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The Moving Image: Film and Visual Representation

September 27 (Wednesday) 7 pm
Live piano accompaniment by Martin Marks

Metropolis (Das Schicksal einer Menscheit im Jahre 2000)

Directed by Fritz Lang
Germany 1926, 35mm, b/w, silent, 130 min.
With Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich

The greatest science-fiction film of the silent cinema, Metropolis was made by Lang at Berlin’s UFA studio with an unprecedented budget for its huge sets, inspired by the New York skyline. Set in the twenty-first century, the story is derived partly from medieval legends, partly from the 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 the dramatic laboratory creation of the robot-woman.

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October 11 (Wednesday) 7 pm


Directed by F.W. Murnau
US 1927, 35mm, b/w, 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, shot silent but released with a musical track, was based on a melodramatic German novel. 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—connected by the protagonists’ celebrated streetcar journey through the different visual landscapes.

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October 18 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Voyage to Italy (Viaggio in Italia)

Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Italy 1953, 16mm, b/w, 100 min.
With Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders

Tensions pile up in Rossellini’s deeply moving and beautifully nuanced story of a frustrated and bored British couple (Bergman and Sanders) who struggle to keep their marriage alive. The film resembles a diary as it meditates on the problems of the jaded communication between the spouses on their visit to Naples. As Rossellini has stated, "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."

October 25 (Wednesday) 7 pm


Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Italy 1960, 35mm, b/w, 145 min.
With Monica Vitti, Gabriele Ferzetti, Lea Massari
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 once described as "a detective story back to front," displays the director’s fascination with landscape, geometry, and architectural forms as means of expressing the troubled state of Italy’s postwar middle class.

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