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September 23, 2013

One Night, Standish Lawder

A truly multi-dimensional artist, the filmmaker, photographer, inventor, educator and film historian Standish Lawder (b. 1936) is best known today for his delightfully intelligent films that playfully straddle the categories of structuralist cinema and conceptual art. Lawder’s long career in cinema began first as a student of art history at Yale where his PhD dissertation gave way to a major book on cubist cinema and a position teaching film history and influencing a generation of film scholars. Lawder’s year as the Henry R. Luce Visiting Professor of Film at Harvard – the university’s first faculty position in cinema studies – earns him a special place in the history of the Harvard Film Archive and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, now in the midst of its 50th anniversary celebration. Displaying a similar offbeat humor and rigorous design as the work of Owen Land and Morgan Fisher, Lawder’s own films dramatically expand and challenge the modernist montage principles of the early cinematic avant garde so close to him, especially the work of his father-in-law, Hans Richter. In major works such as Necrology and the all too little known Corridor (a fascinating companion piece to Ernie Gehr’s Serene Velocity of the same year), Lawder creatively bends the perceptual dimensions of cinema into dizzying new directions, creating spellbinding, mysterious and quite literally visionary films. — Haden Guest

The Harvard Film Archive is pleased to welcome Standish Lawder back to Harvard for a focused retrospective and enlightened discussion.

Monday September 23 at 7pm

Cat Film for Ursula

US 1969, 16mm, color, 4 min



US 1968, 16mm, b/w, 12 min


Dangling Particle

US 1970, 16mm, b/w, 18 min



US 1970, 16mm, b/w, 2 min



US 1970, 16mm, b/w, 20 min



US 1969, 16mm, b/w, 6 min


Specific Gravity

US 1969, 16mm, b/w 4 min



US 1972, 16mm, color, 3 min


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