The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced its full lineup of repertory programs and festivals for the 2017 fall/winter season, featuring the second edition of My First Film Fest, a series of five banned films out of the Czech New Wave, and three rich surveys: international melodrama from the silent era through the present, the non-actor throughout film history, and rare German cinema 1949–1963.
The Power of the Powerless: Five Banned Films from the Czechoslovak New Wave
The Czechoslovak New Wave was one of the most radical and brilliant bursts of creativity in film history. The political thaw that allowed it to flourish even within a totalitarian state came to an abrupt end with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Despite stifling restrictions, an intrepid generation of filmmakers continued to challenge Communist censorship by creating art that was provocative, satirical, and deeply critical of authoritarianism. The Czechoslovak Communist government responded the only way it knew how: by banning these works outright, resulting in many works that went unseen in their home country for decades. In anticipation of Václav Havel Day in New York City on September 28—the Czech Republic’s national Statehood Day—join us for a selection of five of these subversive, savagely funny, dark, and defiant films—All My Countrymen (1969), The Cremator (1969), The Ear (1970), The Firemen’s Ball (1967), and Larks on a String (1969)—which stand as enduring testaments to the power and necessity of dissident art. Presented in collaboration with the Czech Center New York.
My First Film Fest 2
This November, the Film Society presents the second edition of our film festival geared towards the younger set. Aiming to bring the singular excitement and vibrancy of the festival experience to burgeoning movie-lovers, My First Film Fest showcases movies from the U.S. and around the world appropriate for children of all ages, as well as adults. This weekend-long event will feature a bounty of titles, including sneak previews of major new films, under-the-radar titles from around the world, classic adventures, cartoon showcases, and cherished anime features, as well as free educational screenings of films that promote cultural awareness and diversity.
The Lost Years of German Cinema: 1949–1963
Our sense of German film history is founded largely upon the prewar masterpieces by Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, and G. W. Pabst, and then the iconoclasm of the New German Cinema directors of the 1960s and ’70s, such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge, Wim Wenders, Margarethe von Trotta, and Volker Schlöndorff. Less well-known are the films produced after the fall of the Third Reich and before the signing of the Oberhausen Manifesto in 1962, which jump-started a new kind of national cinema. Closer inspection of this in-between period reveals a wealth of eclectic and innovative filmmaking, featuring established masters (like Lang and Robert Siodmak) returning to Germany to conclude their careers, foreign directors passing through, and under-recognized talents (such as Helmut Käutner) reinventing the genre film. This series, presented in partnership with the Locarno Film Festival and in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, spotlights this rich, unsung, and fascinating period and its exceptionally diverse body of films, capturing a generation’s effort to newly define German identity.
November 24–December 10
Questions concerning “the real” have haunted cinema from its inception, and they have often been entwined with performance. Filmmakers have long experimented with the use of nonprofessional, untrained actors, whether to inject a measure of documentary reality into fictions, to deconstruct acting itself, or to challenge the conventions of screen performance and cinematic realism. The non-actor has emerged time and again as a totem of renewal, central to many of film history’s most consequential movements, beginning with Robert Flaherty’s subjects and Sergei Eisenstein’s principles of “typage,” continuing with Italian neorealism’s men on the street, Robert Bresson’s models, and Andy Warhol’s Superstars, and running through the work of innovators as varied as Shirley Clarke, Straub-Huillet, Agnès Varda, and Pedro Costa. This series is a historical survey of the myriad ways in which filmmakers have used so-called amateurs to reimagine the language of cinema and to investigate (and perhaps fundamentally change) the medium’s relationship with the realities it depicts.
Emotion Pictures: International Melodrama
December 13–January 7
When many of us think about movie melodramas, the first names that come to mind are titans of Hollywood’s golden age, directors (Douglas Sirk, Nicholas Ray, Vincente Minnelli, George Cukor) and stars (Lillian Gish, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis) alike. But the melodrama is by no means a distinctly American or mid-century genre, having laid its roots during the silent era (in the work of D. W. Griffith, Erich von Stroheim, F. W. Murnau) before flowering in Japan (Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse), Italy (Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini), England (David Lean), and elsewhere. Indeed, the careers of many key filmmakers of modern cinema have been predicated on radical reinterpretations of the form, as in the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Pedro Almodóvar, Todd Haynes, Leos Carax, Lars von Trier, Wong Kar-wai, and Guy Maddin. This series pays tribute to the genre that boldly endeavored to put emotion on screen in its purest form, from its earliest stages through Technicolor weepies and on to its subversive latter-day incarnations. Bring tissues.