Best Years: Going to the Movies, 1945–46

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Nov 18–Dec 30, 2009

MoMA

La Bataille du rail (The Battle of the Rails). 1945. France. Directed by René Clément

The years 1945 and 1946 were among the most momentous in American history, and nowhere were the period’s outsized dreams and nightmares better documented than in the movies. The studios had contributed mightily to the effort to defeat Fascism, but after the war they took up the task of illuminating the transition from chaos to relative stability. The film industry was also girding itself for the advent of television and a renewed market for the importation of foreign films. The idea for this series was suggested by Charles and Mirella Jona Affron, whose new book Best Years: Going to the Movies, 1945–1946 (Rutgers University Press) authoritatively and entertainingly gives a genuine sense of what it was like to ritualistically attend movies in those halcyon postwar days before TV and multiplexes.

Organized by Charles Silver, Curator, Department of Film. Thanks to Martin Scorsese.

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