Each month, the Harvard Film Archive invites members of the community to select a favorite film from its holdings (or, on occasion, from the holdings of a sister archive) and to introduce the work to the public. This season, we are pleased to present selections by Joshua Rubenstein and Karen C. C. Dalton.
May 31 (Wednesday) 7 pm
HFA Archival Print
Introduced by Joshua Rubenstein
With Live Piano Accompaniment
by Martin Marks
An adaptation of the novel by the Russian writer Ilya Ehrenburg, this film by the great German master G. W. Pabst (Pandoras Box, Joyless Street) relates the story of Jeannes flight from civil war in the Crimea, where her Bolshevik lover has assassinated her diplomat father, and her relocation to a new life in a very modern Paris, full of corruptions and betrayals. As always, Pabst is more concerned with psychological contexts and scrupulously recreated settingsthat is, in the physical and social worlds in which people actually movethan in the melodramatic plot. The films rich visual articulation is dedicated to the expression of mood, which has been called perfect in its tension and understanding.
Joshua Rubenstein is an Associate of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard, Northeast Regional Director of Amnesty International, and author of Tangled Loyalties: The Life and Times of Ilya Ehrenburg (University of Alabama Press, 1999).
June 14 (Wednesday) 7 pm
Introduced by Karen C. C. Dalton
Perhaps the best of the six features the émigré American performer Josephine Baker made, Princess Tam Tam is an exotic Pygmalion story set out as a musical comedy. A French author (Préjean) goes to North Africa to write a novel but becomes distractedthen entrancedby a native girl whom he transforms into a princess. Shot partly on location in Tunisia, Princess Tam Tam provides a vehicle for Bakers comedic charms as well as her erotic and evocative talents. The film was written by the entertainers husband at the time, Pepito Abatino.
Karen C. C. Dalton is Assistant Director of the W. E. B. Dubois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard and co-author of Josephine Baker and La Revue Nègre: Le Tumulte Noir in Paris, 1927 (Harry N. Abrams, 1998).