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Cinema A to Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive 

Film Titles from E to I


July 6 (Thursday) 7 pm

Entre Deux Soeurs (Two Sisters)

Directed by Caroline Leaf
Canada 1991, 35mm, color, 10 min.

Etched directly onto tinted 70mm film, Caroline Leaf’s gorgeous animated short challenges our ideas about beauty by presenting us with a relationship that is both cruel and tender.

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January 5 (Friday) 9:15 pm
January 6 (Saturday) 6:30 pm

8 1/2 (Otto e mezzo)

Directed by Federico Fellini
Italy 1963, 35mm, b/w, 135 min.
With Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée

Described by Fellini as "something between a muddled visit to a psychiatrist and an examination of a disordered conscience with Limbo as the setting," 8 1/2 is a brilliant portrait of the creative process and a powerful meditation on the relationship between the realms of fantasy and film. Mastroianni plays a successful director who experiences a creative block, which is exacerbated by the demands of his wife (Aimeé), his mistress, his producer, and a legion of actors and technicians from his past productions. His response is to retreat into a fantasy world replete with harems, spaceships, and a luminous actress (Cardinale). A masterpiece of the modern cinema, 8 1/2 earned top honors at the Moscow Film Festival and was nominated for several Academy Awards, winning Oscars for its costume design and Best Foreign Language Film.

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July 7 (Friday) 7 pm

Fat City

Directed by John Huston
US 1972, 35mm, color, 100 min.
With Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrell

In the decade following The Misfits, John Huston managed to complete only a handful of mainly European productions. Fat City marked his return to work in this country and to his focus on the hard-bitten promises held out by the American West. Set in central California within the working-class environs of migrant laborers and drifters, Fat City presents the story of two smalltime boxers—one on his way up (Bridges) and the other struggling for one more payday (Keach). Huston’s vision radiates out from this central tale to capture the humanity that binds a community, which resides somewhere beneath the harsh economic realities of life and the indomitable belief in the possibility of redemption that remains at the heart of the American dream.


July 7 (Friday) 9 pm

Flea Circus

Directed by Tex Avery
US 1954, 35mm, color, 7 min.

With his eccentric brand of humor, Fred "Tex" Avery revolutionized studio animation during his stints at Warners (where he directed the first Daffy Duck and Porky Pig cartoons) and at Paramount, Universal, and mgm, where he created this wacky tale about a flea circus that runs away to join a dog.

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July 7 (Friday) 9 pm

A Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollari)

Directed by Sergio Leone
Italy/West Germany/Spain 1964, 35mm, color, 96 min.
With Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonte, Marianne Koch

The first and perhaps the finest of the "spaghetti westerns" that launched the career of Italian director Sergio Leone and transformed the unassuming American actor Clint Eastwood into an international icon, A Fistful of Dollars revitalized the standard elements of the classic genre through striking widescreen cinematography, kinetic editing, vivid locations (Spain doubling for Southwest landscapes), and a memorable Ennio Morricone score. Eastwood plays a drifter who stumbles upon a feud in a remote Western settlement and wisely decides to play each side against the other. These elements, combined with Eastwood’s singular laconic style, earned Leone’s film international acclaim and led to a trio of even more successful sequels.

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July 8 (Saturday) 7 pm
With Live Piano Accompaniment by Yakov Gubanov

The Girl with the Hatbox (Devushka s korobkoi)

Directed by Boris Barnet
USSR 1927, 35mm, b/w, silent, 61 min.
With Anna Stern, Vladimir Fogel, I. Koval-Samborski

Boxer-turned-actor Boris Barnet was only twenty-five when he directed his debut feature, The Girl with the Hatbox. A protégé of the legendary Soviet director and teacher Lev Kuleshov, Barnet specialized in gentle satires about the complications of workaday life in the era of the New Economic Policy. In The Girl with the Hatbox, Barnet utilized Moscow’s housing restrictions as a plot point to motivate a marriage between a peasant seamstress and a displaced young farm worker, whom she finds sleeping under a bench at the railroad station.

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July 8 (Saturday) 8:30 pm

The Garden of Earthly Delights

Directed by Stan Brakhage
US 1981, 16mm, color, silent, 3 min.

One of Brakhage’s most extraordinary collage films, The Garden of Earthly Delights is composed entirely of mountain-zone vegetation applied to celluloid, in homage to painters Hieronymus Bosch and Emil Nolde.

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July 8 (Saturday) 8:30 pm

Gregroy's Girl

Directed by Bill Forsyth
Scotland 1981, 35mm, color, 91 min.
With John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn, Jake D’Arcy

While films had been made in Scotland since the silent era, the notion of a Scottish cinema seemed to have burst forth with the release of a single work, Bill Forsyth’s debut feature. Essentially a coming-of-age story, Gregory’s Girl reimagines the conventional elements of the genre by thoroughly immersing the tale in its small-town Scottish setting. The title character in this charming comedy is a headstrong girl who strikes a feminist blow against gender bias in a high-school soccer program, an intervention that causes widespread consternation among the locals and admiration-turned-affection on the part of one lanky young footballer named Gregory.

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July 9 (Sunday) 7 pm

H20

Directed by Ralph Steiner
US 1929, 16mm, b/w, silent, 14 min.

This pioneering abstract film focuses on the rhythmic flow of water and its interplay with light and shadow.

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July 9 (Sunday) 7 pm

The Horse's Mouth

Directed by Ronald Neame
England 1958, 35mm, color, 95 min.
With Alec Guinness, Kay Walsh, Renee Houston

In the tradition of the Ealing Studios comedies (Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Man in the White Suit) that made Alec Guinness a star, The Horse’s Mouth is a gag-filled portrait of an eccentric artist named Gulley Jimson (Guinness) who lives on a leaky houseboat docked on the Thames. With his paintings in the hands of an ex-wife and a former patron, Gulley divides his time between hatching revenge schemes that utilize his talent for impersonating officials on the telephone and furthering his passion for mural painting by transforming any available bare wall into a site for a new work of art.

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July 9 (Sunday) 9 pm

High Hopes

Directed by Mike Leigh
England 1988, 35mm, color, 112 min.
With Philip Davis, Ruth Sheen,Edna Dore

One of the key works in the reemergent New British Cinema of the late 1980s, High Hopes effectively relaunched the filmmaking career of English independent filmmaker Mike Leigh (director of last year’s critically acclaimed Topsy Turvy), who had spent the better part of the previous decade working in tele-vision. With an improvisational air and a decidedly episodic structure, High Hopes presents a ground-level romp through Thatcher’s Britain as witnessed by the residents of a King’s Cross neighborhood in the throws of gentrification. Central to the shifting stories are Cyril, a motorcycle messenger, and his longtime companion Shirley—leftists in their mid-thirties whose qualms about the world around them have kept them from starting a family.

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July 10 (Monday) 7 pm

Interplay

Directed by Peter Weiss
Sweden 1955, 16mm, b/w, silent, 8 min.

The multi-talented Swedish writer and artist Peter Weiss (Marat Sade, The Investigation) worked extensively in experimental cinema in the 1950s. His Interplay transforms two lovers into a series of provocative abstract compositions.

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July 10 (Monday) 7 pm

Innocence Unprotected (Nevinost Bez Zastite)

Directed by Dusan Makavejev
Yugoslavia 1968, 35mm, b/w & color, 78 min.
With Dragoljub Aleksic, Ana Milosavljevic, Vera Jovanovic
Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles

In a pioneering exploration of the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, Dusan Makavejev resurrects a primitive Serbian talkie made during the Nazi occupation and surrounds it with period newsreels and contemporary interviews with the surviving members of its cast. The film within the film is a wonderfully naïve melodrama about a young woman whose wicked stepmother forces her into a relationship with a wealthy suitor despite her avowed love for a strongman, who predictably comes to her rescue. In Makavejev’s hands the material yields both humor and some profound history lessons as the poignant aspirations of film people encounter the larger realities of life during the war.

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July 10 (Monday) 8:45 pm

I am Cuba (Yo Soy Cuba)

Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov
USSR 1964, 35mm, b/w, 141 min.
Multilingual with subtitles

Reminiscent of the city symphonies of the 1920s and inspired by Eisenstein’s unfinished film ode to Mexico (Que Viva Mexico!), Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba is a loving portrait of Mother Cuba by Mother Russia that juxtaposes the harsh realities of life during the Batista era with the perceived triumphs of the then-recent Castro revolution. Composed in four episodes, the film crisscrosses the country from urban slums to lush countryside, embellishing its predictable messages with Sergei Urusevsky’s striking widescreen black-and-white cinematography and an equally emphatic Afro-Cuban score. The result is an engaging time capsule of the first flush of life after the revolution, which marks the reemergence of a potent new form of radical film practice born of that earlier revolution in Russia.

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