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January 5 – February 19

Directors in Focus
Abroad in the World: The Art of Sandra Kogut

Interweaving elements of documentary and fiction, of the experimental and the essayistic, and of the personal and the collective, Sandra Kogut has emerged as one of the most distinctive cultural filmmakers at work today. Her films are by turns whimsical, lyrical, and finely ironic—lighthearted and playful, yet also momentous and serious. A Brazilian of Hungarian descent who now resides in Paris, Kogut, with seeming effortlessness, traverses and transgresses boundaries of personal, cultural, and national identity in works that not only explore the construction of multiple affiliations but expand our conception of multiplicity itself. Infused with an elusive tenderness toward their subjects - a sentiment altogether rare in contemporary nonfiction - Kogut's frames become hybrid spaces that wittily illuminate the manifold relationships between individuals and their images.

This series is co-presented with The Film Study Center at Harvard University. The opening night screening and discussion is co-sponsored by the Boston Jewish Film Festival.


April 29 (Tuesday) 7 pm
Director Sandra Kogut in Person

A Hungarian Passport (Um Passaporte Hungaro)

Directed by Sandra Kogut
Brazil/France/Belgium/Hungary 2001, 35mm, color, 72 min.
Portuguese, French, and Hungarian with English subtitles

Speaking over the telephone with the Hungarian consulate, Brazilian filmmaker Sandra Kogut asks, "Can someone who has a Hungarian grandfather obtain a Hungarian passport?" The administrative process of obtaining a passport becomes the narrative thread of this disarmingly unaffected film diary. Kogut creates a private journal of her trips to and from Brazil, Hungary, and France, recording the Kafkaesque experience of her frustrating and often hysterical attempts to jump through the necessary bureaucratic hoops. On the way, she explores a painful family history of forced emigration and a hidden legacy of anti-Semitism as she confronts some essential questions: What is nationality? What is a passport for? What should we do with our heritage? How do we construct our history and our own identity?

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April 29 (Tuesday) 8:30 pm
Free Admission

Ambiguous Homecomings: Journeys to Budapest

Noted literary and cultural critic Susan Suleiman, C. Douglas Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France and Professor of Comparative Literature and author of Budapest Diary: In Search of the Motherbook, and award-winning filmmaker Sandra Kogut engage in a public conversation on their respective quests for identity in Hungary. Moderated by Lucien Taylor of the Film Study Center.

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April 30 (Wednesday) 7 pm
Director Sandra Kogut in Person

Passengers of Orsay

Directed by Sandra Kogut
France 2003, video, color, 52 min.
French with English subtitles

"Can I do a portrait of you with your favorite work of art?" This is the question Sandra Kogut put to gallery-goers, chosen more or less at random, in the famed Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The responses were often quite precise: "My favorite is on the top floor; do you mind going up there?" or "I’m going to show you a painting that reflects my own life." Thus began the walks she made, some of them miles long, in search of these images. Kogut’s work asks where these people will lead us and where these works of art are leading them.


April 30 (Wednesday) 7 pm
Director Sandra Kogut in Person

Adiu monde or Pierre and Claire’s Story

Directed by Sandra Kogut
France 1998, video, color, 27 min.
French with English subtitles

Adiu Monde offers a loving yet tongue-in-cheek reflection on the quest for "authenticity" in the Pyrenees, especially as this is absorbed and reinterpreted by the oft-photographed inhabitants themselves. Butchers, mechanics, farmers, and bystanders in the picture-postcard Aspe and Ossau valleys delight in recounting variations on the pastoral tale of a young shepherd who vanished and the shepherdess who followed him into the woods. A profoundly poetic work, infused with the ludic culture and storytelling traditions of the Pyrenees, Adiu Monde explores its subjects’ nostalgia for the past as well as their joie-de-vivre in the present.

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April 30 (Wednesday) 9 pm
Director Sandra Kogut in Person

Parabolic People

Directed by Sandra Kogut
Brazil/France 1991, color, video, 40 min.
French with English subtitles

Kogut explores the boundaries of the video image with her use of "windows" as a motif to bring together such disparate locations as New York, Tokyo, Dakar, and Rio de Janeiro and to find subtle, and occasionally absurdist, connections between them. Video booths were installed in the various cities and people invited to spend thirty seconds alone with the camera, discussing common issues. The ensuing collage is a brilliant, ironic commentary on the globalization of cultural "diversity" and the manner in which it is packaged by the media.

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April 30 (Wednesday) 9 pm
Director Sandra Kogut in Person

Here and There (Lá e cá)

Directed by Sandra Kogut
Brazil/France/US 1993, 35mm, color, 25 min.
With Regina Casé
Portuguese with English subtitles

A "documentary" narrative about the desire to be at once here and elsewhere, Here and There focuses on Tuquinha Batista, a lively working-class woman played by Regina Casé, one of Brazil’s leading actresses. Tuquinha wanders around popular neighborhoods in Rio, vacillating between her wish to stay where she is and her dream of joining her sister in the upscale Zona Sul. Her encounters, and the people and events of the neighborhood, bear witness to an authentic Brazil encompassing both modernity and tradition.

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