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Theater into Film
Galileo Woyzeck

Presented in collaboration with the American Repertory Theater, this ongoing series celebrates the rich history of intersection between cinema and theater by complementing the A.R.T.’s current season with screenings of significant film adaptations of related theatrical works.

Introduced by T. Jefferson Kline, Boston University
March 4 (Sunday) 7 pm


Directed By Joseph Losey
UK 1973, 35mm, color, 145 min.
With Topol, Edward Fox, John Gielgud

Having directed Charles Laughton in the 1947 world premiere of Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo, filmmaker Joseph Losey was the logical choice to direct the screen adaptation of the play for Ely Landau’s American Film Theatre production. Losey, who earned a graduate degree in English literature from Harvard, also shared with the German playwright the disdain of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which had prompted Brecht’s hasty return to Germany and Losey’s blacklisting in Hollywood. All of this gives a certain personal edge to the story of the seventeenth-century Italian astronomer, whose theories ran contrary to the edicts of the Catholic Church and who consequently was forced to renounce his ideas about planetary movement—ideas to which he nonetheless held fast until the end of his days, certain that time would vindicate him.

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Director János Szász in Person
March 11 (Sunday) 7 pm


Directed by János Szász
Hungary 1994, 35mm, b/w, 93 min.
With Lajos Kovács, Diana Vacaru, Alexandr Porohovschikov
Hungarian with English subtitles

In this striking monochromatic version of Georg Büchner’s seminal play about a man whose unbearable existence leads to madness and murder, film and theater director János Szász updates the drama, shifting Büchner’s play to contemporary Budapest, where Woyzeck works as a railway signalman in a wretched rail yard. Lajos Kovács gives a compelling performance as the hapless, humiliated Woyzeck, who finally cracks under the weight of a cruel boss and the discovery of his wife’s infidelity. Woyzeck was selected as the winner of the coveted European Film Award (the Felix) in 1994 for the Best European Young Film.

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