*Koko: A Talking Gorilla*. 1978. France. Directed by Barbet Schroeder. Courtesy Les Films du Losange

Schroeder made these rarely screened ethnographic sketches in the rainforest of Papua, New Guinea while preparing his sensuous and metaphysical second fiction film, The Valley (Obscured by Clouds).

Program 110 min.

Koko, le gorille qui parle (Koko: A Talking Gorilla). 1978. France. Directed by Barbet Schroeder. In French, English; English subtitles. 85 min.

After a years-long experiment as tantalizing as it was controversial, animal behaviorist Dr. Francine “Penny” Patterson announced in 1977 that she had taught Koko, a female western lowland gorilla, how to communicate through modified American sign language. With Koko on the cusp of worldwide fame, Barbet Schroeder’s documentary portrait appeared to celebrate a majestic gorilla with “real star quality,” yet the film’s more unsettling ethical and philosophical provocations have grown more acute today in the face of mass species extinction.

Digital preservation courtesy Janus Films

Le cochon aux patates douces. 1971. France. Directed by Barbet Schroeder. 8 min.

Digital preservation courtesy Les Films du Losange and BFI

Maquillages. 1971. France. Directed by Barbet Schroeder. 12 min.

Digital preservation courtesy Les Films du Losange and BFI

Sing Sing. 1971. France. Directed by Barbet Schroeder. 5 min.

Digital preservation courtesy Les Films du Losange and BFI

  1. Tuesday, January 8,
    6:30 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor T2, Theater 2
  2. Friday, January 4,
    4:30 p.m.

    Introduced by director Barbet Schroeder
    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor T2, Theater 2