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September 2, 2013

An Evening with Suzan Pitt

Since the early 1970s Suzan Pitt (b. 1943) has defined a unique mode of dream-like and intensely handcrafted animation that has forged a vital link between American experimental and underground cinema. Pitt first found fame when her now classic animated film Asparagus was selected to accompany David Lynch's Eraserhead on its extended, ultimately almost two-year, run of midnight screenings. Nocturnal and elliptical, Asparagus introduced audiences to the strange, surrealist-inflected and psycho-sexually charged oneiricism that would remain a constant throughout her work, while showcasing Pitt's consummate artistry and skill with variegated animation techniques – from multi-layered cell painting to claymation, a bold technical experimentation that also distinguishes later films such as Joy Street and El Doctor. The lush and texturally rich imagery at the heart of Asparagus also points back to Pitt's background as a painter while anticipating her steadfast dedication to the gestural qualities and movement unique to the work of the human hand, even as today's moving image is increasingly computer-born. A long-time and beloved member of the legendary CalArts faculty, Pitt is renowned as a teacher and mentor. Before moving to California Pitt also taught within Harvard's Visual and Environmental Studies Department. It was, in fact, in the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts that she realized one of her most ambitious films, Joy Street, working with then Harvard student Helen Hill as one of her assistants.

The Harvard Film Archive is thrilled to welcome back Suzan Pitt for this program which spans from Pitt's very first animation work to her latest and celebrated shorts Pinball and The Visitation. — Haden Guest

$12 Special Event Tickets - Suzan Pitt in Person
Monday September 2 at 7pm


US 1971, 16mm, color, 7 min



US 1979, 35mm, color, 19 min


Joy Street

US 1995, 35mm, color, 24 min


El Doctor

2006, 35mm, color, 24 min



US 2011, digital video, b/w, 9 min



US 2013, digital video, color, 7 min


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