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May 1

True Cinema: Vlada Petric on Slavko Vorkapich

Renowned film scholar and founding curator of the Harvard Film Archive from 1979 to 1998, Vlada Petric will deliver a lecture on his teacher and friend, Slavko Vorkapich (1894-1977), who is best known for his montage sequences in many Hollywood films and whose Moods of the Sea and Forest Murmurs are highly cinematic works based on musical compositions. Professor Petric will discuss the highly original and sophisticated theories that underline Vorkapich’s famous experimental film The Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra (1928), as well as the US premiere of Petric’s own “tribute to Vorky,” Symphony of Hands (2008).

This program is co-presented by the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies.


Filmmaker Vlada Petric In Person
Admission is Free and Open to the Public

Thursday May 1 at 7:30pm

The Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra

Directed by Slavko Vorkapich and Robert Florey.
US 1928, 16mm, silent, b/w, 11 min.

This seminal experimental film synthesizes different strains of the European avant-gardes, particularly Soviet montage and German expressionism, to convey the uniquely American story telegraphed by the film’s title. The filmmakers themselves play the leading parts.

Forest Murmurs

Directed by Slavko Vorkapich and John Hoffman.
US 1947, 16mm, b/w, 11 min.

This subtle nature poem, shot in Angeles National Forest (outside Los Angeles), is scored to the interlude from Wagner’s Siegfried.

Moods of the Sea

Directed by Slavko Vorkapich and John Hoffman.
US 1941, 16mm, b/w/, 10 min.

The earlier of the two visual tone poems by Vorkapich juxtaposes poetic imagery of the waves to Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture (“Fingal’s Cave”).

Symphony of Hands

Directed by Vlada Petric, Appearing in Person
US 2008, 35mm, color, 10 min.

Following Vorkapich’s montage concept known as kinesthesia/synesthesia, this film sets close-ups of hands from Renaissance paintings, Byzantine medieval frescoes and contemporary photographs to music from Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, Stevan Mokranjac’s The Orthodox Liturgy and Charles Mingus’ Haitian Fight Song

 Listen to this evening's introduction and lecture.

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