FILM/MEDIA HISTORY

Wednesday, January 29 at 7pm

WOMAN IN THE MOON

Fritz Lang (Germany 1929) 169 min. DCP. With Willy Fritsch, Gerda Maurus, Gustav von Wangenheim. German with English subtitles.

A director in the pantheon of greats alongside Hitchcock and Ford, Fritz Lang’s body of work encompasses classics made long before he came to Hollywood. After, for example, Metropolis (1927), he made Woman in the Moon; Lang’s last silent film, it presents the tale of the first rocket to the moon with a sincere realism and a woman essentially at the helm. Retrospectively, a few details were prescient, if not actually pioneering, as in the case of Lang’s apparent invention of the backward countdown. Although there is a plot involving a romantic triangle and a cabal of sinister capitalists, it is clearly the machinery that attracts Lang’s attention, as well as the science and morality behind it. Called Lang’s most abstract film, it retains some fatalistic and fantastic detours, yet with an atmosphere much cooler, and at times, chilling; the celebrated rocket launch sequence predicts the mass-as-machine imagery of Triumph of the Will (adapted from Harvard Film Archive program notes).

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Wednesday, February 26 at 7pm

LOS OLVIDADOS

Luis Buñuel (Mexico 1950) 80 min. DCP. With Alfonso Mejía, Roberto Cobo, Estela Inda. Spanish with English subtitles.

“An iconoclast, moralist, and revolutionary who was a leader of avant-garde surrealism in his youth ” (New York Times), Luis Buñuel burst back onto the international scene with this stunningly raw portrait of disaffected Mexican youths running wild. This early masterpiece follows a gang of boys, led by a sadistic ringleader, who prey on the weak and helpless, and marries Buñuel’s trademark surrealism—most famously in a haunting, slow-motion dream sequence—with hard-edged social realism, all building up to the heart-stopping final shot (BAMcinématek program notes).

“Once seen, this movie can never be forgotten” (J. Hoberman).

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Wednesday, March 25 at 7pm

FRUIT OF PARADISE

Věra Chytilová (Czechoslovakia 1970) 99 min. DCP. With Jitka Nováková, Karel Novák, Jan Schmid. Czech with English subtitles.

Věra Chytilová’s follow-up to her avant-garde landmark Daisies is less heralded but may be even more audaciously abstract. Chytilová and Krumbachová’s script resets the story of Adam and Eve in a crumbling health spa where a married woman is menaced and fascinated by a mysterious stranger: a devilish charmer in a red velvet suit who may be a serial killer. Unfolding in a kaleidoscopic swirl of hallucinatory, highly processed imagery — including a stunning, primordial opening sequence of luscious, floral double exposures — and set to a thunderous, wall-to-wall symphonic score by Zdeněk Liška, Fruit of Paradise is a senses-scrambling odyssey rich in feminist and political symbolism (Film at Lincoln Center program notes). Playing with two shorts by leading figures of African cinema: Ousmane Sembène’s The Wagoner (1963, 18 min.) and Djibril Diop Mambéty’s City of Contrasts (1969, 22 min.)

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