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Original Piano Score by Gottfried Huppertz
Arranged and Performed by Martin Marks
September 18 (Tuesday) 7pm
September 19 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Metropolis (Das Schicksal einer Menscheit im Jahre 2000)

Directed by Fritz Lang
Germany 1926, 35mm, b/w, silent, 130 min.
With Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich

The greatest science-fiction film of the silent cinema, Metropolis was made by Lang at Berlin’s UFA studio with an unprecedented budget for its huge sets, inspired by the New York skyline. Set in the twenty-first century, the story is derived partly from medieval legends, partly from the dystopic vision of a future of intensified conflict between capital and labor. Photographed in Expressionist style and designed to display powerful geometric symmetries, many of the film’s sequences are unforgettable, especially the dramatic laboratory creation of the robot-woman.

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Live Piano Accompaniment Composed and Performed by Yakov Gubanov
October 2 (Tuesday) 7 pm
October 3 (Wednesday) 7 pm


Directed by F. W. Murnau
US 1927, 35mm, b/w, 100 min.
With George O’Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston

The great German director Murnau, known especially for his use of moving camera shots to explore three-dimensional space, arrived in Hollywood as sound films were coming into vogue. His first American film, shot silent but released with a musical track, was based on a melodramatic German novel. Murnau, along with renowned cameramen Karl Struss and Charles Rosher, transformed the material by merging the psychological realism of the domestic drama with a lyrical depiction of both the quiet country village and the bustling city—connected by the protagonists’ celebrated streetcar journey through the different visual landscapes.

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October 16 (Tuesday) 7 pm

La Notte

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Italy/France 1961, 35mm, b/w, 122 min.
With Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau, Monica Vitti
Italian with English subtitles

The second film of Antonioni’s celebrated trilogy (initiated by L’Avventura and concluding with L’Eclisse) is a key work of modernist cinema. Exploring the alienation of the Milanese bourgeoisie within the landscape of the city and the lavish villas of its periphery, La Notte follows a couple—an exhausted novelist coasting on his reputation (Mastroianni) and his disenchanted wife (Moreau)—from an afternoon visit to a dying friend in a hospital, through a book-launching party at the home of an industrialist, to the couple’s separate nocturnal forays.

October 23 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Naked City

Directed by Jules Dassin
US 1948, 35mm, b/w, 96 min.
With Barry Fitzgerald, Don Taylor, Howard Duff

This highly influential neorealist thriller, shot on location in New York’s teeming streets, tells an ordinary murder tale through the accumulation of procedural police details. But its  real mission was to impart an authentic impression of the city and its everyday life through the use of hidden cameras and gritty, quasi-documentary photography, which earned an Oscar for cinematographer William Daniels. The narrator’s final words have become a widely quoted urban cliché: “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”

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October 30 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Fountainhead

Directed by King Vidor 
US 1949, 35mm, b/w, 114 min. 
With Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal, Raymond Massey 

This adaptation of the epic novel by Ayn Rand, whose controversial “objectivist” philosophy articulated a neo-Nietzschian vision of free enterprise, relates the compelling story of an aspiring architect (Cooper) who refuses to compromise his purist agenda. Vidor's stylized interpretation transforms the skyscrapers and interiors of New York into an abstract backdrop for the sexual tensions and ideological conflicts of this highly charged drama.

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Live Piano Accompaniment Composed and Performed by Yakov Gubanov
October 9 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Man with the Movie Camer (Chelovek s kinoapparotom)

Directed by Dziga Vertov
USSR 1929, 35 mm, b/w, silent, 80 min.

Truly an experimental documentary, Dziga Vertov's masterpiece exemplifies the montage aesthetic of the Soviet avant-garde of the 1920s through its kinetic juxtaposition of shots and sped-up and slowed down motion. Using his own concept of the "kino eye"--the cinema eye that illuminates the real world as not ordinarily seen--Vertov creates a city symphony depicting a day in the life of an urban metropolis.

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