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Séance Screenings

May 23 (Wednesday) 8 pm
May 24 (Thursday) 8 pm

Mournful Indifference (Skorbnoye beschuvstviye)

Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov
USSR 1987, 35mm, color, 110 min.
With Ramaz Chkhikvadze, Alla Osipenko, Irina Sokolova
Russian with English subtitles

This early work by one of the leading figures of contemporary Russian cinema (and protégé of legendary director Andrei Tarkovsky) is a highly imaginative adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House, a play that invokes the calamitous events of World War I as an oblique backdrop to its biting satire of the leisure class. Incorporating documentary footage from the Second World War and readings from Shaw’s diaries and letters, Sokurov focuses on the senselessness of war and the consequences of an individualist ideology. These measures effectively distance the characters of Shaw’s house from the monumental social changes occurring all around them. For those who saw Mournful Indifference on video in February, we are pleased to offer this reprise screening of a pristine 35mm print with English subtitles.

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June 5 (Tuesday) 7 pm

Tangos: The Exile of Gardel (Tangos: El Exilio De Gardel)

Directed by Fernando Solanas
France/Argentina 1986, 35mm, color, 119 min.
With Marie Laforêt, Miguel Ángel Solá, Phillippe Léotard
French and Spanish with English subtitles

Fernando Solanas’s passionate examination of exile is conveyed through the song and dance of Argentina’s native tango music. Focusing on a group of Argentinian performers and intellectuals in Paris, forced to leave their homeland after the 1976 military coup, Tangos: The Exile of Gardel follows the exiles’ ten-year effort to stage a musical revue called “Tango-dy,” which mixes equal parts of comedy and tragedy and is based on the tangos of legendary singer Carlos Gardel. Solanas manages to capture the pain, displacement, and longing the exiles endure as they are separated from family and friends and caught between two worlds. Yet his film is never grim; rather it is playful, and his sense of the absurd is almost surreal. What makes Tangos truly magical, though, is its music, scored and performed by tango master Astor Piazzolla.

This screening is co-sponsored by the Tango Society of Boston in conjunction with the 5th annivarsary of TANGO BY MOONLIGHT, which takes place on the Weeks Footbridge over the Charles River-just a short walk from the Archive.  Inspired by a showing of Tangos, the Exile of Gardel here at the HFA in 1997 depicting a tango danced on a bridge over the Seine in Paris, for the past five years during warm, full moon nights, free tango dances are held on the footbridge in Cambridge.  Weather permitting TANGO BY MOONLIGHT's Fifth season begins following tonight's screening.

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