To Save and Project: The Eighth MoMAInternational Festival of Film Preservation
October 15–November 14, 2010
The Museum of Modern Art11 West 53 Street New York, NY 10019
1919. France. Directed by Abel Gance. With Romuald Joubé, Marise Dauvray, Séverin-Mars. Stunningly restored to its full 1919 length with its original color tinting by the EYE Film Institute Netherlands in collaboration with Lobster Films, and accompanied live on piano by Robert Israel, one of the world’s finest silent-film composers, J’Accuse is a milestone of silent cinema. It also endures as one of the most damning antiwar films ever made, said to have influenced Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway, and later championed by Susan Sontag and the film historian Kevin Brownlow. Made in the last, brutal year of the Great War, Gance’s technically groundbreaking film chronicles the decimation of a Provençal village as the sons of France go off to fight, either dying on the front or returning as shell-shocked, hollow men. Gance (La Roué, Napoleon) and his brilliant cameraman Léonce-Henry Burel filmed several sequences alongside the United States Army during the battle of Saint-Mihiel in September 1918. Gance would later recall the unforgettable “return of the dead” sequence that ends the film: "The conditions in which we filmed were profoundly moving….These men had come straight from the Front—from Verdun—and they were due back eight days later. They played the dead knowing that in all probability they'd be dead themselves before long. Within a few weeks of their return, eighty per cent had been killed." Silent. Approx. 161 min.
LANGSAMMER SOMMER (SLOW SUMMER)
1976. Austria. Directed by John Cook, in collaboration with Susanne Schett. Screenplay by Cook, Michael Pilz. With Cook, Pilz, Helmut Bozelmann, Eva Grimm. A successful Canadian-born fashion photographer who became “Viennese by choice,” Cook is often cited as one of the most important Austrian filmmakers of the past fifty years—a true auteur who created a deeply personal and vital vision of his adopted city. This screening of Slow Summer, with its sardonic and at times disturbing blurring of fantasy and autobiography, serves as a prelude to a retrospective that will begin this December at Anthology Film Archives of new prints restored by the Austrian Film Museum. Cook takes the uncanny Viennese landscape and his demimonde of artist friends and collaborators as the subject of this fascinating experimental film, which he shot on Super-8 color stock and then printed on black-and-white 35mm. “[Slow Summer] is a strange film,” the critic Olaf Möller observes, “a bit unsettling in its relentlessness, even if one doesn’t know the people in it. The characters bear the same names as the actors, and the line between truth and dare is so thin it’s often just not there; one can never be certain whether the self-loathing and disgust expressed by these people is real, or part of the fiction.” Preserved in 2006 by the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna, and the film’s producer, Michael Pilz. In German; English subtitles. 83 min.
J’ACCUSE Is Available on DVD for Institutional Sales here.
SLOW SUMMER Is Available on DVD for Institutional Sales here.