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August 1 - 19

Summer Double Features - August

The Harvard Film Archive continues its summer tradition of two movies for the price of one featuring some of the best selections of our over 10,000 film collection including many works which have never screened before at the HFA. The series is highlighted by blocks of genre classics including musicals, mysteries, historical epics, westerns and a healthy dose of realism.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Yakov Gubanov for his many years of wonderful silent film accompaniment.

August 1 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm

Julius Caesar

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
US 1953, 35mm, b/w, 121 min.
With John Gielgud, James Mason, Marlon Brando








August 1 (Wednesday) 8:45 pm

The Fall of the Roman Empire

Directed by Anthony Mann
US 1964, 35mm, color, 152 min.
With Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness

Moviegoers witnessed a resurgence of historical epics in the postwar era thanks in part to the innovations of new technologies such as widescreen aspect ratios. Joseph Mankiewicz’s interpretation of Ancient Rome is one of the less spectacle-driven films of the period filmed in standard Academy ratio and relying on the brilliant words of the great William Shakespeare. Marlon Brando offers one of his least mannered but no less fascinating performances as Marc Antony. Anthony Mann embraces the sensational in his account of Rome’s final days. Filmed in Ultra Panavision 70, The Fall of the Roman Empire brings every decadent detail to the screen. Combined with the failure of Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra, the film’s lackluster box office signaled the end of the period epics.

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August 2 (Thursday) 7 pm

Ivan the Terrible Part I

Directed by Sergei Eisenstein
USSR 1944, 35mm, b/w, 98 min.
With Nikolai Cherkassov, Ludmilla Tselikovskaya, Serafima Birman
Russian with English subtitles

August 2 (Thursday) 9 pm

Ivan the Terrible Part II

Directed by Sergei Eisenstein
USSR 1946, 35mm, b/w, 88 min.
With Nikolai Cherkassov, Ludmilla Tselikovskaya, Serafima Birman
Russian with English subtitles

Sergei Eisenstein’s final diptych chronicles the idealistic rise and moralistic fall of Russian monarch Ivan IV. Part I details Ivan’s rise to power as he attempts to unite the disparate factions of Russia while enduring the resistance of the boyars. Part II takes a tragic Shakespearean turn as Ivan becomes increasingly isolated from his subjects and seeks revenge on his murderous aunt and her feeble minded son. While the first film was embraced by Stalin for its heroic portrayal of the tsar, the second generated much more controversy and could not be released in the Soviet Union until five years after Stalin’s death. Eisenstein planned a third part but suffered a brain hemorrhage and died before filming was completed.

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August 3 (Friday) 7 pm

General Idi Amin Dada

Directed by Barbet Schroeder
France 1978, 35mm, color, 107 min.










August 3 (Friday) 9:15 pm

The Official Story (La Historia Official)

Directed by Luis Puenzo
Argentina 1985, 35mm, color, 110 min.
With Norma Aleandro, Hector Alterio, Analia Castro
Spanish with English subtitles

This unique pairing examines the ways in which cinema becomes a powerful tool to create and critique propaganda. Idi Amin gave full access to director Barbet Schroeder for his documentary portrait of the Ugandan dictator. The result is a disturbing yet darkly comic study of one of history’s most notorious figures. In The Official Story, a private school teacher unwittingly adheres to the state sanctioned version of Argentine history using textbooks approved by the government. She comes to realize that her adopted daughter may be the offspring of one of the “disappeared” – 30,000 people who vanished at the hands of a military junta who overtook the country in 1976 – and discovers the larger impact of this tragic genocide.

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August 4 (Saturday) 7 pm

La Marseillaise

Directed by Jean Renoir
France 1938, 35mm, b/w, 130 min.
With Pierre Renoir, Lise Delamare, Leon Larive
French with English subtitles





August 4 (Saturday) 9:30 pm

La Nuit de Varennes

Directed by Ettore Scola
France/Italy 1982, 35mm, color, 133 min.
With Jean-Louis Barrault, Harvey Keitel, Marcello Mastroianni
French and Italian with English subtitles

In the wake of Sofia Coppola’s stylized interpretation of the life of
Marie Antoinette, this double feature includes two very different takes on the final days of the French monarchy. Jean Renoir’s La marseillaise is a rather propagandistic portrait of the period, for which he forwent his usual writing practice and relied heavily on historical documents. The patriotic tone of the film was designed to inspire the French in the 1930s as the impending threat of Nazi Germany loomed. Ettore Scola’s La nuit de varennes imagines what would have happened if the coach carrying Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette as they attempted to flee from France crossed paths with one carrying a coterie of intellectuals and celebrities including Thomas Paine (Keitel) and Casanova (Mastroianni).

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Live Piano Accompaniment by Yakov Gubanov
August 5 (Sunday) 7 pm

Tol’able David

Directed by Henry King
US 1921, 35mm, b/w, silent, 80 min.
With Richard Barthelmess, Gladys Hulette, Ernest Torrence







August 5 (Sunday) 8:45 pm

To the Last Man (aka Law of Vengeance)

Directed by Henry Hathaway
US 1933, 35mm, b/w, 71 min.
With Randolph Scott, Esther Ralston, Buster Crabbe

Feuding families provide the focus for this cinematic pairing. Often compared to D.W. Griffith, Henry King was one of the great practitioners of silent melodrama. In Tol’able David, Richard Barthelmess (who produced the film along with King under the banner Inspiration Pictures) stars as a small town West Virginian who is forced by a family of criminals to avenge misdeeds against his father and brother and restore order to their once tranquil community. One of several Paramount-produced Zane Grey adaptations which paired director Henry Hathaway with actor Randolph Scott, To the Last Man tells the tale of a Kentucky farmer who moves his family to the Southwest to avoid an age old feud between clans. Upon his arrival, he quickly becomes embroiled in yet another battle involving the same two families.

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August 6 (Monday) 7 pm

Winchester ‘73

Directed by Anthony Mann
US 1950, 35mm, b/w, 91 min.
With James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea








August 6 (Monday) 8:45 pm

Bend of the River

Directed by Anthony Mann
US 1952, 35mm, color, 91 min.
With James Stewart, Julie Adams, Rock Hudson

Two great psychological Westerns directed by Anthony Mann and starring Jimmy Stewart offer morally compromised representations of masculinity, a marked shift from the upstanding heroic protagonists of early cinema. In Winchester ’73, Stewart plays a cowboy who wins a prized Winchester rifle in a marksmanship contest only to have it stolen by his villainous brother, who then murders their father. The gunslinger vows to avenge his family’s loss, leading to an anxiety-inducing showdown between the two siblings. In Bend of the River, Stewart plays a wagon-train guide leading a caravan from Missouri into the Oregon Territory. Dreaming of a more righteous life as a farmer, Stewart’s character is haunted by his past misdeeds as a border raider.

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August 7 (Tuesday) 7 pm

Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull's History Lesson

Directed by Robert Altman
US 1976, 35mm, color, 118 min.
With Paul Newman, Joel Grey, Burt Lancaster





August 7 (Tuesday) 9:15 pm

The Ballad of Cable Hogue

Directed by Sam Peckinpah
US 1970, 35mm, color, 121 min.
With Jason Robards, Stella Stevens, David Warner

The late Robert Altman offers a harsh critique of American mythology in one of his angriest, most underrated films. Paul Newman stars as Buffalo Bill, the cynical salesman of Western lore who operates a hugely profitable Wild West carnival show. In the patriotic spirit of the 1976 bicentennial celebration, this pessimistic work was coolly received by critics and audiences on its initial release. In a rare comedic turn from director Sam Peckinpah, Jason Robards plays the title character in The Battle of Cable Hogue. Hogue is a burned-out prospector who sets up a prosperous rest stop in the middle of the desert. One of Peckinpah’s favorite films, it features spirited performances from Stella Stevens and David Warner.

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August 8 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Whisky Galore (aka Tight Little Island)

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick
UK 1948, 35mm, b/w, 82 min.
With Basil Radford, Joan Greenwood, Jean Cadell







August 8 (Wednesday) 8:45 pm

The Night My Number Came Up

Directed by Leslie Norman
UK 1954, 35mm, b/w, 94 min.
With Michael Redgrave, Alexander Knox, Sheila Sim

One of the oldest production companies in the world, Ealing Studios gained international notoriety for a series of satirical portraits of postwar Britain. The directorial debut of Alexander Mackendrick, Whisky Galore is a classic example of the Ealing comedy. The residents of an island in the Hebrides suffer a liquor shortage and plot to plunder the booty of a sunken ship containing fifty thousand cases of whisky. The Night My Number Came Up presents a very different style of Ealing film. At a dinner party, a pilot recounts a dream in which a senior RAF officer crashes a plane off the shores of Japan. When the officer is called to duty the following day, the details of his flight begin to eerily coincide with those described in his colleague’s premonition.

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August 9 (Thursday) 7 pm


Directed by Martin Johnson
US 1932, 35mm, b/w, 74 min.

August 9 (Thursday) 8:30 pm

Something of Value (aka Africa Ablaze!)

Directed by Richard Brooks
US 1957, 35mm, b/w 113 min.
With Rock Hudson, Sidney Poitier, Wendy Hiller

Africa becomes a subject of exotic spectacle in these two rarely-screened films. Trained as a photographer, Martin Johnson learned filmmaking while on expedition with Jack London in the Solomon Islands. He and his wife Osa traveled around the world chronicling their experiences in Asia and Africa. Congorilla documents their journey to the Belgian Congo, a dramatic trek which culminates in the capture of two young apes. A response to the Mau Mau uprising against British Colonial rule in 1950s Kenya, Something of Value follows the lives of two friends (Hudson and Poitier), raised as brothers despite racial difference. As they come of age, they are forced to take opposing sides in their nation’s struggle for independence. Shot on location in Africa, production was complicated by “whites only” policies which did not allow Poitier to dine with the cast and crew.

August 10 (Friday) 7 pm

Anima Mundi (aka The Soul of the World)

Directed by Godfrey Reggio
US 1991, video, color, 33 min.

Unsere Afrikareise

Directed by Peter Kubelka
Austria 1966, 16mm, color, 12 min.












August 10 (Friday) 8 pm


Directed by Howard Hawks
US 1962, 35mm, color, 157 min.
With John Wayne, Red Buttons, Elsa Martinelli

Nature and wildlife have always offered rich visual material to filmmakers, and this program presents three very different takes on how cinema—and humans—represent and interact with the beauty, adventure, and exoticism of the "wild."  Anima Mundi celebrates the wonders of the animal kingdom in a sublime tribute to the WWF's Biological Diversity Campaign.  Unsere Afrikareise and Hatari! take us to Africa, and the hunt.  Peter Kubelka's extraordinary montage of image and sound draws out the aggression—both explicit and implicit—inherent in the situation he was asked to document: a group of European tourists on safari.  In Hatari!, Sean Mercer (Wayne) leads an international group capturing animals for the world's zoos.  Hawksian themes of male camaraderie and the comically complicated relations between men and women share the stage with the characters' dangerous and thrilling pursuit of giraffes, wildebeest, and rhinoceri.

August 11 (Saturday) 7 pm

Monkey Tale

Directed by Margaret Kathleen O’Brien
New Zealand 1952, 16mm, b/w, 9 min.

Monkey See, Monkey Do: Verbs

Directed by Marjorie Bean
US 1971, 16mm, color, 10 min.

The Cameraman

Directed by Edward Sedgwick
US 1928, 35mm, b/w, silent with music track, 67 min.
With Buster Keaton, Marceline Day, Harry Gribbon

August 11 (Saturday) 8:45 pm

Tarzan and His Mate

Directed by Cedric Gibbons
US 1934, 35mm, b/w, 93 min.
With Johnny Weismuller, Maureen O’Sullivan, Neil Hamilton

Tonight we bring two short gems from the Somerville High School film collection to the big screen. When we watched Monkey Tale, we knew we had to share this bicycle safety film with our friends out there in the dark. Next up, monkeys do grammar in Monkey See, Monkey Do: Verbs. In The Cameraman, a monkey effects the vast world of monkey cinema, even as he yields the spotlight to his more famous, human pal Buster Keaton. Another human friend of the monkey, Tarzan (Weissmuller), appears with his sexy gal pal Jane and everyone’s favorite chimp pal, Cheetah, in Tarzan and His Mate, arguably the best of the Weismuller-era Tarzan films. 

Live Piano Accompaniment by Yakov Gubanov
August 12 (Sunday) 7 pm

Emile Cohl Animated Shorts

Films shown: Fantasmagorie 1908, The Dentures 1909, The Automatic Moving Company 1910, Professor Bonehead is Shipwrecked 1913, La Musicomanie 1910, Miroir Magique 1909, X-Ray Glasses 1909, La Bous Bous Mie 1909, Rien N’est Impossible a l’homme 1910, The Hasher’s Delirium 1910, Le peintre neo-impressionniste 1910.

Daydreams (Gryozy)

Directed by Evgeni Bauer
Russia 1915, 35mm, b/w, silent 45 min.
With Aleksander Vyrubov, N Chernobaeva, Viktor Arens





Live Piano Accompaniment by Yakov Gubanov
August 12 (Sunday) 9 pm


Directed by John Grierson
UK 1929, 16mm, b/w, silent, 40 min.

Often credited with creating the first animated film (Fantasmagori), Émile Cohl produced over two hundred films in the silent era. Although his work is often associated with French Surrealism, Cohl was an adherent of the philosophy of "les arts incohérents" which believed that the irrational provided the inspiration for artistic creation. This collection of animated shorts demonstrates his interest in hallucinations and nightmares. Produced in pre-Lenin Russia, Evgeni Bauer’s Daydreams follows a man’s Vertigo-like obsession with a woman who resembles his deceased wife. John Grierson’s documentary portrait of North Sea herring fishermen returns to reality and remains one of the crowning achievements of nonfiction film. Crafted as an ode to industrialism, Drifters also contemplates the relationship between nature and modernity. 

Nogent, Eldorado du dimanche

Directed by Marcel Carné and Michel Sanvoisin
France 1929, 16mm, b/w, silent with music track, 20 min.

In Marcel Carné's directorial debut, Parisians escape the city and flock to the "El Dorado" resort town of Nogent, located on the banks of the Marne, where they enjoy a day of swimming, fishing and dancing.

August 13 (Monday) 7 pm

The Champ

Directed by King Vidor
US 1931, 35mm, b/w, 85 min.
With Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich







August 13 (Monday) 8:45 pm


Directed by Mark Robson
US 1949, 35mm, b/w, 99 min.
With Kirk Douglas, Arthur Kennedy, Marilyn Maxwell

A classic tearjerker, The Champ stars Wallace Beery as a broken-down fighter whose drinking and gambling have left him nearly destitute. He struggles to make a comeback to the ring thanks to the support of his devoted son. Beery improvised much of the dialogue for his Oscar-winning performance. In a very different portrait of the boxing world, Kirk Douglas plays Midge Kelly, a boxer on the rise who leaves behind his impoverished background (and those who love him) to achieve fame and fortune.  One of the great sports films of all time, Champion was a hit with audiences and earned Douglas his first Oscar nomination.

August 14 (Tuesday) 7 pm


Directed by Sarah Kernochan and Howard Smith
US 1972, 35mm, color, 88 min.










August 14 (Tuesday) 8:45 pm

The Ruling Class

Directed by Peter Medak
UK 1971, 35mm, color, 155 min.
With Peter O'Toole, Alistair Sim, Arthur Lowe

From the age of four, Marjoe Gortner has known the powerful effects of fame. As a child evangelist, he became a sensation on the religious-revival circuit preaching to millions. Marjoe offers a behind-the-scenes portrait of his final tour, modeled after the success of rock stars like Mick Jagger, whom Gortner shamelessly emulates onstage. Despite critical acclaim, the film courted controversy with scenes of Gortner revealing the capitalist nature of his religious enterprise. In The Ruling Class, Peter O’Toole plays a fanatic of a different sort. As the crazed son of the Earl of Gurney, he believes he is Jesus Christ and uses his newly inherited fortune to help the needy. His family forces him to straighten up for fear of losing their remaining riches, inciting him to embrace a new persona: Jack the Ripper.

August 15 (Wednesday) 6:30 pm

Love Streams

Directed by John Cassavetes
US 1984, 35mm, color, 141 min.
With Gena Rowland, John Cassavetes, Seymour Cassel







August 15 (Wednesday) 9:15 pm

High Hopes

Directed by Mike Leigh
UK 1988, 35mm, color, 112 min.
With Phillip Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Dore
German with English subtitles

John Cassavetes and Mike Leigh are both regarded for their
collaborative process in which actors help shape their respective characters. Begun when Cassavetes was quite ill, Love Streams represents a fond farewell to the director’s art. An idiosyncratic interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the film is a richly self-reflective work that revisits scenes, characters, and events from his previous films in a cinematic meditation on the meaning of a life lived in art. High Hopes presents a ground-level romp through Thatcher’s Britain as witnessed by the residents of a King’s Cross neighborhood in the throes of gentrification. At the center are a leftist thirty-something motorcycle messenger and his longtime companion who confront their qualms about the world which have kept them from starting a family.

August 16 (Thursday) 7 pm

Naked Childhood

Directed by Maurice Pialiat
France 1968, 35mm, color, 83 min.
With Michel Terrazon, Marie Marc, Linda Gutemberg
French with English subtitles




August 16 (Thursday) 8:45 pm

Small Faces

Directed by Gillies MacKinnon
UK 1996, 35mm, color, 108 min.
With Iain Robertson, Joseph McFadden, Laura Fraser

Often compared to Francois Truffaut’s 400 Blows, Maurie Pialat’s debut feature follows the plight of a young boy abandoned by his mother and sent to live in foster care, where his behavior becomes increasingly erratic. Produced by Truffaut and Claude Berri, the film seems removed from the political realities of May 1968 yet reveals a rawness of human emotion in its characters (played mostly by nonprofessionals) which is timeless. Gillies MacKinnon’s Small Faces follows two brothers who try to make it on the violent streets of Glasgow in a Sixties milieu that is anything but swinging. Overlooked in the shadow of the more accessible Trainspotting, MacKinnon’s film offers a more personal portrait of real-life struggles. 

August 17 (Friday) 7 pm

sex lies and videotape

Directed by Steven Soderbergh
US 1989, 35mm, color, 100 min.
With James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher







August 17 (Friday) 9 pm

The Unbelievable Truth

Directed by Hal Hartley
US 1989, 35mm, color, 90 min.
With Adrienne Shelly, Robert Burke, Julia McNeal

Two of the great works of late 1980s American independent film
which paved the way for the massive commercial successes of Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino. Steven Soderbergh created a sensation at the Cannes Film Festival with his debut feature, which chronicles the frustrated sex lives of thirtysomethings in Baton Rouge. Although its acknowledged technology may seem dated, the film retains its engrossing power thanks to masterful performances from Spader and MacDowell. In Hal Hartley’s sharply comic first feature, The Unbelievable Truth (which also saw the debut of actor-director Adrienne Shelly, who died tragically last year), a stranger returns to a Long Island suburb after serving time for a crime he may not have committed. Incorporating deadpan performance and absurd plotting, Hartley created an obvious template for the likes of both Wes and P.T. Anderson.

August 18 (Saturday) 7 pm

After Hours

Directed by Martin Scorsese
US 1985, 35mm, color, 96 min.
With Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Fiorentino







August 18 (Saturday) 9 pm

Something Wild

Directed by Jonathan Demme
US 1986, 35mm, color, 113 min.
With Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, Ray Liotta

These yuppie adventures made the Eighties a lot more enjoyable with two charmers from Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme. In After Hours, Griffin Dunne stars as a “word processor” who travels to SoHo for a night out which takes a series of bizarre turns. Although generally regarded as one of Scorsese’s less serious films, it was his only film to earn Best Director honors at the Cannes Film Festival. Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild follows a mild-mannered New York investment broker who goes on an eventful trip to New Jersey thanks to a free-spirited mystery woman. Strong performances (Melanie Griffith in a black bob as “Lulu”), oddball cameos (John Sayles, John Waters) and a funky soundtrack (The Feelies, Sister Carol) add up to one of the liveliest American films of the period.

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August 19 (Sunday) 7 pm

In The Pink: Faded Films

August 19 (Sunday) 8:45 pm

The Silent World

Directed by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Louis Malle
France/Italy 1956, 16mm, color, 86 min.
French with English subtitles

The cheap color film print stock made from the 1950s through the early 1980s was subject to dramatic color fade, in which only the magenta layer of emulsion remains intact. Tonight we’ll watch five reels of pink film from five different titles in the HFA’s collection, rarely screened because of their condition.  Some are familiar films usually notable for their use of color, and some are films you’ve never heard of and may never see again, except in this truncated, pink state. While the pink film represents failings in the technology of cinema, there is something compelling in the unplanned and unnatural look of these prints: the look of loss. Jacques Cousteau and his crew of the ship Calypso bring us back into living color as they explore the undersea depths with filmmaker Louis Malle (this is his first film) along for the ride.  This film was the inspiration for Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic. This dye transfer Technicolor print shows the happier side of film technology during the period 1953-1977.  Pricey three-color Technicolor prints reproduced the world’s colors for posterity.  The inherently stable process of dye imbibition, an additive process, proved a boon for archives, as these prints didn’t fade. 

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