Vision Statement

Early Directorial Works

Through December 5

MoMA

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. 2007. Romania. Directed by Cristian Mungiu. Courtesy IFC Films/Photofest
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1, Film Center The Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center

In an essay published in 1925, Iris Barry, who later cofounded MoMA’s Department of Film, wrote, “If a film, of no matter what type, is to be worth while, it must be entirely dominated by the will of one man and one man only—the director.” This was written three decades before French critics at Cahiers du cinéma advocated for the politique des auteurs, and almost four decades before the American critic Andrew Sarris coined the auteur theory, both of which essentially view the director as the “author” of a film, focusing on those who project a consistent, singular vision in their work. While auteurism has generated lively debate, especially in its early days, it also undoubtedly helped elevate film’s status as an art form, influencing how film collections and exhibitions are organized and shaping academic and critical discourse.

A director’s oeuvre may not always be “consistent,” but an auteur’s continuity of vision is often evident right from the beginning, and it is always thrilling to follow new, original cinematic voices. For over eight decades, MoMA’s Department of Film has sought out and supported emerging directors, and this series highlights statement-making first, second, and third features made since the 1950s by directors from six continents. All of the films are drawn from our collection, many of them are rarely screened, and nearly all are presented in 35mm prints.

Organized by La Frances Hui, Associate Curator, Department of Film. Special thanks to Olivia Priedite.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.

Events

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

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