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Premieres


September 15 (Friday) 7 pm
September 17 (Sunday) 9:15 pm
September 19 (Tuesday) 7 pm

Ruins

Directed by Jesse Lerner
US 1999, 16mm, b/w, 78 min.
With Brigido Lara, Maria Elena Gaitan, Sylvanus G. Morley

In both his films and curatorial efforts (like the series "Mexperimental Cinema," presented at the HFA in January), Los Angeles–based media artist Jesse Lerner has probed the hybridity of Mexican culture. In this self-described "fake documentary" Lerner mixes a heterogeneous array of materials, including animated sequences, to challenge the historical reading of ruins in Mexico. Using appropriated sounds, fabricated artifacts, and constructed imagery, he comically commingles fake and real to explore the nature of archaeological research, the ascription of authenticity to art objects, and the creation of that fiction we call history. The result of his counter-documentary strategies, according to Los Angeles Weekly critic Holly Willis, "is the creation of a fantastic, spiraling vertigo of fact and fiction that unsettles the very notion of historical documents and of documentary filmmaking itself." As the title suggests, Ruins leaves both its subject and assumptions about the truth of recorded sounds and images in a state of permanent disrepair.

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September 15 (Friday) 9 pm
September 16 (Saturday) 9 pm
September 17 (Sunday) 7 pm

Farewell, Home Sweet Home (Adieu, plancher des vaches)

Directed by Otar Iosseliani
France 1999, 35mm, color, 118 min.
With Nico Tarielashivili, Lily Lavina, Philippe Bas

Farewell, Home Sweet Home presents a series of humorous sketches—a poetic association of bizarre incidents and hilariously weird events—perfectly prescribed and assembled by Georgian director Otar Iosseliani. Reminiscent of the films of Jacques Tati or the late Buñuel, Farewell, Home Sweet Home (in French, "good-bye, cow floor," a phrase used by nineteenth-century sailors as they happily bade farewell to land) was the recent winner of France’s prestigious Louis Delluc Prize. Set in and around contemporary Paris, the film links several different stories with tracking shots of breathtaking beauty. In a suburban chateau, a lovable souse (played by Iosseliani himself) fools around with his electric train set while his wife, a high-powered businesswoman, entertains her society friends with a gigantic stork perched on her shoulder. Meanwhile, the couple’s teenage son sneaks away from home, joins a gang of petty thieves, and befriends a street person with a taste for grand cru wines. As the pieces of this cinematic puzzle slowly coalesce, the seemingly disparate narrative threads take on new meaning: reality is slowly left behind, like the sailors’ receding shoreline, while a sharp sense of class division reasserts itself in a melancholic coda.

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Halloween Special!
October 31 (Tuesday) 9 pm

The American Nightmare

Directed by Adam Simon
England 2000, video, color, 73 min.
With George Romero, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg

This provocative new documentary passionately proposes that American horror films of the seventies—low-budget, independent, produced completely outside of the mainstream—were, in fact, the works of cinema art that best captured the fears and desires of America in one of its most dramatic decades. Through film excerpts and extensive interviews with director George Romero, Night of the Living Dead is appreciated for brilliantly capturing anxieties over race in America. The utlra-violence of Wes Craven’s early work is juxtaposed with the violence of Vietnam, while David Cronenberg’s films are viewed in the context of the sexual revolution. Harvard graduate Adam Simon and British producer Colin McCabe allow these articulate auteurs to speak about their chosen genre and complement their insights with horrifically compelling excerpts from their bodies of work.

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