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Theater into Film: Antigone/Rites of Passion & Oedipus Rex

This new series, presented in collaboration with the American Repertory Theater here at Harvard, celebrates the rich history of intersection between film and theater by complementing the A.R.T.’s current season with a series of screenings of significant film adaptations of related theatrical works. Each program will be followed by a discussion with an invited scholar, critic, or artist. We wish to acknowledge the creative contributions of Robert Brustein, Rob Orchard, Gideon Lester, and Arthur Holmberg of the A.R.T.


December 10 (Sunday) 7 pm

Antigone/Rites of Passion

Directed by Amy Greenfield
US 1991, 35mm, color, 85 min.
With Amy Greenfield, Bertram Ross, Janet Eilber

Dancer-choreographer-filmmaker Amy Greenfield addresses Sophocles’ tragedy of family honor, guilt, and revenge in a wholly novel adaptation the Los Angeles Times has called "dazzling, demanding, bold [and] triumphantly ambitious." Playing Antigone, Greenfield acts alongside the great modern dancer and partner of Martha Graham, Bertram Ross. Stripping the plot line to essentials, Greenfield employs her personal film-dance vocabulary to create a cinematic and strongly feminist interpretation of the Antigone drama, transforming it into an original fusion of movement and visual acting set against stunning natural and architectural locations. By attempting "to bring the life behind the words onto the screen," Greenfield mines new meanings from the story of Oedipus’ daughter. The film’s spare voice-over is dynamically complemented by the work of contemporary composers Glenn Branca, Diamanda Galas, Paul Lemos, Elliot Sharp, and David Van Tieghem.

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December 17 (Sunday) 7 pm

Oedipus Rex (Edipo Re)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Italy 1967, 35mm, color, 104 min.
With Franco Citti, Silvana Mangano, Julian Beck
Italian with English subtitles

Translated by the director himself from Sophocles’ play, supplemented with a prologue and epilogue and set in modern times, Pasolini’s dreamlike version of Oedipus Rex tells the classic story of a young man who unwittingly kills his father and marries his mother, despite warning. "The relationship of hatred and love between father and son is what produces history," wrote Pasolini, and it is clear that the story has autobiographical significance for the director (made explicit in the prologue, when the army-officer father expresses jealousy of his own baby). Filmed in and around a fifteenth-century adobe city in the Moroccan desert, Pasolini’s adaptation enhances the timelessness of the story with a musical track that mixes Roman songs, ancient Japanese melodies, Mozart, and works by Pasolini himself.

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