Comprised entirely of films in MoMA’s collection, this series illustrates the documentary’s singular ability to both organize and interpret reality. This diverse selection illustrates the Museum’s ongoing commitment to acquiring cutting-edge nonfiction works, while also posing larger questions about the boundaries of the form itself—malleable and generous, representing the full range of filmic techniques in portraying subjective and “objective” experiences with a capacity unique among art forms. From Jean Vigo’s 1930 avant-garde city snapshot À propos de Nice to the immersive digital marvel Leviathan (2012), and ranging from cultural criticism to autobiography, this series roughly charts how advancements in technology and socio-cultural movements have cemented the documentary form’s role as an enduring tool for crafting views of our world.
In addition to being held in MoMA’s film collection, most of these films have previously screened at the Museum in myriad landmark series over the last 80-plus years, including the inaugural New York Film Festival in 1963, Cineprobe, New Directors/New Films, and any number of career-spanning retrospectives.
Organized by Olivia Priedite, Senior Program Assistant, Department of Film.