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March 2 - April 7

Beyond Truth: Contemporary Nonfiction Cinema

In our latest exploration of new nonfiction film we present an eclectic collection of documentaries which explore issues such as globalization, Hurricane Katrina and industrial food production.

March 2 (Friday) 7 pm

The Lottery of the Sea

Directed by Allan Sekula
US 2006, video, color, 180 min.

For the past thirty years, California native Allan Sekula has established a prolific career as a photographer with his unique focus on political and economic systems. Following the accomplishment of Tsukiji (2001) and Gala (2005), his self-described “city symphonies of a sort,” The Lottery of the Sea takes its title from an essay by economist/philosopher Adam Smith, who compared nautical life to gambling. Shot over a period of five years and spanning locations such as the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, and Japan, the video offers a remarkable contemplation on globalization in maritime nations infused with elements of Greek myths, old Hollywood and, of course, the lore of the sea. Print courtesy of Allan Sekula.

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March 9 (Friday) 7 pm


Directed by Oliver Stone
US/Spain 2003, video, color, 99 min.
Spanish and English with English subtitles

One of the United States’ most outspoken and controversial directors interviews one of the world’s most outspoken and controversial heads of state. Cuban leader Fidel Castro talks openly with director Oliver Stone about his relationship to Che Guevara, Kennedy and Nixon, as well his private life. Friendly, yet tenacious in pursuing various lines of questioning, Stone conducts an illuminating tête-à-tête with Castro, elucidating how Cuba has existed at the border of the world’s greatest superpower as its most persistent antagonist for more than four decades. Largely unseen in the US, Comadante provides a fascinating insight into the mind of the man who has defied and angered the majority of the American populace for the last fifty years Print courtesy of Pragda.

This screening is co-presented with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

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March 9 (Friday) 9 pm

For Life Against the War Again

US 2006, video, color, 75 min.

Forty years ago, a group of artists envisioned "Week of the Angry Arts," a festival organized in protest of the escalation of the Vietnam War. Filmmakers such as Robert Frank, Shirley Clarke, Carolee Schneemann, and Jonas Mekas contributed to this collective outcry against violence, each creating a short film in the name of peace. In a similar spirit, contemporary filmmakers were recently asked to shoot up to three minutes of video in opposition to the War in Iraq. Organized by the Filmmakers Cooperative and curated by filmmaker Lynn Sachs, participants include Ken Jacobs, Barbara Hammer, MM Serra, Jeff Silva, Alfred Guzzetti, Lynne Sachs, and Bill Morrison. Print courtesy of Anthology Film Archives.

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March 11 (Sunday) 7 pm and 9 pm

Our Daily Bread

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Austria 2005, 35mm, color, 92 min.

With an intent yet poetic gaze Austrian documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter examines the methods by which vegetables, grains and meats are processed in preparation for human consumption. Despite his decision to include unsettling images of animal slaughter, Geyrhalter favors pictorial composition and sound design over exposé in a work which finds a unique, rhythmic beauty in the automated processing of food products. In a series of tableaux, Our Daily Bread keeps a cool distance from subject matter that will directly impact anyone who chooses to watch. Print courtesy of First Run/Icarus.

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April 7 (Saturday) 5 pm (Acts I & II) 8 pm (Acts III & IV)

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

Directed by Spike Lee
US 2006, video, color, 240 min.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina Spike Lee traveled to the Gulf Coast region to craft what he describes as a “film document” of the tragic events. Composed in four acts, When the Levees Broke is sweeping in its scope, chronicling inept pre-storm preparations, failed responses by FEMA and other government agencies, the devastating impact on the city’s residents, and the possibility of a hopeful future for New Orleans. Despite the palpable anger of Lee’s tone he remains largely off-camera, allowing the city’s mostly African-American residents to give voice to their dire circumstances.

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