Mamma Roma (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1962, 35mm, 110 min.)
Friday, April 14, 2017 – 7:00pm in Logan Center Screening Room (201)
Immediately banned in Italy on its initial release in 1962, Mamma Roma features the sensational Anna Magnani in a fearless performance as a middle-aged Roman prostitute struggling to leave her lowly past behind in order to reunite with the teenage son she abandoned as a child. But when her former pimp threatens to destroy the precarious new life she has created for them, Mamma Roma must confront the stark realities of her son’s future. Gene Lerner astutely observed, “If there is a motion-picture star in film history who should be looked upon as the epitome of the struggle of women for identity and dignity, it unquestionably would be Magnani.” Defiant, tender, fierce, and unafraid, her Mamma Roma is a captivating mix of compelling contradictions. Blending the great traditions of Italian Neorealism with maternal melodrama, this unflinching work from the country’s most controversial director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, captures the daily hustle and misaligned values of a postwar Italy still haunted by the traumas of Fascism.
…no lies (Mitchell Block, 1972, 35mm, 16 min.)
Friday, April 21, 2017 – 7:30pm in Logan Center Screening Room (201), as part of clip/short show following keynote address
…no lies presents itself as a cinema vérité documentary. A film student interviews a friend to fulfill a class assignment. Shot in one day at Park Avenue and 33rd Street in New York, at the home of filmmaker Muffie Mayer, the film features cameraman Alex Hirschfeld and actress Shelby Leverington. It was made by Mitchell Block as his MFA thesis at NYU, School of the Arts, Institute of Film and Television, Graduate Division in 1972. Block has written about this film in “F is for Phony” (Univ. of Minn. Press, Sept. 2006.) Contact Direct Cinema for a poster/study guide, “making of” article and a bibiliography. …no lies is cited in 17 books on cinema productions and studies. …no lies won over 40 film festival awards and, packaged as “A Woman’s Special,” won an Emmy for WGBH.
(Description from Direct Cinema Limited/Mitchell Block)
He Who Gets Slapped (Victor Sjöström, 1924, 16mm, 80 min.)
Live accompaniment by Sun Woo Park; Introduction by Tom Gunning
Friday, May 19, 2017 – 7:00pm in Logan Center Screening Room (201)
In a little circus near Paris, a mysterious clown (Lon Chaney, in a staggering performance) amuses the idle, the oblivious, the drunk, and the vicious under his arresting stage name, “HE–Who Gets Slapped!” The more punishing and demeaning the slaps He receives across his blanched face, the more wildly the crowd roars with demonic laughter. Meanwhile, the glittering bareback rider Consuelo (Norma Shearer) circles round and round, tempting him with her beauty and mercy. This mesmerizing and uncanny melodrama of social rejection and self-reinvention, from Swedish director Victor Sjöström (The Wind, The Phantom Carriage), haunts and transfixes through its symbolist and Expressionist imagery. For the humiliated protagonist, we see every encounter he experiences through the corrupted lens of his previous humiliations in this unnerving parable about how personal traumas come to be exploited as public and emotional spectacles for the masses. A beautifully wrought and poetic masterpiece, He Who Gets Slapped plays like an unforgettable thrill ride and dark love song filled with sinister fantasies, doomed grotesqueries, and disquieting, sublime masochism. Tom Gunning, Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, will introduce the screening.