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March 8 - May 2, 2006

Film and Autobiography


Director in Person
March 8 (Tuesday) 7 pm

Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Demain et encore demain)

Directed by Dominique Cabrera
France , 1997, color, 79 min.
French with English subtitles

As her relationships with her husband and son were falling apart, Dominique Cabrera decided to film every day of the year to “make contact with something other than my fear.” She uses the diary format to explore questions of her own identity as presented through various roles (i.e, mother, daughter, lover, filmmaker). She also reveals the more subtle details which make up daily life, in addition to grappling with more serious emotional problems. The result is a compelling reflection on the art of daily life.

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Director in Person
March 11 (Friday) 7 pm

The Milk of Human Kindness (Le lait de la tendresse humaine)

Directed by Dominique Cabrera
France/Belgium, 2001, color, 94 min.
French with English subtitles

After giving birth to her third child, a woman flees her household and hides out in her neighbor’s apartment. As her husband searches desperately for her, the young mother takes comfort in the kindness of her neighbor and envies the woman’s respectability, not realizing that her caretaker is having an affair with a married man. An offbeat, romantic, black comedy, the film features strong performances from Cabrera’s ensemble.

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Director in Person
March 15 (Tuesday) 8:15 pm

Gina Kim’s Video Diary

Directed by Gina Kim
South Korea/US , 2002, color, 154 min.
Korean and English with English subtitles

When Gina Kim turned 22, she decided to leave her home in Korea and not return. Taking advantage of an opportunity to study abroad, she was anxious to escape her mother’s authority and avoid a similar fate as an overweight, underappreciated housewife. Traumatized by her decision, the filmmaker began to develop symptoms of anorexia and proceeded to document her mental decline and eventual recovery. Combining video performance art with intimate home-movie diary, this self-documented coming-of-age story demonstrates how video technologies can be used to capture the most intimate, confessional voice of a filmmaker.

March 19 (Saturday) 6 pm
March 20 (Sunday) 6 pm

Diary (Yoman)

Directed by David Perlov
Israel, 1983, b/w and color, 330 min.
English language version

Shot over a ten-year period, Diary is not only the political, professional, and personal diary of a man, but is a testimony on the turbulent reality of a war-torn country, Israel. In six chapters, Perlov travels to Tel Aviv, Paris, London, and finally to Brazil, where he was born. The film is also a family diary in which Perlov records the coming of age of his two daughters, Yael and Naomi. He meets with Claude Lanzmann, Isaac Stern, Joris Ivens, Andre Schwartz-Bart, Irving Howe, and Klaus Kinski. An extraordinary mixture of home movies, political documentary, and cinéma-vérité, Diary is a unique work. Ten years of shooting and five more of editing have resulted in a film which has the spontaneity and apparent arbitrariness of a snapshot but which is as carefully composed and graded as a finished masterpiece.

These screenings are co-presented with the Consulate General of Israel to New England and the Boston Jewish Film Festival.

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March 22 (Tuesday) 9:15 pm

JLG/JLG

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
France/Switzerland, 1994, color, 63 min.
French with English subtitles

As Godard once remarked, "The cinema is an x-ray machine in which one photographs one’s own disease." In his moving self-portrait, we discover that the disease has a name: cinephilia. Made on the cusp of the centennial of the cinema and the director reaching his mid-sixties, JLG/JLG captures the complexity and brilliance of Godard’s work in film as it touches on a multitude of concerns, from memory and painting to the Swiss Alps, money, and tennis.

April 5 (Tuesday) 9 pm

Trying to Kiss the Moon

Directed by Stephen Dwoskin
UK, 1994, color, 95 min.

In this unique approach to the autobiographical film format, director Stephen Dwoskin pieces together home movies shot by his parents in New York City, a video letter recorded during the 1990 Gulf War by filmmaker Robert Kramer, and raw footage filmed by Dwoskin himself. A veteran of the New York independent film scene of the 1960s, Dwoskin constructs a film poem in which the strong sentiment of his personal story–he was stricken by polio and eventually confined to a wheelchair–never overwhelms the beauty of the film’s distinct form.

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April 12 (Tuesday) 9 pm

Intervista

Directed by Federico Fellini
Italy, 1987, color, 105 min.
Italian with English subtitles

 

Intervista combines a film-within-a-film, an essay memoir, a playful recollection of previous works, and an eerie conflation of past and present into this surreal and imaginative distillation of a man’s life and work. As Fellini prepares to direct an adaptation of Kafka’s "Amerika," his every move and gesture is captured by a Japanese documentary crew. Reminiscing about his first visit to the studio as a young reporter, Fellini takes the Japanese crew, along with Marcello Mastroianni, on a nostalgic visit to Anita Ekberg’s house in the country. Conceived as a tribute to famed Cinecittá Studios on its fiftieth anniversary, this affectionate divertissement, lightly balancing illusion and reality and bubbling with magical stories from Fellini’s past, is the director’s valentine to the movies and the filmmaking process.

April 19 (Tuesday) 9 pm

Memoirs of a Tropical Jew (Memoires d’un Juif Tropical)

Directed by Joseph Morder
France, 1986, color, 75 min.
French with English subtitles

 

While enjoying a summer love affair in Paris, director Joseph Morder reflects on his unusual childhood in Ecuador, the haven to which his parents escaped from persecution by the Nazis in Poland during World War II. Rather than using images from Ecuador or direct visual representations of narration, Morder relies on experimental techniques which construct a film autobiography driven by emotion rather than history.

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Director in Person
April 26 (Tuesday) 8 pm

Bright Leaves

Directed by Ross McElwee
US, 2003, color, 107 min.

Ross McElwee’s Bright Leaves describes a journey across the social, economic, and psychological tobacco terrain of his native North Carolina, which produces more tobacco than any other state in America. A subjective, autobiographical meditation on the allure of cigarettes and their troubling legacy for the state, the film is about loss and preservation, addiction and denial. And it’s about filmmaking—home movie, documentary, and fiction filmmaking—as McElwee fences with the legacy of an obscure Hollywood melodrama that is purportedly based on the life of his great-grandfather, who created the famous brand of tobacco known as “Bull Durham.” McElwee explores the notion of legacy—what one generation passes down to the next—and how this can be a particularly complicated topic when the legacy under discussion is both a Southern one and tied to tobacco.

May 2 (Tuesday) 9 pm

Cowards Bend the Knee

Directed by Guy Maddin
Canada, 2003, b/w, 60 min.
With Darcy Fehr, Melissa Dionisio, Amy Stewart

Situated primarily in a hockey arena and a beauty salon/abortion clinic, Maddin’s serialized film (comprised of ten short chapters) details a Winnipeg hockey star’s encounters with an oversexed Chinese woman named Meta and her hairdresser/abortionist mother. The player’s name is Guy, and Maddin has conceded that the film is partially autobiographical: “A lovingly self-loathing peek at myself, but only as I would have enough courage to look–through a cracked glass made foggy by hairspray.” Through both form and content, the film explores voyeurism; it was initially shown as a peephole installation.

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