The Museum of Modern Art presents a career retrospective of the films of Scott B and Beth B, the legendary duo who defined the punk filmmaking scene in Downtown New York in the 1970s and 1980s. The series features three films by Scott B and Beth B, including MoMA’s restoration of The Offenders and the theatrical premiere of five titles newly restored by Kino-Lorber.
Beth B and Scott B are the best-known and most critically acclaimed underground filmmakers of New York’s No Wave and early punk scenes. They were on the leading edge of a movement germinating in the city’s lofts, nightclubs, and galleries, where their confrontational, humorous, thought-provoking films instigated and anticipated a democratization of filmmaking that eventually became known as “American Independent Film.” Among the influential artists and musicians who appeared in their work during this formative period are Lydia Lunch, Jack Smith, Adele Bertei, John Lurie, and John Ahearn. Galvanizing the alternative spirit of the Downtown scene, their films became aesthetic touchstones for succeeding generations of filmmakers, artists, and musicians, and continue to be cited in critical works on the period by film and art historians. In 2018, MoMA acquired and preserved their Super 8mm debut feature The Offenders (1979). In 2021, Kino Lorber Distribution acquired the Scott and Beth B catalogue of films for restoration and distribution. Their cooperation in the organization of this series is gratefully acknowledged.
Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Curator, Department of Film.