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Friday, August 5, 2022
Featuring live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin on August 5.
One of the masterpieces of silent cinema, though for years difficult to see, The Crowd is Vidor’s unflinching study of the American Dream. The film centers upon John Sims, who from an early age imagines that he’s destined for great things. As a young man he journeys to New York to make his name, but over time he must come to terms with a relentlessly ordinary existence—the drudgeries of work, the quarrels of marriage. One sees in the film a supreme example of Vidor’s ability to punctuate a naturalistic style with sequences of searing visual expressiveness, and his approach in this movie would prove highly influential on later directors, in particular the Italian neorealists and, later, the French New Wave. Reflecting on an impasse in his career to Cahiers du Cinéma, Godard once quipped, “Make films about the people, they said; but The Crowd had already been made, so why remake it?”