Film at Lincoln Center announces Another Country: Outsider Visions of America, a series that explores the many ways foreign and immigrant auteurs of the modern era have depicted and otherwise apprehended the United States onscreen, August 2-14.
The films showcased in Another Country present many Americas, offering perspectives on a nation that reveal the peculiarities of its customs, the drama of its natural splendor, and the lacerating contradictions of its political mythologies. Collectively, these films continue the historical legacy of influential and incisive observations about the United States made by those born beyond its shores, in the tradition of exiled European directors who transformed Hollywood in the 1930s and ’40s. Though countless films have taken the United States on as their subject, this series considers its cities, landscapes, and people through the eyes of outsider filmmakers, resulting in the Los Angeles of Jacques Demy and Haile Gerima or the New York of Chantal Akerman and Sylvia Chang.
Inspired by America: Films from Elsewhere (The Shoestring Publisher, 2019), a collection of essays edited by Shanay Jhaveri, Another Country finds filmmakers interpreting America through a multitude of genres, from Sergio Corbucci’s spaghetti western The Great Silence to philosopher Manuel DeLanda’s experimental short ISM ISM; Agnès Varda’s powerfully urgent documentary Black Panthers to Terence Davies’s Gilded Age period piece The House of Mirth; as well as more commercial fare from Paul Verhoeven’s crassly spectacular Vegas lampoon Showgirls to John Woo’s Hong-Kong-goes-Hollywood action thriller Face/Off. Other highlights include rarely screened titles presented on 16mm, such as Yolande du Luart’s documentary Angela Davis: Portrait of a Revolutionary; Joyce Wieland’s satirical and subversive commentary on the Vietnam War, Rat Life and Diet in North America; and Babette Mangolte’s personal meditation on the landscape of the American West, The Sky on Location. Other notable rarities include Shigeko Kubota’s surreal video diary of her month-long stay in the Navajo Nation, Video Girls and Video Songs for Navajo Sky, and Werner Schroeter’s Willow Springs, which follows a trio of murderous women in an isolated corner of the Mojave.
Organized by Thomas Beard, Shanay Jhaveri, and Dan Sullivan.
Tickets go on sale July 19 and are $15; $12 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities; and $10 for Film at Lincoln Center members. Save with the purchase of three tickets or more.
Anthology Film Archives and Filmmuseum München
FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
All screenings take place at the Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street) unless otherwise noted.
An-My Lê, USA, 2005, 7m
Primarily known as a photographer, An-My Lê first ventured into moving images at the encouragement of director Michael Almereyda. Her installation 29 Palms, part of a larger project about a California military base where service members train for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, works as an elegant black-and-white diptych. On one screen, soldiers are framed in intimate close-up as they receive a briefing, while on the other they’re barely visible, tiny figures maneuvering silently amidst a sweeping desert backdrop, the landscape punctuated by curling plumes of smoke. The conflict here is staged yet strange and stirring, a haunting rehearsal for America’s imperial project abroad.
Free Amphitheater loop, August 2-4
Angela Davis: Portrait of a Revolutionary
Yolande du Luart, USA, 1972, 16mm, 80m
This documentary about the legendary political activist is one of the rarest items in this series. Director Yolande du Luart had been involved in Lettrist circles in France before decamping for California to study film at UCLA, where her classmates included Charles Burnett and Haile Gerima. During this time, UCLA professor Angela Davis was a subject of increasing scrutiny after coming out as a Communist, provoking the ire of administrators and governor Ronald Reagan. Believing that Davis would be an ideal film subject, du Luart immediately began making a documentary, though she would ultimately return to France to complete the project after receiving unwanted attention from the FBI. “Over the course of events,” writes Nicole Brenez, “this appreciative and sensitive portrait of a politically engaged philosopher had been transformed into a call for the liberation of an imprisoned activist and an internationalist revolutionary manifesto.”
Tuesday, August 6, 7:00pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Monday, August 12, 2:30pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Black Panthers + The Sixth Side of the Pentagon
Agnès Varda, France/USA, 1968, 31m
Chris Marker and François Reichenbach, France, 1968, 28m
One of Varda’s most transformative encounters during her 1968 L.A. journey was with the Black Panthers, then at the height of their influence. Her casual, open-air portrait of the group, centered on a bustling “Free Huey” rally in Oakland, is more densely packed with reportage than many of her other documentaries, but it’s made with no less delicacy, grace, and political urgency. This double bill moves eastward with a contemporaneous work by Varda’s comrade Chris Marker: his evocative essay on the October 1967 Mobilization to End the War demonstrations. Through its depiction of the thousands then gathered in DC, we discover a national mood shifting, a radical consciousness emerging, and a tactical imagination expanding. “If the five sides of the pentagon appear impregnable,” reads the Zen proverb of the film’s epigraph, “attack the sixth side.”
Friday, August 2, 7:00pm (Introduction by Tobi Haslett)
Monday, August 5, 4:00pm
Bush Mama + Manhattan One Two Three Four
Haile Gerima, USA, 1979, 16mm, 97m
Tomonari Nishikawa, USA, 2004, Super-8, 3m
Bush Mama, by Ethiopian-born director Haile Gerima, stands as a signal achievement of the L.A. Rebellion, the renaissance of African-American independent cinema that developed around UCLA in the 1970s. The film tracks the experiences of Dorothy (Barbara O. Jones), a black mother living in Watts, as she grapples with the imprisonment of her Vietnam vet husband and navigates the bureaucratic tangles of public assistance. Her world is rendered with an unflinching neorealist lens, but these scenes are also teamed with formally experimental dispatches from Dorothy’s turbulent inner life. She finds herself in overwhelming circumstances, yet talk of liberation buzzes all around her, a response to relentless police violence and capitalist exploitation. Bush Mama, through its fractured, captivating drama of political awakening, shows us Los Angeles as Hollywood never had. Preceded by Tomonari Nishikawa’s hand-processed, in-camera-edited Manhattan One Two Three Four, a dizzying Super-8 exploration of the island’s architectural rhythms.
Wednesday, August 7, 7:00pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Nick Broomfield and Sandi Sissel, UK/USA, 1983, 85m
The first of several documentaries by Nick Broomfield about sex work in America, Chicken Ranch sets its focus upon the eponymous Nevada brothel. He and cinematographer Sandi Sissel capture the everyday activities of the business and the people employed there; escorts line up in the parlor to meet potential clients, negotiate rates, goof around in their downtime, and crack jokes about clueless johns. Indeed, the vibe is largely upbeat—and since it’s a legal establishment, free from the perils of vice cops and ill-tempered tricks. When tensions emerge between labor and management, the directors briefly become subjects themselves; the owner demands they destroy the scene’s footage, but they never stop recording. “What Broomfield learns from America,” argues critic Ed Halter, “is the practice of documentary as the professional exchange of intimacies, one from which the filmmaker can never be truly extricated.”
Wednesday, August 7, 4:30pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Saturday, August 10, 1:30pm (Introduction by Ed Halter)
Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, West Germany/France, 1984, 35mm, 126m
English and German with English subtitles
Straub and Huillet were frequently drawn to unfinished texts—Hölderlin’s The Death of Empedocles, Schoenberg’s Moses and Aaron—and for Class Relations, one of their supreme accomplishments, they turned to Kafka’s never-completed Amerika. “Kafka, for us,” Straub declared, “is the only major poet of industrial civilization, I mean, a civilization where people depend on their work to survive.” Kafka never did visit the America of his novel, so perhaps it’s fitting that the saga of Karl Rossmann, a teenage immigrant from Europe who arrives to a strange new land rife with swindlers and hypocrites, was largely shot in Hamburg. The style of Straub-Huillet, with their Brechtian performances, long takes, and static framing, is often characterized as “austere,” yet such a description belies the extraordinary richness of their images, the palpable weight of their direct-sound, and the invigorating clarity of their political commitment.
Saturday, August 10, 3:30pm
Sunday, August 11, 4:15pm
Lars von Trier, Denmark/Netherlands/Sweden/Germany/UK/France/Finland/Norway/Italy, 2003, 178m
Danish enfant terrible Lars von Trier’s spellbinding deconstruction of sacred American values, Dogville was the first chapter in his as-yet-unfinished “USA trilogy.” A beautiful, seemingly naive fugitive named Grace (played spectacularly by Nicole Kidman) arrives at a small town in the Rocky Mountains, hiding from gangsters; at first she is welcomed by her new neighbors, but she soon finds herself a convenient scapegoat for their own moral shortcomings, a receptacle for their deep-seated bitterness, and finally—and spectacularly—an avenging angel of biblical proportions. In an extension of the Dogme 95 aesthetic he helped to popularize—and in staunch defiance of the CGI era—Trier shot Dogville entirely on an empty soundstage, the “set” nothing more than a chalk outline on the floor, the town and its environs conveyed through the power of suggestion and the viewer’s own imagination. The result is a visionary work of cinema and one of the essential films of the 21st century.
Tuesday, August 13, 7:00pm
Double-Blind (aka No Sex Last Night) + Video Girls and Video Songs for Navajo Sky
Sophie Calle and Greg Shephard, USA, 1996, 76m
Shigeko Kubota, USA, 1973, 32m
Conceptual artist Sophie Calle made her first foray into video with Double-Blind, structured around that ultimate American mode, the road trip. It’s January 1992, and she begins the new year with plans to travel cross-country to California, where she’s to begin teaching, and to symbolically bury her friend, the writer Hervé Guibert, to whom the tape is dedicated. She’s joined by her then-boyfriend Greg Shephard, and the two chart a course in his temperamental Cadillac. The story of their time together is seen from both perspectives, with a competing voiceover running throughout, as they describe their impressions of the journey and the shifting dynamic of their affections. Shephard wonders, “The video kept us together, but now that it is finished what will become of us?” Preceded by a rather different kind of diary, from video art pioneer Shigeko Kubota. Her piece, chronicling a month-long stay in the Navajo Nation, functions more like an experimental home movie, for which she used the image-processing tools at WNET’s Television Laboratory to transform intimate moments with her new friends into vibrantly polychromatic compositions.
Sunday, August 11, 2:00pm
John Woo, USA, 1997, 35mm, 138m
An FBI agent and a terrorist—played in highest octane by John Travolta and Nicolas Cage—surgically swap faces, each confronting a version of himself embodied by his adversary. This unusual premise could suggest that the film deliberates on the philosophical dilemmas of identity and the nature of the self, but Face/Off transpires on an alternate plane of sheer irrationality, offering unrelenting, highly stylized, and choreographed physical violence. After two previous failed attempts (1993’s Hard Target and 1996’s Broken Arrow), Woo had finally transported the effects of his celebrated Hong Kong action films to Hollywood. While his subsequent American efforts failed to replicate this triumph, at the time Woo had been an emblem for the transnational ambitions of Hollywood and the global financiers of the late 20th century, his aesthetics formed abroad but packaged stateside and consumed from Boston to Bombay and Beijing.
Wednesday, August 14, 9:00pm
The Golden Boat
Raúl Ruiz, USA/Belgium, 1990, 83m
Ruiz’s first film made in the U.S. freely borrows from American police dramas and telenovelas in transforming downtown New York into a phantasmagorical labyrinth of noirish intrigues, inexplicable menace, and metaphysical quagmires, achieving a unique portrait of its particular time and place. A bloodthirsty assassin (Michael Kirby) joins up with a philosopher and a rock critic in pursuit of the Mexican soap star who has captured his heart, and along the way he encounters one bizarre character after another. Featuring memorable cameos from Kathy Acker, Jim Jarmusch, Barbet Schroeder, Annie Sprinkle, and Vito Acconci, and music by John Zorn, The Golden Boat must be seen to be believed.
Saurday, August 10, 9:00pm
The Great Silence
Sergio Corbucci, Italy/France, 1968, 105m
English and Italian with English subtitles
Shot amidst the snowy expanses of the Dolomites, Sergio Corbucci’s spaghetti western is a genre outing like few others, a grim, grand, anti-capitalist allegory influenced by the deaths of Malcolm X and Che Guevara. The struggles of the ’60s are here transposed to fin-de-siècle Utah, where the underclass is being terrorized by trigger-happy bounty hunters. But the people thirst for revenge. When the hired guns make one widow too many, a possible hero emerges in the figure of Silence (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a mute, enigmatic quick-draw who squares off against the most dangerous mercenary of the lot (played with sadistic relish by Klaus Kinski).
Friday, August 2, 8:30pm
Saturday, August 3, 2:00pm
The House of Mirth
Terence Davies, UK/USA/France/Germany, 2000, 35mm, 140m
English, French, and German with English subtitles
Terence Davies’s adaptation of Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel—an unsparing survey of the New York aristocracy at the turn of the 20th century—may have been shot in Glasgow and Merseyside, yet it offers an exquisite drama of American class distinctions. Gillian Anderson stars as the ill-fated Lily Bart, a well-born woman who watches her social status slowly crumble as she refuses to marry for money and becomes a pawn in the self-preserving schemes of fair-weather friends like the calculating socialite Bertha Dorset (Laura Linney). Vividly bringing the book’s period to life on a modest budget and with a peerless cast, Davies captures all the emotional violence of Wharton, as well as her cutting insight into a privileged milieu whose worst tendencies remain all too recognizable a century later.
Sunday, August 11, 9:15pm
Tuesday, August 13, 4:00pm
How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck + God’s Angry Man
Werner Herzog, West Germany, 1976, 45m
English and German with English subtitles
Werner Herzog, West Germany, 1980, 44m
English and German with English subtitles
In How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck, Werner Herzog visits the World Championship of Livestock Auctioneers in New Holland, Pennsylvania, where contestants compete in feats of tongue-twisting verbal dexterity. “I was fascinated by livestock auctioneers,” Herzog once told an interviewer, “and always had the feeling that their incredible language was the real poetry of capitalism. Every system develops its own sort of extreme language, like the ritual chants of the Orthodox Church, and there is something final and absolute about the language the auctioneers speak.” Equally riveting is God’s Angry Man, which profiles L.A. televangelist Gene Scott. Faith, for Scott, is big business, and he broadcasts daily jeremiads to his flock, offering the promise of deliverance while demanding—with great vociferousness or stoney, intimidating silence—a check in the mail. Everything in America, it would seem from these Herzog documentaries, even salvation, comes with a price tag.
Sunday, August 4, 8:00pm
Wednesday, August 7, 2:30pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
In the Cut
Jane Campion, UK/Australia/USA, 2003, 35mm, 119m
Based on the novel by Susanna Moore and produced by Nicole Kidman, In the Cut renders the erotic thriller with a haunting, meditative gaze. After learning about the brutal murder of a young woman in her neighborhood, English professor Frannie Avery (Meg Ryan, in a powerful and uncharacteristic role) begins an affair with one of the investigating police detectives, Giovanni Malloy (Mark Ruffalo). As their relationship becomes increasingly passionate, Frannie questions Malloy’s suspicious role in the investigation, and uses sexual desire as a tool for defense and titillation. Framing noughties New York with a soft amber glow and subjective visual style, In the Cut deftly investigates the familiar terms of on-screen representation, obscuring, among other archetypes, the line between female victim and femme fatale.
Wednesday, August 14, 6:30pm
The Otolith Group, UK/USA, 2013, 41m
“What do faults promise? What assurances do they give when they seek the line of least resistance?” The Otolith Group’s Medium Earth functions as a kind of notebook, a sketch for a future film in the model of Pasolini’s Notes for an African Orestes or Seeking Locations in Palestine. It takes the shape of an audiovisual essay on the anthropocene, specifically the parched terrain of California, the human interventions which engineer its environment, and the awesome forces at play beneath its surface. Tracing the sinuous cracks in rock formations and concrete parking garages—evidence of unseen activities—The Otolith Group examines the reverberations emanating from America’s seismic unconscious.
Free Amphitheater loop, August 9-11
Jacques Demy, France/USA, 1969, 97m
Gary Lockwood, back down to earth after 2001: A Space Odyssey, stars as George Matthews, an aspiring architect and full-time layabout. Model Shop follows him throughout the course of a particularly bad day—on the outs with his girlfriend, he drives around Los Angeles looking to borrow a hundred dollars so that his convertible won’t be repossessed, and soon comes face-to-face with his own mortality when he learns he’s been called in for the draft. But chance encounters with a mysterious French woman (Anouk Aimée) suggest a new beginning. As ever an immaculate colorist, Jacques Demy captures the low-slung poetry of that lonely city in a style uniquely his own. His time in America, he would later recall, had enlivened him creatively after a period of significant enervation, but Demy’s tenure in Hollywood would begin and end with this, one of his most underrated pictures.
Sunday, August 4, 3:30pm
Monday, August 5, 2:00pm
News from Home + ISM ISM + Guerillère Talks
Chantal Akerman, France/Belgium/West Germany, 1977, 85m
Manuel DeLanda, USA, 1979, 16mm, 9m
Vivienne Dick, USA, 1978, 25m
French with English subtitles
Though better known as a philosopher, Manuel DeLanda had an earlier life as an experimental filmmaker, and ISM ISM declares its intentions at the outset. “OPEN UP GAPS / IN THE PERVERSE BODY OF THE CITY, ” screams DeLanda’s neon-hued graffiti, scrawled across Manhattan buildings, “SO UNCONSCIOUS DESIRE / CAN BURST OUT / AND SHORT CIRCUIT / THE SYSTEM OF MEANING.” He achieved this directive by elaborately defacing subway advertisements, grafting bits of one model’s face onto another to yield charmingly grotesque collages. Equally punk is Guerillère Talks, the debut effort by Super-8 luminary Vivienne Dick. Her film is assembled as a suite of portraits, each the length of a complete camera roll and featuring different women from Dick’s downtown demimonde (No Wavers Lydia Lunch and Pat Place among them). Completing this trio—all distinctive works made by young expats in ’70s New York—is Chantal Akerman’s plangent News from Home, a movie enriched through its absences, wherein precisely composed street scenes are paired with recited letters from the filmmaker’s mother in Belgium. “When you see the images,” Akerman explained, “you realize that New York has nothing to do with European ideas about it. The myth doesn’t connect at all with the reality of the city.” ISM ISM preserved by Anthology Film Archives with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Wednesday, August 7, 9:00pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St) (Introduction by Corina Copp)
Wim Wenders, West Germany/France/UK/USA, 1984, 145m
English and Spanish with English subtitles
Wim Wenders’s emotionally overwhelming, Palme d’Or–winning odyssey is a film of oppositions: wispy, home-recorded memories and rock-solid Southwestern landscapes; long stretches of silence and soul-baring monologues; American and European sensibilities. It instantly became a career highlight for almost everyone involved: screenwriter Sam Shepard; composer Ry Cooder; cinematographer Robby Müller; Harry Dean Stanton, whose performance as a lonely amnesiac seeking out his wife and son became his most iconic screen role; and Nastassja Kinski, whose absence, as Stanton’s estranged wife, dictates the movie’s rhythm. When she finally appears, it’s with what might be her finest performance to date, a condensed showcase of all her skill and restraint.
Saturday, August 10, 6:00pm
Wednesday, August 14, 3:30pm
Poto and Cabengo
Jean-Pierre Gorin, USA/West Germany, 1980, 77m
English, French, and German with English subtitles
J.P. Gorin’s name is assured a lasting place in film history as one half of the Dziga Vertov Group (the other half being Jean-Luc Godard), known for Marxist, Brechtian exercises in political cinema. Gorin then moved to San Diego, where he fell deeply under the influence of critic and painter Manny Farber and embarked on a sporadic but remarkable solo film career. Inspired by a news item about twin girls, Grace and Virginia Kennedy, believed to be communicating in a language of their own invention, the utterly beguiling documentary feature Poto and Cabengo also marked the first in an informal Gorin trilogy on private, closed communities nestled amidst the placid landscape of Southern California. Gorin attempts to unravel the mystery of the Kennedy twins while casting his amused yet penetrating gaze on the family’s lean economic situation and the mass-media cult intent on exploiting their story. The result is a small masterpiece about the mysteries of language and the hardscrabble realities of life on the margins of the American middle class.
Saturday, August 3, 4:15pm
Friday, August 9, 4:30pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Harun Farocki, Germany, 2000, 60m
German with English subtitles
“The cinema,” writes Harun Farocki, “has always been attracted to prisons. Today’s prisons are full of video surveillance cameras. These images are unedited and monotonous; as neither time nor space is compressed, they are particularly well-suited to conveying the state of inactivity into which prisoners are placed as a punitive measure.” In this probing essay film, Farocki appropriates the internal recordings of the U.S. carceral apparatus, homing in on revealing details. These scenes are also counterposed with a variety of related materials, like sequences from Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped and Jean Genet’s Un Chant d’amour, as he considers the detention center’s far-reaching architecture of social control, and makes visible an America designed to be hidden.
Monday, August 12, 7:00pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Alain Resnais, Switzerland/France, 1977, 104m
Alain Resnais’s first film in English was conceived as a “documentary about imagination,” and the director achieved this through masterful formal maneuvers. Its opening shot situates the film on a Victorian-era estate known as Providence, and inside the home we’re privy to the fevered dreams and emotional reckonings of an aging writer whose body is succumbing to cancer. Though Providence suffered a terrible reception in America, over time it has found its champions, one being artist Tacita Dean. Declaring Providence her favorite film, she particularly appreciates that “it deals effortlessly with the problems of enacting the fantasies of a writer’s imagination. It mixes places and time within single sequences to create an uncanny sense of dislocation, but its brilliance is its leanness—not a single moment of excess.”
Saturday, August 3, 6:00pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Tuesday, August 6, 4:30pm
Punishment Park + Rat Life and Diet in North America
Peter Watkins, USA, 1971, 91m
Joyce Wieland, Canada, 1968, 16mm, 16m
Shot in a documentary style, with non-actors cast partly according to their political sympathies, Punishment Park imagines a near-future where due process in America has been suspended as a response to increasing civil unrest, and the fates of political dissidents are instead determined by tribunal. Otherwise facing lengthy prison terms, the newly convicted opt for three days in Bear Mountain National Punishment Park, in which they must traverse a pitiless desert terrain to win their freedom, while outmaneuvering cops and National Guard members, for whom their capture is a gruesome training exercise. Watkins’s dystopian fantasy of another era offers a vision of state-sponsored brutality that continues to correspond, unsettlingly, to our own. Preceded by Joyce Wieland’s small-scale yet tremendously imaginative Rat Life and Diet in North America, in which rodent guerillas liberate themselves from their feline oppressors and make a northward break for Canada. “It is a parable, a satire, an adventure movie, or you can call it pop art or any art you want,” wrote Jonas Mekas upon its original release, “I find it one of the most original films made recently.”
Friday, August 9, 6:45pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St) (Introduction by Leo Goldsmith)
Monday, August 12, 4:30pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Paul Verhoeven, France/USA, 1995, 35mm, 128m
Unbound by musty notions of “good taste,” Showgirls goes further than any other film of the 1990s in its orgiastic depiction of consumerism, crass spectacle, and the dark side of the American dream. Elizabeth Berkley (in a tour-de-force of hysterical excess) stars as Nomi, a tough-as-nails drifter with a go-it-alone attitude and a murky past, who arrives in Las Vegas and sets about trampling on everyone around her—including Gina Gershon’s evil-seductive nightclub diva—as she fights her way up from stripper in a sleazy club to star showgirl. With its deliciously overripe dialogue and nigh-unhinged performances, Showgirls is both a delirious star-is-born satire and a terrifying vision of capitalism’s corruption of the soul.
Sunday, August 11, 6:45pm
Tuesday, August 13, 1:30pm
The Sky on Location + To Be Here
Babette Mangolte, 1982, 16mm, 78m
Ute Aurand, Germany, 2013, 16mm, 38m
In The Sky on Location, French-born Babette Mangolte, feeling the pull of the American West, sets out to map the region through its shifting seasonal palette, resulting in a chromatic geography of the landscape as well as a keen-eyed meditation on its history. Mangolte’s remarkable and underappreciated film is preceded by the lyrical portraiture of Ute Aurand’s To Be Here. Explains Aurand, “I visited New England many times and decided to make a film about what attracted me, like the women’s colleges, the Shakers, Katharine Lee Bates and her ‘America the Beautiful.’ I traveled through the present New England evoking former idealists and visionaries. Mount Holyoke College takes a special place in my film. The impulse for my trip to the Southwest in the second half of the film also came from ‘America the Beautiful,’ which Bates wrote on her visit to Pikes Peak. While traveling west, I visited the Hopi and felt far, far away from the United States of America. Nature seems to preserve what we the people forget.”
Friday, August 9, 9:00pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Willow Springs + Footnotes to a House of Love
Werner Schroeter, West Germany, 1973, 78m
German with English subtitles
Laida Lertxundi, USA, 2007, 16mm, 13m
Werner Schroeter was to make a film about Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol, co-produced by German television station ZDF, yet he soon lost interest after his arrival in California. The Manson murders were in the air, and provided their own, alternative inspiration. Taking a literal detour from Hollywood, Schroeter drove out to a ghost town near Rosamond known as Willow Springs, where in just two weeks he shot the only film he would make in the United States. It concerns a trio of women—Magdalena, the high priestess, Christine, ethereal and remote, and Ila, servile and practically mute—who rob and kill men who pass through their remote corner of the Mojave; their interactions turn fraught with the arrival of Michael, a young man fleeing Los Angeles and dreaming of Hawaii. Preceded by Laida Lertxundi’s gnomic, emotionally charged Footnotes to a House of Love, likewise set in a desolate, sun-soaked locale. “There is an effort,” says Lertxundi of her film, “to create the space of a story, without a story, by the use of real time/diegetic sound. Love is felt as a force that determines the arrangement of the figures in the landscape.” Willow Springs courtesy of Filmmuseum München.
Tuesday, August 6, 8:45pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Xiao Yu + Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Sylvia Chang, Taiwan, 1995, 104m
Jonas Mekas, USA, 2003, 16mm, 15m
English, Mandarin, and Cantonese with English subtitles
One of Sylvia Chang’s best films, Xiao Yu centers upon a young garment worker who’s come to New York from China to be with her boyfriend. As the threat of the INS looms, she enters into a green card marriage with an alcoholic, down-on-his-luck writer trying to get out from under his gambling debts, and what follows is a moving and sensitive treatment of the unlikely bonds that form between them. Preceded by Williamsburg, Brooklyn, from the Lithuanian-born Jonas Mekas. After arriving in New York in 1949, Mekas would radically reshape film culture as a critic, editor, programmer, and experimental filmmaker. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, though completed much later in his career, is composed of some of the very first images he shot in America, poignantly conjuring the atmospheres of his newfound immigrant milieu.
Monday, August 12, 8:30pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)
Michelangelo Antonioni, USA, 1970, 35mm, 113m
The flowering of radical will across America in the late ’60s seized the imaginations of many directors in this series, Michelangelo Antonioni in particular. The protests he witnessed at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago proved catalytic, and the episode would eventually precipitate one of his most divisive films, Zabriskie Point. A student radical finds himself on the run after a violent clash with the police, escaping to Death Valley in a stolen plane. There he meets a young woman and in one of the movie’s most iconic sequences takes part in a dusty, surreal mass orgy. The real action here, however, is in the spectacular wide shots. “A country of such vastness,” the director reflected, “with such distances and such horizons, could not help but be molded in its dreams, illusions, tensions, its solitude, faith, innocence, optimism and desperation, its patriotism and revolt, its dimensions.”
Saturday, August 3, 8:15pm
Sunday, August 4, 5:30pm
Film at Lincoln Center Talk: Outsider Visions of America
Join Another Country co-organizers Thomas Beard and Shanay Jhaveri (editor of America: Films from Elsewhere) for a wide-ranging discussion of the series, the representation of America by foreign and immigrant auteurs, and more.
Thursday, August 8, 7:00pm (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W 65 St)