<em>Onésime horloger</em>. 1912. France. Directed by Jean Durand. Image courtesy of Collection EYE Film Instituut Nederland

Cruel and Unusual Comedy from the Desmet Collection of the Eye Film Institute, The Netherlands: A Special Concert

Sunday, October 30, 2011, 2:30 p.m.

Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1

Two outrageous, groundbreaking programs of early European film comedy, featuring original music performed live by maestro Donald Sosin and his NYC Eclectic Electric Band. Before the stardom of Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd and the worldwide success of American comedy after World War I, there was the European cinema of Zigoto, Bébé, Onésime, Little Moritz, Robinet, and Max, a phenomenal outpouring of Euro-clown comedies populated by distinctively named screen characters who were featured in over 70 different series from France alone between 1908 and 1914. Produced by prestigious companies like Ambrosio in Italy, Messters in Germany, and Gaumont and Pathé in France, this body of work was, on the whole, more psychologically inclined, self-consciously surreal, and in some ways edgier than American slapstick. Long deserving better recognition, particularly in the U.S., these films can now be rediscovered after 90 years thanks to painstaking preservation efforts. Centering on representative themes of sex, violence, madness, music, and science fiction, this selection from the legendary collection of Dutch film distributor Jean Desmet anticipates the fuller retrospective that will take place at MoMA in 2012. Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art; accompanist-historian Ben Model; and historian Steve Massa; in collaboration with archivist Elif Kaynakci, EYE Film Institute. Approx. 110 min., plus a 15-minute intermission.

In the Film exhibition To Save and Project: The Ninth MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation

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