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February 10 - 24, 2004

Texture Analysis: Fashion and Film

February 10 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Earrings of Madame De... (Madame de...)

Directed by Max Ophüls
France/Italy, 1953, b/w, 102 min.
With Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer, Vittorio de Sica
French with English subtitles

With his characteristic use of long tracking shots that transcend space and his ability to coax sensitive performances from his actors, Max Ophüls created in The Earrings of Madame de... what film critic Andrew Sarris has described as “the most perfect film ever made.” The story follows the movement of a pair of diamond earrings that a debt-laden socialite (Darrieux) pawns back to their maker. Originally commissioned by her husband (Boyer) and given to her the day after her wedding, the earrings pass through a series of hands only to wind up back in the woman’s possession.

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February 10 (Tuesday) 7 pm

Notebook On Cities And Clothes (Aufzeichnungen zu Kleidurn und Städten)

Directed by Wim Wenders
West Germany, 1989, color, 79 min.
With Wim Wenders, Yohji Yamamoto
German with English subtitles

As its title suggests, Notebook on Cities and Clothes is more a gathering of ruminations than a documentary. Commissioned by the Centre Pompidou to document Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto, director Wenders created a film essay that goes far beyond fashion as it explores the analogies between designing clothes and assembling a movie. The work is a poetic kaleidoscope of two artists, the designer and the director, and of two metropolises, Tokyo and Paris, whose architecture of light and astonishing perspectives mediate the artists’ respective crafts. Notebook was among Wenders’s first experiments in video, and the diaristic immediacy of the digital form became an important tool in the filmmaker’s subsequent feature work.

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February 24 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Bride Wore Red

Directed by Dorothy Arzner
US, 1937, b/w, 103 min.
With Joan Crawford, Robert Young, Franchot Tone

Arzner’s second (and only credited) film with Joan Crawford explores the effects that external appearance can have on men’s perception of women. A poor café singer spends two weeks masquerading as an heiress at a posh resort, only to find herself falling in love with the local postman while being courted by a rich playboy.

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