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Spotlight: Amos Vogel Centenary Retrospective

We pay tribute to the centenary of late film programmer and festival co-founder Amos Vogel—who offered the city “films you cannot see elsewhere,” and whose uncompromising dedication to the medium’s radical possibilities inspired NYC film culture as it exists today—with a special Spotlight sidebar.

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The Amos Vogel Centenary Retrospective is sponsored by:

Amos Vogel Program 1: Cinema 16

  • Sidney Peterson, Lester F. Beck, John Huston, Oskar Fischinger
  • 113 minutes
In the fall of 1947, Amos Vogel, a young Austrian émigré, and his wife Marcia founded a venue called Cinema 16, which routinely brought together strikingly different works—pairing, for instance, an abstract animation with a science film, allowing both to be understood, contrapuntally, in a new light.

The New York Film Festival, 1963-1968

Cinema 16 came to a close in 1963. That same year Vogel co-founded the New York Film Festival with Richard Roud, and, as the head of Lincoln Center’s film department, laid the groundwork for the FLC of today. For our tribute, we’ll be highlighting a number of works that were presented during Vogel’s tenure at the festival, each of which reflects, in different ways, his long-standing preoccupations as a programmer.

Amos Vogel Program 2: Barravento

  • Glauber Rocha
  • 1962
  • Brazil
  • 16mm
  • 78 minutes
  • Portuguese with English subtitles
Featured in the Main Slate of the first edition of NYFF, Barravento is a seminal work of Cinema Novo and the debut feature of Glauber Rocha.

Amos Vogel Program 3: Pearls of the Deep

  • Jiří Menzel, Jan Němec, Evald Schorm, Věra Chytilová, Jaromil Jireš
  • 1965
  • Czechoslovakia
  • 107 minutes
  • Czech with English subtitles
A selection of the 1966 New York Film Festival, Pearls of the Deep is made up of five sections, each directed by a different filmmaker and based on a short story by Bohumil Hrabal.

Amos Vogel Program 4: The New American Cinema

  • Tony Conrad, Peter Emmanuel Goldman
  • 16mm
  • 105 minutes
The Fourth New York Film Festival featured a sampling of the New American Cinema, bringing the underground uptown. Two of the works screened that year, Tony Conrad’s The Flicker and Peter Emmanuel Goldman’s Echoes of Silence, reflect the range of avant-garde activity flourishing at the time.

Amos Vogel Program 5: The Social Cinema in America, 1967

  • Lebert Bethune, Santiago Álvarez, David Neuman and Ed Pincus
  • 92 minutes
As the Fifth New York Film Festival featured a sidebar on “The Social Cinema in America,” we reprise one of the evening's screenings, bringing together Lebert Bethune, Santiago Álvarez, David Neuman, and Ed Pincus.

Amos Vogel Program 6: Personal Cinema

  • 12th and Oxford Street Film Makers, Jaime Barrios, Maxine Tsosie and Mary J. Tsosie
  • 69 minutes
1968 marked Vogel’s final year overseeing the NYFF, and many remarkable (and even today underappreciated) works were selected. One program in particular from that edition was dubbed “Personal Cinema," reprised here.

Film as a Subversive Art

Long a source of inspiration for film programmers, Film as a Subversive Art is a guidebook to cinema’s outer limits, replete with tantalizing descriptions of some of the most radical movies ever made. First published in 1974, this lavishly illustrated volume can be seen as a culmination of Vogel’s work over the previous decades, chronicling as it does the taboo-busting potential of cinema, at the level of form as well as content.

Amos Vogel Program 7: Film as a Subversive Art

  • Dušan Makavejev
  • 90 minutes
  • English, German, Russian, and Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles
For this program, we foreground Amos Vogel's acclaimed book, Film as a Subversive Art, with one of its most iconic titles, WR: Mysteries of the Organism, alongside Nebula II, one of its most obscure entries.