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Farewell 20th Century

The Harvard Film Archive invites you to count down to the close of the century and millennium with this series of four specially selected feature films, one video program, and accompanying shorts. Collectively these works touch on the eternal themes of transition and uncertainty, death and rebirth, apocalyptic dread and revivifying faith, as explored by some of the world's finest directors.


December 14 (Tuesday) 9 pm
December 15 (Tuesday) 9 pm

The Passing

Directed by Bill Viola
USA 1991, video, 54 min.

In a personal exploration of altered time and space, Bill Viola travels the terrains of the conscious and the subconscious while exploring the desert landscapes of the Southwest. Starkly yet poignantly rendered in black and white, the piece melds sleep, dreams, and the realness of life into a stunning exploration of that permeable conduit between reality and surreality. An irrepressible soundtrack of Viola’s labored breathing in sleep and wakefulness enhances an otherworldly topography.

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Screens with "The Passing"
December 14 (Tuesday) 9 pm
December 15 (Wednesday) 9 pm

Kingsbury Beach

Directed by Walter Ungerer
USA 1999, color, computer animation on video, 6 min.

 

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Screens with "The Passing"
December 14 (Tuesday) 9 pm
December 15 (Wednesday) 9 pm

Breakaway

Directed by Bruce Conner
USA 1966, b/w, 16mm, newly restored version/5 min.

 

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December 21 (Tuesday) 9 pm
December 27 (Monday) 8 pm

The Seventh Seal (Det Sjunde Inseglet)

Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Sweden 1957, b/w, 35mm, 95 min.
HFA archival print
With Max von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Bibi Andersson
Swedish with English subtitles

Bergman’s classic film is a stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning in life. A knight, returning home from the Crusades, plays a game of chess with Death while the plague ravages medieval Europe. An exceptionally powerful film, The Seventh Seal is a work of awesome scope, which remains a textbook to the craft of filmmaking.

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Screens with "The Seventh Seal"
December 21 (Tuesday) 9 pm
December 27 (Monday) 8 pm

Odilon Redon

Directed by Guy Maddin
Canada 1995, b/w, 16mm, 5min.

 

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December 22 (Wednesday) 9 pm

The Sacrifice

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
Offret Sweden/France 1987, b/w and color, 35mm, 155 min.
HFA archival print
With Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, and Allan Edwall
Swedish with English subtitles

In exile, Andrei Tarkovsky filmed The Sacrifice in Sweden (collaborating with Ingmar Bergman’s cinematographer Sven Nykvist). The film’s theme is a grand, urgent one: the lack of spirituality in modern times. A writer living on a remote island has his birthday celebration seemingly interrupted by the outbreak of World War III. In Tarkovsky’s elliptical and visionary world, the outcome is indeterminate; but the opening condition of fear and the later weight of prayer are palpable. Of Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman has said:"He is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream."

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Screens with "The Sacrifice"
December 22 (Wednesday) 9 pm

Anticipation, Or Love in the Year 2000 (Anticipation ou l'amour en l'an 2000)

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
France 1967, color, 35mm, 20 min.

 

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December 23 (Thursday) 9 pm
December 28 (Tuesday) 8 pm

The Dead

Directed by John Huston
USA 1987, color, 35mm, 82 min.
With Anjelica Huston, Donal McCann, Rachael Dowling

On a snowy night in Dublin at the turn of the century, the elderly Morkan sisters are giving their annual dance and supper for the Feast of Epiphany. The focus of the story moves among the guests, until it settles on the Morkans’ nephew, Gabriel, and his wife, Gretta. As the guests are leaving, they hear someone sing "The Lass of Aughrim," which moves Gretta so deeply that she confesses to Gabriel her love for a young man, whom, she believes, died because of her. Gabriel realizes he has never felt true love nor could he inspire the passion his wife once felt for another.

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Screens with "The Dead"
December 23 (Thursday) 9 pm
December 28 (Tuesday) 8 pm

Gloria!

Directed by Hollis Frampton
USA 1979, color, 16mm, 9 min.

 

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December 29 (Wednesday) 8 pm

Modern Times

Directed by Charles Chaplin
USA 1936, bw 35mm, 87 min.
With Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Chester Conklin

Chaplin’s last silent film, produced in the middle of the sound period, (with his own music including "Smile"),takes on the inequities of the Great Depression and the modern experience. The final shot is among Chaplin’s most famous and poignant. Ultimately encompassing the tyranny of machine over man, this cinematic masterpiece has as much relevance today as when it was made. The film ends as Chaplin’s Charlie the Tramp, unable to find a place in the industrial metropolis, walks away from society towards an uncertain future. Modern Times is the last in the series of films that featured Chaplin’s endearing everyman Charlie, who became internationally renowned with the director’s earlier successes, The Circus, The Gold Rush and City Lights. Modern Times is The Tramp’s final departure from the Chaplin world.

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Screens with "Modern Times"
December 29 (Wednesday) 8 pm

Bunny

Directed by Chris Wedge
USA 1998, color, 35mm, 7 min.

 

 

 

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