The Honeymoon Killers. 1970. USA. Directed by Leonard Kastle. Courtesy of Cinema Releasing Corporation/Photofest. © Cinema Releasing Corporation

American independent filmmakers Norman C. Chaitin, Milton Moses Ginsberg, Joseph Jacoby, Harry Hurwitz, Leonard Kastle, and Bette Gordon were all either raised in or around New York City or adopted the city as a home and workplace. But what truly connects these six filmmakers is their ability to craft intimate portraits of fragile humanity in the most colossal of all cities. In tawdry bars, depressing studio apartments, or a psychiatrist’s office, the characters in these unique narratives uncoil their disappointments and slights and sadly accept the fuzzy lollipop the world hands them. There is little in the way of a happy ending for these sorry souls; they simply acknowledge the disillusionment and get on with life. The majority of the actors in these films may be unfamiliar, but it is precisely their inconspicuousness that makes these stories feel so achingly genuine.

Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film.

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