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March 6 (Tuesday) 7 pm

Stromboli

Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Italy 1949, 35mm, b/w, 107 min.
With Ingrid Bergman, Mario Vitale, Renzo Cesana
Italian with English subtitles

The first of five Rossellini films to star Ingrid Bergman, Stromboli was created, according to its director, to illustrate that "one of the toughest lessons from [World War II] is the danger of aggressive egotism." The film paints a desolate portrait of a spoiled wartime Baltic refugee named Karin (Bergman). As a means of escape, she marries a poor fisherman, only to discover that he makes his home on the slope of an active volcano. Karin’s constant haughtiness and inability to acquiesce lead her to travel across the unstable island alone. Volcanic smoke and steam constantly reshape what the audience sees, transforming the film—and ultimately Karin—at every turn. Rossellini’s lush ending, with its subtly choreographed movements and sunlit compositions, reveals Karin’s final epiphany about herself and her future.

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March 7 (Wednesday) 7 pm

The Eclipse (L'Eclisse)

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
France/Italy 1962, 35mm, b/w, 123 min.
With Monica Vitti, Alain Delon, Francisco Rabal
Italian with English subtitles

In this final installment of the trilogy that began with L’Avventura and La Notte, Antonioni again presents a middle-class couple in crisis, here against the closely observed background of the urban environment. After an initial breakup with her lover, Vittoria (Vitti) drifts into the classic Antonioni condition, wandering aimlessly through an alienating milieu. In what is perhaps his most compelling deployment of the architectural setting, Antonioni displays an unparalleled visual style, using spatial perspective and graphic delineation to create his vision of the modern world. In the film’s famous final sequence, the narrative space of the story is revisited in the absence of its characters, suggesting perhaps, as George Sadoul has noted, the nature of solitude as man’s accustomed state.

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March 13 (Tuesday) 7 pm
March 14 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Rear Window

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
US 1954, 35mm, color, 112 min.
With James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter

An intriguing study of obsession, Rear Window tells the story of L. B. "Jeff" Jefferies (Stewart), a temporarily wheelchair-bound photographer who uses his convalescent time to spy on the tenants of other apartments on his block through his own "rear window." Amid a growing suspicion that one of his neighbors has committed murder, he enlists his girlfriend (Kelly) and maid (Ritter) to gather evidence, with near-tragic results. Hitchcock’s use of camera angles, shot predominantly from Jefferies’s apartment window, draws viewers into the tantalizing world of voyeurism.


March 20 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Earrings of Madame De...

Directed by Max Ophüls
France/Italy 1953, 35mm, b/w, 105 min.
With Charles Boyer, Danielle Darrieux, Vittorio De Sica
French with English subtitles

With his characteristic use of long tracking shots that transcend space and his ability to coax sensitive perfor-mances from even nonactors, Max Ophüls displayed a peerless directorial talent. Renowned film critic Andrew Sarris has described Ophüls’s The Earrings of Madame de . . . as "the most perfect film ever made." The story follows the movement of a pair of diamond earrings that a debt-laden society woman (Darrieux) pawns back to the jeweler who made them. Originally commissioned by her husband (Boyer) and given to her the day after her wedding, the earrings pass through a series of hands only to wind up back in the woman’s possession.

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March 21 (Wednesday) 7 pm

The Smiling Madame Deudet (La Souriante Madame Beudet)

Directed by Germaine Dulac
France 1922, 16mm, b/w, silent, 32 min.
With Alexandre Arquillière, Germaine Dermoz, Madeleine Guitty

Employing techniques of early French impressionistic style, Germaine Dulac’s The Smiling Madame Beudet is often viewed as an early feminist film. Romantic Madame Beudet is married to a dull, insensitive oaf. She dreams of taking lovers and of killing the husband off, but her plans to do him in are ironically twisted in the end.

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March 21 (Wednesday) 7 pm with "The Smiling Madame Beudet"

Meshes of the Afternoon

Directed by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid
US 1943, 35mm, b/w, 18 min.
With Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid

Russian-born poet and dancer Maya Deren began her work in film with a modest, black-and-white psychodrama shot by her husband, Czech documentary maker Alexander Hammid. Her Meshes of the Afternoon, a suicidal tale about a young woman (played by Deren), showed the marked influence of Surrealism, and in particular of Jean Cocteau’s early films, in its symbol-laden, dreamlike portrayal of sexual anxiety.

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March 21 (Wednesday) 7 pm with "The Smiling Madame Beudet"

Saute Ma Ville

Directed by Chantal Akerman
Belgium 1968, 35mm b/w, 11 min.
With Chantal Akerman
French with English subtitles

Written and directed when Chantal Akerman was a mere eighteen years old, Saute Ma Ville is the tragicomic story of a young woman (played by Akerman) who seals herself in the kitchen, eats some pasta, shines her shoes, lights the gas––and blows up the town.

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April 3 (Tuesday) 7 pm
April 4 (Wednesday) 7 pm

The Pillow Book

Directed by Peter Greenaway
France/UK/Netherlands 1996, 35mm, b/w and color, 126 min.
With Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor
Cantonese, English, Japanese, and Mandarin with English subtitles

The controversial British filmmaker and artist Peter Greenaway deploys a broad arsenal of formal effects (varying screen widths, multiple imagery, textual inscription) to construct this complex story of a beautiful fashion model-turned-writer, who is obsessed with calligraphy and the flesh. Based on the classic tenth-century Japanese text by Sei Shonagon of the same title, radically transposed by Greenaway to modern day Japan and the information age, The Pillow Book melds a timeless erotics and a fascination with language that is at once erudite and libidinal into a dreamlike, startlingly beautiful, and sometimes shocking narrative.

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April 10 (Tuesday) 7 pm
April 11 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Rashomon

Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Japan 1950, 35mm, b/w, 88 min.
With Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo
Japanese with English subtitles

One of the first Japanese films to receive worldwide acclaim, Rashomon is a twelfth-century tale of three men taking shelter under Rashomon gate. A woodcutter and a priest relate to a third man two conflicting stories concerning a bandit (Mifune) who has attacked a couple wandering through the woods. When the husband is found dead and the authorities intervene, the bandit, the wife, the husband (through a medium), and the woodcutter all present different, irreconcilable versions of events. The most striking aspect of the film remains its thematic focus on the complex and unstable nature of the truth.

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Live Piano Accompaniment Composed and Performed by Yakov Gubanov
April 17 (Tuesday) 7 pm

Bed and Sofa (Tretya Meshchanskaya)

Directed by Abram Room
USSR 1927, 35mm, b/w, silent, 95 min.
With Nikolai Batalov, Vladmir Fogel, Lyudmila Semyonova

Bed And Sofa is a simple story of a domestic ménage à trois—simple, that is, until the woman discovers she is pregnant. While the two men try to decide what to do, she announces that she has other ideas regarding her future. Once believed lost, the film was rediscovered during the 1970s and has since become regarded as a little Russian masterpiece of the silent era. Considering its subject matter, Bed And Sofa is unusually frank for its era—or any era—thanks to the matter-of-fact storytelling talents of director Abram Room. The film also displays extraordinary fluidity of camera work in a confined set, and natural performances from the cast.

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April 18 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt)

Directed by Tom Tykwer
Germany 1998, 35mm, color, 80 min.
With Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup
German with English subtitles

A critical and popular success at home and abroad, Tykwer’s inventive Run Lola Run sets a frenetic pace (fueled by the techno-score of Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil) as it simultaneously enacts three resolutions to its thriller plot line. Small-time gang courier Manni has misplaced 100,000 DM in a bag and has twenty minutes to find or replace it. Girlfriend Lola comes to his aid, racing through the streets of Berlin as split-second decisions become life altering. For Tykwer, the film is about romance and the "sheer, unadorned pleasure of speed."

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April 24 (Tuesday) 7 pm

A Walk Through H

Directed by Peter Greenaway
UK 1978, 16mm, color, 42 min.

Alternately titled The Re-incarnation of an Ornithologist, this eccentric film is based on an ornithological treatise by Greenaway’s fictive alter-ego, Tulse Luper, that describes a mystical journey through the land of H. As Time Out’s Tony Rayns has noted: "you could call it a cross between a vintage Borges ‘fiction’ and a Disney True Life Adventure, but that wouldn’t get close to its humor or the compulsiveness of its Michael Nyman score."

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April 25 (Wednesday) 7 pm

The Matrix

Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski
US 1999, 35mm, color, 136 min.
With Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

One of the top grossing films of 1999, Andy and Larry Wachowski’s The Matrix set a new benchmark in movie special effects. Blending classic science-fiction stories such as Alien, Soylent Green, and The Terminator with Chinese martial arts films, Japanese animation, and American comic art, and adding a touch of mysticism to the mix, the Wachowskis created an unparalleled vision of a future that seems very like our own present—with a surreal twist.

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