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August 2 - 10, 2002

Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive (Actors U-Z)

The Harvard Film Archive pays homage to the art-house programs of a bygone era by assembling a summer season of double-feature screenings drawn from its extensive collection of 7,000 prints. This year, our alphabetical arrangement shifts from film directors to film actors: incomparable legends of the silent cinema and contemporary screen icons, the actresses and leading men of Hollywood and their international counterparts, mainstream stars and independent talents. Included are such electrifying performers as the legendary German actor Emil Jannings; British legends John Gielgud, Alec Guiness, and Lawrence Olivier; and a host of leading ladies from Jean Arthur to Barbara Stanwyck, Julie Christie to Elizabeth Taylor. Some of the film pairings allow us to bring together performers from distinct traditions; others contrast films from the same year or trace the evolution of acting styles. As usual, we have included celebrated art films (Wild Strawberries, Red Desert), masterpieces of silent cinema (The Last Laugh and The Passion of Joan of Arc), and classic comedies (Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Philadelphia Story). 

We again encourage your active participation by offering a single admission fee that provides entry to all the features for a given evening. 

Actors A to Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive is supported in part by the Harvard Extension School and the Summer School. Students 18 and under pay only $3.

August 2 (Friday) 7 pm
August 4 (Sunday) 7 pm

Mary Ure: Sons and Lovers

Directed by Jack Cardiff
UK 1960, 35mm, b/w, 103 min.
With Dean Stockwell, Trevor Howard

Set against the background of a grimy village near Nottingham, this story of a coal-miner’s son with promising artistic talents unfolds with sensitivity and intelligence in Jack Cardiff’s adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s semi-autobiographical novel. Caught up in his mother’s possessiveness and his father’s violent bouts, Paul Morel (Stockwell) sacrifices his chance to study art in London and the local girl he loves, and eventually becomes involved with a woman separated from her husband. Scottish actress Mary Ure (Look Back in Anger, The Luck of Ginger Coffee) gives a fine performance as the mistress, one of many in this powerfully acted film.

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August 2 (Friday) 9 pm
August 4 (Sunday) 9 pm

Liv Ullmann: Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop)

Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Sweden 1972, 35mm, color, 91 min.
With Harriet Andersson, Ingrid Thulin
Swedish with English subtitles

Bergman’s favorite among all his films, Cries and Whispers presents an upper-class Victorian family coping with the final illness and death of a sister (Andersson). Through flashbacks, her two siblings emerge as callous, guilt-ridden, and deceitful women who eventually recoil from their dying sister’s last embrace. Ultimate Bergman actress (and now director in her own right) Ullmann plays the dual role of sister Maria and the mother in this abstract contemplation on the border between life and death.

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August 5 (Monday) 7 pm
August 7 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Monica Vitti: The Red Desert (Il deserto rosso)

Directed by Michelango Antonioni
Italy 1964, 35mm, color, 116 min.
With Richard Harris, Carlo Chianetti
Italian with English subtitles

Monica Vitti is the traumatized heroine who roams the industrial landscape of Ravenna in search of escape from her engineer husband and her own ennui. Michelangelo Antonioni’s first color film is prescient in its pairing of existential and ecological concerns, exposing the psychic costs of Italy’s economic miracle in the scarred urban environment. At once a psychological drama and an architectural portrait, the film remains a classic of Italian post-neorealist cinema.

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August 5 (Monday) 7 pm
August 7 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Jon Voight: The Revolutionary

Directed by Paul Williams
US 1970, 35mm, color, 101 min.
With Jennifer Salt, Seymour Cassel

Adapted from the novel by Hans Koningsberger, this story of a youth who seeks social change but is unsure how to bring it about is set in a seedy and deliberately anonymous London in the context of late-60s street politics. Made the year following his breakthrough role as Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy, Jon Voight gives a sympathetic performance as the aspiring revolutionary (known only as “A”) who is drawn to increasingly radical means. The film also features Robert Duvall as the leader of a group of union activists and Seymour Cassel as a hip, fast-talking militant.

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August 6 (Tuesday) 7 pm
August 8 (Thursday) 7 pm

Joanne Woodward: Rachel, Rachel

Directed by Paul Newman
US 1968, 35mm, color, 101 min.
With James Olson, Estelle Parsons

While other directors were impressing with their flash and technique in the 1960s, actor Paul Newman chose to make a small, understated, and very sensitive film for his directorial debut. Joanne Woodward delivers a restrained and poignant portrayal of a lonely, sexually inhibited schoolteacher who struggles with the frustration of caring for her widowed mother in a small Connecticut town as she tries to emerge from her shell.

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August 6 (Tuesday) 9 pm
August 8 (Thursday) 9 pm

Emily Watson: Breaking the Waves

Directed by Lars von Trier
Denmark 1996, 35mm, color, 159 min.
With Stellan Skarsgard, Katrin Cartlidge

In a remote northern Scottish village in the early 1970s, Bess (Watson), a young and trusting girl who is “not quite right in the head,” meets resistance from her close-knit community for her decision to marry a North-Sea oil-rig worker. A heart-wrenching study of faith, innocence, cruelty, and the crushing mores of religion, Breaking the Waves received the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and launched the career of Emily Watson, who delivers an extraordinary debut performance.

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August 9 (Friday) 7 pm

Susannah York: Images

Directed by Robert Altman
US/Ireland 1972, 35mm, color, 101 min.
With René Auberjonois, Hugh Millais

One of maverick director Robert Altman’s most personal and experimental films, and a favorite of his still, Images centers on a woman who experiences erotic and violent delusions when left mostly alone in her husband’s cottage in Ireland. Altman’s style, at once wild and carefully controlled, delivers ambiguity to the story as it probes the psyche, history, and temperament of this complicated woman, played with depth by Susannah York.

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August 9 (Friday) 9 pm

Jean Yanne: This Man Must Die (Que la bête meure)

Directed by Claude Chabrol
France 1969, 35mm, color, 110 min.
With Michel Duchaussoy, Caroline Cellier
French with English subtitles

The young and only son of widower Charles Thénier (Duchaussoy) is killed by a hit-and-run driver whom the police are unable to trace. Resolving to find and kill the killer, Charles becomes involved with a woman whose brother-in-law (Yanne) he believes may be the object of his pursuit. One of director Chabrol’s great Hitchcockian thrillers, This Man Must Die is a complex and finely shaded diagnosis of the subtle shifts and contradictions in the balance of human motives and behavior. Yanne’s notable performance is illuminated by the film’s expressive camerawork and its effective use of a song by Brahms.

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August 10 (Saturday) 7 pm

Mai Zetterling: The Witches

Directed by Nicolas Roeg
UK 1990, 35mm, color, 91 min.
With Anjelica Huston, Jason Fisher

This modern fairy tale, based on the book by Roald Dahl, is one of the last works from Muppet-master Jim Henson, who served as the film’s executive producer. While on vacation at a seaside resort, a young boy and his Norwegian grandmother (Zetterling, in a rich and comic performance that gives the film its emotional center) discover that their hotel is hosting a convention of all the witches in England. They have been summoned there by Mrs. Ernst (Huston) to determine how to capture the children of Britain. Stylishly directed by Nicolas Roeg, The Witches weaves many classic childhood fears into its entertaining—and genuinely eerie—action.

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August 10 (Saturday) 8:45 pm

Mai Zetterling: Torment (Hets)

Directed by Alf Sjöberg
Sweden 1944, 35mm, b/w, 101 min.
With Stig Jarrel, Alf Kjellin
Swedish with English subtitles

Ingmar Bergman made his screenwriting debut with this tale of sex, passion, and (possibly) murder. The disturbing story of a young student, his sadistic teacher, and the girl they both love, Torment is a beautifully observed and incisive psychological drama, structured as a bleak, sordid thriller. One of the most popular Swedish films of its time, it brought international recognition to actress Mai Zetterling, whose role as the young prostitute Berthe she always regarded as her best.

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