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.
Organized by Dennis Lim and Thomas Beard
Anthology Film Archives; Cinemateca Portuguesa; the Cultural Services of the French Embassy NY; Harvard Film Archive; Institut Français; Istituto Luce Cinecittà; The Jones Film and Video Collection, Southern Methodist University; Northeast Historic Film; UCLA Film & Television Archive; Peter Watkins; Valeska Grisebach; Pedro Costa; Ronald Bronstein; Teemour Mambety; Miguel Gomes
Friday, November 24
Saturday, November 25
Sunday, November 26
Monday, November 27
Tuesday, November 28
Wednesday, November 29
Thursday, November 30
Friday, December 1
Saturday, December 2
Sunday, December 3
Monday, December 4
Tuesday, December 5
Wednesday, December 6
Thursday, December 7
Friday, December 8
Saturday, December 9
Q&A with Matt PorterfieldIn Porterfield’s keenly observed portrait of young people in a Baltimore suburb coming together in the wake of a friend’s death, the actors play versions of themselves. Lertxundi prefers to work with non-actors as well, though the narrative of Cry When It Happens only flirts with legibility, presenting not a story but rather an enigmatic and emotionally resonant experiment with the conventions of film’s visual syntax and our attendant expectations.
Free Screening!Throughout the 1930s, Margaret Cram directed the same film again and again by traveling to cities across New England and producing her Movie Queen scenarios with the people who lived there. This program of three such reels gives a rare glimpse into a little-known genre of amateur filmmaking, which achieves a curious poignancy through the repetition of its design.
To purchase tickets to individual films, please click on the “Films” or “Schedule” tabs at the top of this page and then click on your desired films or showtimes.
3+ Film Package – Minimum of 3 films required. Tickets just $8 Members / $9 Students & Seniors / $11 General Public.
All Access Pass – See everything in the series for $150.
Note: Member complimentary tickets can be used for this series.
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