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Séance Screenings

Bringing classic and neglected films back to light and life!

Director Morley Markson in Person
March 18 (Sunday) 7 pm

The Tragic Diary of Zero the Fool

Directed by Morley Markson
Canada 1970, 16mm, b/w, 72 min.
With Gerald S. Cogan, Penelope Schafer, Daniel Grigg

Winner of the Grand Prize at the 1970 Ann Arbor Film Festival, Canadian director Morley Markson’s strikingly original first feature, The Tragic Diary of Zero the Fool, is one of the "lost" gems from a period in which narrative and formal experiments in film were at their height. Three characters in search of love, self-expression, and the muse find themselves trapped inside the dramatic process of a movie of their own making. Penelope, her lover, and her Fool begin by playing roles based on characters of the Tarot, but as the film unfolds the actors perform their own characters, and the line between acting and reality becomes blurred. Ultimately, differentiation becomes impossible: all is real and all an act as everything in this tragic diary dissolves into insubstantiality.

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Director Morley Markson in person
March 18 (Sunday) 9 pm

Breathing Together: Revolution of the Electric Family

Directed by Morley Markson
Canada 1971, 16mm, b/w, 84 min.
With Allen Ginsberg, R. Buckminster Fuller, Abbie Hoffman

In his ambitious Breathing Together, Markson links together American countercultural heroes, visionaries, artists, and revolutionaries in a collagist synthesis, revealing the soul and essence of a new culture in confrontation with the old. Hailed by film critic and historian Amos Vogel as "probably the most important document produced anywhere on the American counterculture of the late Sixties," the film pursues the connecting thread of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial and then moves outward into dozens of candid portraits of such notables as Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Allen Ginsberg, John Lennon, Timothy Leary, Buckminster Fuller, Claes Oldenberg, William Kunstler, Fred Hampton, and thousands of students.

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April 11 (Wednesday) 8:30 pm


Directed by Andrew Niccol
US 1997, 35mm, color, 101 min.
With Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law

Are human beings born or made?

This intriguing question is the central premise of Gattaca, a tale of the near future that marked the impressive directorial debut of New Zealand–born director Andrew Niccol. Set in the twenty-first century, Gattaca tackles the concept of genetic manipulation in a future where society predetermines the life of every individual through razor-sharp DNA analysis. This unnervingly believable premise frames the story of a "love child" (Ethan Hawke) who refuses to accept the destiny his genes and society have determined for him. Subtle, disturbing and prophetic, Gattaca forces its audience to confront the Pandora’s box of genetic technology that awaits us in the future.

This screening is organized by the Harvard Health Caucus at the Harvard Medical School, an interdisciplinary health-policy think tank, as part of its Spring 2001 series "Pandora’s Box? The Social Implications of the Human Genome Project." Support is provided by the Greenwall Foundation, United States Department of Energy, the Provost Fund for Student Collaboration, and the Student Council at the Harvard Medical School.

Live Piano Accompaniment Composed and Performed by Yakov Gubanov
April 1 (Sunday) 7 pm
April 4 (Wednesday) 9 pm

The Bond

Directed by Charles Chaplin
US 1918, 35mm, b/w, 7 min.
With Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance,Syd Chaplin

Made by Chaplin at the height of World War I and distributed free throughout the country, The Bond is a rarely screened short from the HFA vaults. The film features Chaplin and friends conveying that while bonds of friendship, love, and marriage are inspiring, the most important bonds of all are Liberty Bonds, which will knock out the Kaiser.

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April 1 (Sunday) 7 pm with "The Bond"
April 4 (Wednesday) 9 pm with "The Bond"

Spite Marriage

Directed by Edward Sedgwick and Buster Keaton
US 1929, 35mm, b/w, silent, 80 min.
With Buster Keaton, Dorothy Sebastian, Edward Earle

In his undeservedly neglected final silent film, Buster Keaton created comedy sequences that rival—and in some ways surpass—his best work in The General. Buster plays Elmer, a pants presser in love with stage star Trilby Drew, who in turn loves leading man Lionel Benmore. When Lionel double-crosses Trilby, she lashes out by marrying the first available and seemingly rich man she can find, who turns out to be none other than Elmer in borrowed clothing. Originally released when sound films were beginning to flood the market, and rarely screened today, Spite Marriage is Buster Keaton’s final masterpiece.

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