critic described his career as “rather weird”), sometimes difficult to work with (you don’t argue with a former bomber pilot), and provocatively idiosyncratic. Read more