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Film Architectures

September 28 (Tuesday) 6:30 pm
September 29 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm
With live Piano accompaniment
Das Schicksal einer Menscheit im Jahre 2000


arch-metropolis.jpg (17325 bytes)Directed by Fritz Lang
Germany 1926, silent, b/w, 35mm, 130 min.
HFA Archival Print
With Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich

The greatest science fiction film of the silent cinema, Metropolis was made by Lang at Berlin’s UFA studio, with an unprecedented budget allowing for impressively huge sets inspired by the New York skyline. Set in the 21st century, the story is derived partly from medieval legends, partly from a dystopic vision of a future of intensified conflict between capital and labor. Photographed in Expressionist style, and designed to display powerful geometric symmetries, many of the film’s sequences are unforgettable, especially those with the frightening female robot. 

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October 12 (Tuesday) 6:30 pm
October 13 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm


Directed by F.W. Murnau
USA 1927, with musical score, b/w, 35mm, 100 min.
With George O’Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston

The great German director Murnau, known especially for his use of moving camera shots to explore three-dimensional space, arrived in Hollywood as sound films were coming into vogue. His first American film was shot silent but released with a musical track. The melodramatic plot, though based on a German novel, was typical Hollywood fare; but Murnau, along with renowned cameramen Karl Struss and Charles Rosher transformed the material by merging the psychological realism of the domestic drama with a lyrical depiction of both the quiet country village and the bustling city, as the protagonists journey through the different landscapes toward reconciliation.

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Tue 10/19 6:30
Wed 10/20 6:30

Voyage to Italy

arch-voyage.jpg (19672 bytes)Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Viaggio in Italia Italy, 1953, b/w, 16mm, 100 min.
With Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders

Tensions pile up in Rossellini’s deeply moving and beautifully nuanced story starring Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders as a frustrated and bored British couple struggling to keep their marriage alive. The film resembles a diary, meditating on the problems of the jaded communication between the spouses while visiting Naples. Rossellini stated that "it was very important for me to show Italy, Naples and that strange atmosphere in which is found a very real, very immediate feeling: the feeling of eternal life, something that has entirely disappeared from the world." 

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October 26 (Tuesday) 6:30

La Notte (The Night)

arch-notte.jpg (16252 bytes)Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Italy 1961, b/w, 35mm, 122 min.
With Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau
Italian with English subtitles

The middle film of Antonioni’s celebrated trilogy (L’Avventura, L’eclisse) is a key work of modernist cinema, exploring the alienation of the Milanese bourgeoisie within the landscape of the city and the lavish villas of its periphery. The film follows a couple—Mastroianni, as an exhausted novelist coasting on his reputation, and Moreau, as his disenchanted wife—from an afternoon visit to a dying friend in a hospital, through a book launching party at the home of an industrialist, to their separate nocturnal forays. 

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October 27 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm

L'Avventura (The Adventure)

arch-avventura.jpg (14376 bytes)Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Italy 1960, b/w, 35mm, 145 min.
With Monica Vitti, Gabriele Ferzetti
Italian with English subtitles

After an argument with her lover during a yachting party, a woman disappears from the Sicilian island they’ve been exploring. Both her lover and best friend set out to find her, but the urgency of their search dissipates as they fall into a disquieting sexual relationship. Antonioni’s celebrated film, which he described as "a detective story back to front," displays the director’s fascination with landscape, geometry and architectural forms as a means of expressing the troubled state of Italy’s post-war middle class.

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700