To Save and Project: The 11th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation
October 9–November 12, 2013
To Save and Project, MoMA’s international festival of film preservation, celebrates its 11th year with gloriously preserved masterworks and rediscoveries of world cinema. Virtually all of the films in the festival are having their New York premieres, and some are shown in versions never before seen in the United States.
This year’s edition features a Carte Blanche selection by filmmaker Alexander Payne (Nebraska, The Descendants, Election). Other guests include Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman, who introduces Hotel Monterey (1972) and News from Home (1977), her beautiful New York films of the 1970s; and Filipino sensation Lav Diaz, who presents the full-length version of his 2001 crime drama Batang West Side. An evening with the great American writer E. L. Doctorow, a special presentation of Le Conversazioni literary festival, includes a screening and a conversation moderated by its artistic director, Antonio Monda.
A sidebar dedicated to the Royal Film Archive of Belgium, includes classics of Belgian cinema as well as a fascinating rediscovery: the first American anti-fascist film, Hitler’s Reign of Terror (1934). To Save and Project also features Jacques Baratier’s gorgeous French-Tunisian drama Goha (1958); Rowland V. Lee’s demented pre-Code puppet romance I Am Suzanne! (1934); and one of the most anticipated films in the festival, the world premiere of Karl Brown’s Stark Love (1927), with a new musical arrangement performed live by the NYU Cinemusica Viva Players, conducted by Gillian B. Anderson. The festival also includes gems of film noir; the premiere of rarely screened Andy Warhol film shorts, followed by a panel discussion with Warhol collaborators and scholars; a Modern Mondays premiere of Bruce Conner’s Crossroads (1976); and a theatrical run of Mikko Niskanen’s Eight Deadly Shots (1972), together with Peter Von Bagh’s The Story of Mikko Niskanen (2010).
What distinguishes To Save and Project among the world’s film preservation festivals is that nearly all the titles are presented on celluloid, respecting their original format of 35mm or 16mm. This festival, then, is a celebration of the vital work of archives around the world, including MoMA’s Department of Film, as well as Hollywood and international studios, distributors, and independent filmmakers, to save our cinema heritage.
The exhibition is supported in part by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.
Related Film Screenings
10 Rillington Place
1971. Great Britain. Richard Fleischer. 111 min.
Karl Brown’s Stark Love: A World Premiere Concert
1927. USA. Karl Brown. 70 min.
I Am Suzanne!
1933. USA. Rowland V. Lee. 98 min.
An Evening with Bruce Dern
Winner of the Best Actor prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Bruce Dern makes a special appearance to introduce Michael Ritchie’s Smile, a classic of 1970s American cinema. Dern’s is undoubtedly a name that will often be heard during awards season, which should come as little surprise to admirers of his 50-year acting career, including unforgettable performances in films by Alfred Hitchcock, Bob Rafelson, Roger Corman, Hal Ashby, Sydney Pollack, John Frankenheimer, and Walter Hill. With Ritchie he made Smile, an affectionate satire of that most hallowed of American pastimes: the small town beauty pageant. Competition was Ritchie’s great comic theme—whether on the ski slopes (Downhill Racer) or the playing field (The Bad News Bears, Semi-Tough), in the political arena (The Candidate) or the auditorium (Smile)—and in “Big Bob” Freelander, the used car salesman who runs the pageant with excessive good cheer, Dern found one of his funniest and most nuanced roles, the very embodiment of “Morning in America” optimism.
1975. USA. Michael Ritchie. 113 min.
1947. USA. Edmund Goulding. 100 min.
1945. USA. John Brahm. 77 min.
1958. France/Tunisia. Jacques Baratier. 81 min.
For more information on this film, please see Mikko Niskanen's Eight Deadly Shots and Peter Von Bagh's The Story of Mikko Niskanen.
Kahdeksan surmanluotia (Eight Deadly Shots)
1972. Finland. Mikko Niskanen. 316 min.
2001. Argentina. Lisandro Alonso. 73 min.
1992. Argentina. Martin Rejtman. 75 min.
Aldo Tambellini Presents The Black Film Series
Pioneering multimedia artist and poet Aldo Tambellini presents nine works from his Black Film Series that have been recently restored by Harvard Film Archive. Chaotically, hypnotically beautiful, these films are steeped in the culture of the 1960s, speaking at once to abstraction in painting, the materiality of Arte Povera, American racial politics, and image-saturated visual culture in the age of Marshall McLuhan. In the mid-1960s, Tambellini was living on New York’s Lower East Side, making paintings and light-based installations and, together with the artist Otto Piene, operating the Black Gate Theatre, where they presented some of the most radical films and performances of the time. In 1966, Tambellini began making films that explored the possibility of black as a dominant color and an idea. His Black Film Series comprised largely camera-less experiments that transformed celluloid into a painterly medium, a heady collision of clear film leader on which he applied black ink, paint, and stencils; black leader that he scraped, punctured, acidified, or manipulated in other ways to yield abstract forms; and found footage from industrial films, newsreels, and broadcast television. This program was curated by Pia Bolognesi and Giulio Bursi, independent curators. Special thanks to Haden Guest, Director, and Elizabeth Coffey, Film Conservator, Harvard Film Archive. All Tambellini films preserved through the Avant-Garde Masters program funded by The Film Foundation and administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation. Additional funding provided by Harvard University.
1966. USA. Jud Yalkut.
1967. USA. Aldo Tambellini .
1966–68. USA. Aldo Tambellini.
1968. USA. Aldo Tambellini.
Black Plus X
1966. USA. Aldo Tambellini.
1969. USA. Aldo Tambellini.
1966. USA. Aldo Tambellini.
Black Trip 2
1967. USA. Aldo Tambellini.
1966. USA. Aldo Tambellini.
1966. USA. Aldo Tambellini.
For more information on this film, please see Mikko Niskanen's Eight Deadly Shots and Peter Von Bagh's The Story of Mikko Niskanen.
Mikko Niskanen — Ohjaaja matkalla ihmiseksi (The Story of Mikko Niskanen)
2010. Finland. Peter Von Bagh. 178 min.
Women Daredevils of the Silent Era
Women Daredevils of the Silent Era: More than Pearl White
Pearl White was a wildly popular daredevil serial queen of the silent era, but she wasn’t the first. Gene Gauntier preceded her in 1909 with her Girl Spy series. Not only did White, Gauntier, and the other pioneering women in this program—Ruth Roland, Helen Holmes, and Grace Cunard—perform their own dangerous stunts, they also wrote, directed, and produced. Today we see in these “sensational melodrama” heroines the most liberated aspects of the New Woman, whose physical daring and intellectual prowess can still thrill audiences. Jane Gaines, a professor of film at Columbia University School of the Arts, and B. Ruby Rich, a critic and scholar, present two programs celebrating groundbreaking, multitalented women of silent cinema. These screenings mark the launch of the Women Film Pioneers Project, a collaborative compendium of essays, images, and archival material that will be published this year by Columbia University Libraries as an experiment in digital publishing.
1923. USA. George B. Seitz. 4 min.
The Ablaze in Mid-Air (Demon of the Sky)
1917. USA. Grace Cunard, Francis Ford. 13 min.
Escape on a Fast Freight
1915. USA. Helen Holmes, Leo Maloney. 13 min.
The Brink of Eternity
1922–23. USA. George Marshall. 20 min.
Ruth Roland, Kalem Girl
1912. USA. 6 min.
The Girl Spy
1909. USA. Sidney Olcott. 15 min.
Girl Spies and Irish Colleens
Girl Spies and Irish Colleens: Gene Gauntier, Actress, Screenwriter, Producer, Stuntwoman
Actress Gene Gauntier, popularly known as “the Kalem Girl,” often performed her own risky stunts and gleefully took on socially provocative roles like the cross-dressing Confederate Girl Spy. She made her brash debut in the Biograph short The Paymaster, which opens this program, and for the next 10 years wrote, produced, and directed or co-directed hundreds of movies around the world. Together with Sidney Olcott she formed one of the first traveling stock companies (if not the first), shooting outdoors on location in New York and Florida, then in Ireland, and even in the Middle East for their hugely successful Biblical epic From the Manger to the Cross, the first American feature-length story of the life of Christ to be shot on location. Gauntier went her own way, producing films under the banner of the short-lived Gene Gauntier Feature Players (1912–14), and after retiring from the movie business wrote a delightful memoir, Blazing the Trail, which was serialized in Woman’s Home Companion in 1928; the original typescript can now be found in The Museum of Modern Art’s special collections. This program, introduced by Jane Gaines, a professor of film at Columbia University School of the Arts, and B. Ruby Rich, a critic and scholar, is a celebration of Gauntier’s many talents, and marks the launch of the Women Film Pioneers Project, an exciting new initiative of the Columbia University Libraries.
1906. USA. M. R. Harrington. 10 min.
1911. USA. Sidney Olcott. 11 min.
Further Adventures of the Girl Spy
1910. USA. Sidney Olcott. 15 min.
Come Back to Erin
1914. USA. Sidney Olcott. 12 min.
Thompson's Night Out
1908. USA. Wallace McCutcheon. 7 min.
The Lad From Old Ireland
1910. USA. Sidney Olcott. 12 min.
Bílá nemoc (Skeleton on Horseback)
1937. Czechoslovakia. Hugo Haas. 108 min.
Of Stars and Men Restored: A Hubley Animation Studio Program
A world premiere in To Save and Project, The Museum of Modern Art’s new restorations of work from Storyboard Studio returns the original color palettes and heightened fidelity of scores by jazz composers Benny Carter and Quincy Jones to three signature 1960s projects by cartoon modernists John and Faith Hubley. Eggs is a breezy riff on overpopulation, birth control, and organ transplantation, exemplifying the independent spirit of the Hubleys’ issue-driven animation. The surreal Urbanissimo, a satire on the chaos of urban development, was suitably paired with Jean-Luc Godard’s black comedy Weekend during its first New York City theatrical run in 1968. The Hubleys' landmark animated documentary Of Stars and Men, adapted from a book by the astronomer Harlow Shapley, is the centerpiece of the program. This anecdotal inquiry into the origins of man and the structure of time and space is one of their finest achievements, a triumph of multilayered graphic textures, abstraction, coloration, and wry humanism. Following the screening, Academy Award–winning animation filmmaker and historian John Canemaker and astronomer Dr. Charles Liu join celebrated contemporary animator Emily Hubley to discuss humor, art, science, and music in John and Faith Hubley’s work. This program is organized by Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, Department of Film.
All films restored by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation.
Of Stars and Men
1964. USA. John Hubley. 53 min.
1967. USA. John Hubley. 6 min.
1970. USA. John Hubley. 10 min.
Death of a Salesman
1951. USA. László Benedek. 115 min.
Robert Beavers Presents Two Gregory Markopoulos New York Films
One of the key figures of the New American Cinema, Gregory J. Markopoulos (1928–1992) made indelible film portraits and interior studies during the brief period when he was living in New York. Ming Green, named after the color of the walls in his apartment on West 11 Street, was his farewell to the city; dedicated to Stan Brakhage, the film was edited entirely in camera. Galaxie is his intimate record of cultural luminaries in mid-1960s New York: 33 painters, poets, filmmakers, choreographers, and critics, including W. H. Auden, Jasper Johns, Susan Sontag, Paul Thek, Maurice Sendak, Shirley Clarke, George and Mike Kuchar, and Allen Ginsberg, whom he observed in their studios or homes and filmed in a single session. While Andy Warhol had his Screen Tests, and Brakhage and Jonas Mekas were also making their own beautiful film portraits, Markopoulos perfected a technique of layering and editing within his Bolex camera that had the effect, he noted, of making "the idea and the image more concentrated; the result a more brilliant appeal to the mind and dormant senses." This program is presented by his partner Robert Beavers, an accomplished filmmaker who has passionately dedicated himself to the Temenos Archive and film theater that Markopoulos established in Lyssaraia, Greece. Restored by the Temenos Archive in collaboration with the Academy Film Archive, courtesy the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna.
1966. USA. Gregory Markopoulos. 7 min.
1966. USA. Gregory Markopoulos. 92 min.
Robert Beavers Presents The Illiac Passion
One of Markopoulos's most ravishing and sophisticated works, The Illiac Passion is a contemporary reimagining of the classical Prometheus myth, filmed in New York City and on Long Island. Robert Beavers presents The Illiac Passion together with newly preserved silent rushes drawn from The Museum of Modern Art’s collection. Kristen M. Jones observes that “for a viewer seeing this extravagant ode to creation some thirty years after its making, the film’s most plangent moments involve Markopoulos’s affectionate casting of friends as mythical figures—Andy Warhol’s Poseidon pumping on an Exercycle above a sea of plastic, Taylor Mead’s Demon leaping, grimacing, and streaming vermilion fringes, and [Jack] Smith’s bohemian Orpheus, spending a quiet afternoon at home with Eurydice.” Reciting Thoreau’s translation of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Unbound in an incantatory, at times hesitating, voice, Markopoulos “selects words for repetition…making the literal sense of the text thoroughly abstract” (P. Adams Sitney).
The Illiac Passion
1964–67. USA. Gregory Markopoulos. 92 min.
The Illiac Passion [rushes]
1964. USA. 12 min.
Chantal Akerman Presents Two Films from 1970s New York
Hailed by J. Hoberman as "arguably the most important European director of her generation," Akerman spent 18 months in New York in the early 1970s working odd jobs and discovering the films of Michael Snow, Yvonne Rainer, Ernie Gehr, and Jonas Mekas at Anthology Film Archives. If Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le fou inspired Akerman to become a filmmaker at the age of 15, these artists excited her to the possibilities of experimenting with stillness and movement, memory, silence, and abstraction. In her early short La Chambre, Akerman and cinematographer Babette Mangolte survey a cramped tenement apartment through several slow, repeated pans, making out of domestic objects—a table, a chair, a bowl of fruit—a still life of subtle variation and unexpected meaning. In her hauntingly beautiful Hotel Monterey, which recalls the paintings of Vermeer, Hopper, and Hammershøi, Akerman charts a derelict New York hotel over the course of a single night. J. Hoberman writes, “This formalist investigation of a seedy SRO hotel on the Upper West Side fragments the building into a succession of leisurely contemplated vistas—the lobby, the rickety elevator, the cramped rooms, the inexplicable fixtures. Initially impressionistic, Hotel Monterey is actually quite rigorous in its painterly—not to mention eroticized—use of narrow corridors and light-smeared reflections (Mangolte again).” Both films silent; digital preservation courtesy The Royal Film Archive of Belgium.
1972. Belgium/USA. Chantal Akerman. 11 min.
1972. Belgium/USA. Chantal Akerman. 63 min.
Chantal Akerman Presents News from Home
Described by Melissa Anderson as "one of the most unheralded portraits of the city," News from Home is as much a symphony of urban geometric abstraction as it is a poetic diaspora tale. Inspired by the letters she received from her mother while living in New York, Akerman returned to the city after an absence and filmed its streets with her Pentax camera. “Although Akerman’s New York is largely a city of non-sites—empty Tribeca alleys, dingy Midtown parking lots, an abandoned gas station tucked into the crook of another building’s wall—the symmetry of her composition gives it the classic aura of ancient Rome” (J. Hoberman). From the eternal city Akerman reads her mother’s letters, conjuring a sense of distant voices and still lives. Digital preservation courtesy The Royal Film Archive of Belgium.
News from Home
1977. Belgium/France/West Germany. Chantal Akerman. 89 min.
75 Years of Treasures from the Royal Film Archive of Belgium
Nicola Mazzanti, director of the Royal Film Archive of Belgium, presents masterpieces of Belgian cinema drawn from the archive on its 75th anniversary. The tribute opens with the iconic Monsieur Fantômas, praised by the poet Paul Éluard as a masterpiece equal to Luis Buñuel’s earliest films, in which Ernst Moerman pays homage to Louis Feuillade’s serialist-Surrealist Master of Crime in a caper abounding with adventure, dreams, slapstick humor, and a fanatical anti-clericalism. This sets the tone for Rendez-vous à Bray, which Jonathan Rosenbaum has called André Delvaux’s “most subtle and delicate film, and the hardest to describe…. It has a dense Gothic atmosphere and an even denser erotic texture that defy any synopsis.” Based on a short story by Julien Gracq with a luminous cast led by Anna Karina and Bulle Ogier, Rendez-vous is structured as a musical rondo, orchestrating an encounter between a mysterious woman and a pianist during the Great War as a poetic confusion of reality and fantasy, the mundane and the uncanny. Delvaux’s far-reaching influence on modern Belgian cinema, both Flemish and French, stems not only from the sophistication of his own work but also from his mentorship of younger filmmakers (including Chantal Akerman) and his myriad talents as a musicologist, film critic, and president of the Belgian Royal Film Archive (where he also doubled as a pianist for silent movies). The program closes, fittingly, with magical, hand-tinted images of decaying celluloid in 1001 Films, Delvaux’s celebration of Jacques Ledoux and other archivists dedicated to saving cinema. All films preserved by the Royal Film Archive of Belgium.
1937. Belgium. Ernst Moerman. 17 min.
Rendez-vous à Bray (Appointment in Bray)
1971. France/Belgium/West Germany. André Delvaux. 90 min.
1989. Belgium. André Delvaux. 8 min.
The Storming of the Winter Palace
1920. USSR. Nikolai Evreinov. 90 min.
American Anti-Nazi Films Rediscovered
Inspired by Thomas Doherty’s book Hollywood and Hitler, 1933–1939, from which these descriptions are drawn, this program presents two fascinating, virtually forgotten American anti-Nazi films.
Hitler's Reign of Terror
1934. USA. Mike Mindlin, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr.. 55 min.
I Was a Captive of Nazi Germany
1936. USA. Alfred T. Mannon. 55 min.
Andy Warhol’s Short Films from 1963
Andy Warhol’s Short Films from 1963: A World Premiere Featuring John Giorno in Conversation with Bruce Jenkins
MoMA presents the world premiere of several never-before-seen films that Andy Warhol made in the summer and fall of 1963 while also shooting his better-known Sleep and Eat. The screening is introduced by Bruce Jenkins, a contributor to the forthcoming The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné Volume II (The Andy Warhol Film Project, Whitney Museum of American Art), who also moderates a conversation afterwards with the poet John Giorno. These films have been preserved by The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, with funds from the National Film Preservation Foundation, as part of the museum's larger mission of promoting and safeguarding Andy Warhol's legacy. Individual film descriptions are by Claire K. Henry of The Andy Warhol Film Project. Special thanks to John Hanhardt.
Jill and Freddy Dancing
Untitled (Rosenquist at Work)
Henry in Bathroom
Andy Warhol’s Tiger Morse (Reel 14 of ****)
MoMA presents the world premiere of the newly preserved Tiger Morse (Reel 14 of ****) (1967). Not screened since 1972, the 33-minute film is introduced by Bill Horrigan, a contributor to The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné Volume II (The Andy Warhol Film Project, Whitney Museum of American Art), followed by a conversation with Warhol collaborator Billy Name. “Tiger Morse is one of five reels that Warhol shot of designer, boutique owner, and mod fashion guru Joan ‘Tiger’ Morse. Morse gained notoriety for her vinyl light-up mini dresses and her embrace of all things silver. Filmed in early 1967 at the Teeny Weeny, her plastic space-age boutique, Tiger Morse (Reel 14 of ****) features an amphetamine-fueled 33-minute soliloquy on ‘screwing,’ love, speed, and mirrored disco balls. Warhol’s late camera work is also highlighted: the film contains many interruptive pans, rapid strobe cuts, and focus pulls, and is shot on jewel-like Ektachrome reversal stock. The footage was later inserted as Reel 14 into Warhol’s epic 25-hour film **** (Four Stars)” (Claire K. Henry, The Andy Warhol Film Project). Preserved with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation by The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, as part of the museum's larger mission of promoting and safeguarding Andy Warhol's legacy. Special thanks to John Hanhardt.
Tiger Morse (Reel 14 of ****)
1967. 33 min.
Magritte and Beyond
In celebration of the MoMA exhibition Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938, Nicola Mazzanti, director of the Royal Film Archive of Belgium, has curated a program of Surrealist masterworks from their collection. Belgian cinema experienced a renaissance in the late 1920s with the emergence of filmmakers who, together with artists like René Magritte and Paul Delvaux, created a distinctive form of Surrealism—one that inscribed, in Ernst Moerman's words, “a world where nothing is impossible, and where a miracle is the shortest route from uncertainty to mystery.” Mazzanti’s program traces this radical and subversive tradition from early experiments by d’Ursel, Dekeukelaire, and Storck—strange narratives in which desire and death are conjoined—to the award-winning animation of Raoul Servais in the second half of the 20th century, including Harpya, the film for which he won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Magritte, who held sway over these experimental filmmakers, is represented by one of the best documentaries about his work, filmed by Luc de Heusch—who, together with Storck, was key to the development of Belgian documentary cinema. All films preserved by the Royal Film Archive of Belgium.
La perle (The Pearl)
1929. Belgium. Henri d'Ursel. 33 min.
Combat de boxe (Boxing Match)
1927. Belgium. Charles Dekeukeleire. 8 min.
Histoire du soldat inconnu (Story of the Unknown Soldier)
1932. Belgium. Henri Storck. 11 min.
Magritte ou la leçon de choses
1960. Belgium. Luc de Heusch. 15 min.
1973. Belgium. Raoul Servais. 9 min.
1978. Belgium. Raoul Servais. 9 min.
Papillon de nuit (Nocturnal Butterflies)
1997. Raoul Servais. 8 min.
Modern Mondays: Bruce Conner’s Crossroads: A Premiere Screening and Conversation
Bruce Conner (1933–2008) was a West Coast sculptor, painter, photographer, and collagist who began creating film assemblages in the late 1950s, transforming the detritus of Pop culture, newsreel and television footage, B-movie clips, and raw film stock into deeply personal and influential art. He is generally recognized as one of the leaders of New American Cinema of the 1960s, and his early films, with their fast-paced editing, paved the way for the music video. This special co-presentation of Modern Mondays and To Save and Project features the New York premiere of UCLA Film & Television Archive’s new preservation/reconstruction of Crossroads (1976), a landmark of American cinema. Conner found a cataclysmic beauty in National Archives footage of the first underwater atomic bomb test, conducted on Bikini Atoll on July 25, 1946. He combined 23 shots of the same explosion—at differing speeds and distances, from air, sea, and land—with a complex, mesmerizing dual score by Patrick Gleeson and Terry Riley to make of the destruction a kind of Cubist cosmic sublime.
On October 28, Ross Lipman, Senior Film Restorationist, UCLA Film & Television Archive, presents a lecture about the making of Crossroads and its restoration, followed by a conversation with composer Patrick Gleeson; Michelle Silva, director of the Conner Family Trust; and scholar Bruce Jenkins. The film has been preserved in 35mm, digitally remastered, and reconstructed in a multitiered strategy coordinated by the Conner Family Trust, the Michael Kohn Gallery, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The restoration of Crossroads both on celluloid and in digital formats perfectly encapsulates, and provokes, the sort of philosophical, technological, and aesthetic questions about photochemical and digital restoration that MoMA’s preservation festival hopes to address this year. On October 28 at 5:15 p.m., we present a new 35mm photochemical print of Conner’s original 1976 cut. We compare this at 7:00 p.m. with a 5.1 3K digital reconstruction of Bruce Conner's 2003 remastered version, followed by Lipman’s lecture and the conversation.
Modern Mondays: Crossroads
1976/2013. USA. Bruce Conner. 36 min.
Deserto Rosso (The Red Desert)
1964. Italy/France. 116 min.
1973. Italy/France/USA. Francesco Rosi. 115 min.
Le mani sulla città (Hands over the City)
1963. Italy. Francesco Rosi. 105 min.
I magliari (The Magliari)
1959. Italy/France. Francesco Rosi. 121 min.
1955. USA. Lewis R. Foster. 89 min.
Try and Get Me! (The Sound of Fury)
1950. USA. Cy Endfield. 85 min.
Alias Nick Beal
1949. USA. John Farrow. 93 min.
An Evening with E. L. Doctorow
The great American writer E. L. Doctorow—winner of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and PEN/Faulkner Award for enduring classics like Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, The Book of Daniel, and Creationists: Selected Essays 1993–2006—takes part in an onstage conversation moderated by Le Conversazioni artistic director Antonio Monda, followed by a screening of It’s a Gift, one of W. C. Fields’s funniest comedies, which Doctorow chose for the occasion. The eternally beleaguered Fields plays a small-town grocer who suffers the indignities of a shrewish wife, two obnoxious children, and the notorious Baby LeRoy. Hauling the family out west in pursuit of the American Dream—an orange grove to call his own—he becomes caught up in a zany land speculation deal, suckering and being suckered every step of the way.
It's a Gift
1934. USA. Norman McLeod. 68 min.
Weekend of a Champion
1971/2012. Great Britain/France. Frank Simon. 93 min.
1934. USA. Erik Charell. 101 min.
Batang West Side
2001. The Philippines/USA. Lav Diaz. 315 min.
Maynila... sa mga Kuko ng Liwarnag (Manila in the Claws of Light)
1975. The Philippines. Lino Brocka. 124 min.
La Chamade (Heartbeat)
1968. Italy/France. Alain Cavalier. 102 min.
Mise à sac (Pillaged)
1967. Italy/France. Alain Cavalier. 98 min.
1986. France. Alain Cavalier. 94 min.