The Art of Cinema
Pratt Film Society
SEPTEMBER 11: WANDA
Directed by Barbara Loden (1970, USA, 102 mins.)
Winner of the Critics Prize in Venice in 1970, Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970) was Loden’s lone feature and considered a vanguard work by an America independent filmmaker. The film is a totally uncompromised writer-director-star turn in which Loden embodies a listless young mother in Pennsylvania coal country who drifts away from her domestic prison and shacks up with perhaps the least glamorous outlaw in cinema history, Michael Higgins's cantankerous "Mr. Dennis." A deeply personal work by Loden, herself a child of Appalachia, with an extraordinary clear-eyed expression of dead-end despair, a life-marred document of a scuffed, sad, left-behind working-class world.
SEPTEMBER 18: THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES
Directed by Sergei Parajanov (1969, Soviet Union, 78 mins.)
A breathtaking fusion of poetry, ethnography, and cinema, Sergei Parajanov’s masterwork overflows with unforgettable images and sounds. In a series of tableaux that blend the tactile with the abstract, The Color of Pomegranates revives the splendors of Armenian culture through the story of the eighteenth-century troubadour Sayat-Nova, charting his intellectual, artistic, and spiritual growth through iconographic compositions rather than traditional narrative. The film’s tapestry of folklore and metaphor departed from the realism that dominated the Soviet cinema of its era, leading authorities to block its distribution. This edition features the cut closest to Parajanov’s original vision, in a restoration that brings new life to one of cinema’s most enigmatic meditations on art and beauty.
SEPTEMBER 25: NIGHT COMES ON
Directed by Jordana Spiro (2018, USA, 90 mins.)
Director in attendance
This powerful directorial debut from actress Jordana Spiro (currently starring in Netflix’s Ozark ) follows Angel LaMere (Dominique Fishback) as she is released from juvenile detention on the eve of her 18th birthday. Haunted by her past, Angel embarks on a journey with her 10-year-old sister (Tatum Marilyn Hall) to avenge her mother’s death. Night Comes On had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival where it won the NEXT Innovator Award. The film is co-written by spoken-word poet Angelica Nwandu, who is the founder of The Shade Room, and features breakthrough performances by Dominique Fishback (HBO’s The Deuce) and newcomer, Tatum Marilyn Hall.
OCTOBER 2: MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT
Directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (1968, Cuba, 97 mins.)
After his wife and family flee in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the bourgeois intellectual Sergio (Sergio Corrieri) passes his days wandering Havana in idle reflection, his amorous entanglements and political ambivalence gradually giving way to a mounting sense of alienation. With this adaptation of an innovative novel by Edmundo Desnoes, Gutiérrez Alea developed a cinematic style as radical as the times he was chronicling, creating a collage of vivid impressions through the use of experimental editing techniques, archival material, and spontaneously shot street scenes. Intimate and densely layered, Memories of Underdevelopment provides an indictment of its protagonist’s disengagement and an extraordinary glimpse of life in post-revolutionary Cuba.
OCTOBER 9: MADELINE’S MADELINE
Directed by Josephine Decker (2018, USA, 93 mins.)
Director in attendance
Madeline (newcomer Helena Howard) has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe. When the workshop’s ambitious director (Molly Parker) pushes the teenager to weave her rich interior world and troubled history with her mother (Miranda July) into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur. The resulting battle between imagination and appropriation rips out of the rehearsal space and through all three women’s lives. Anchored by a virtuoso performance from newcomer Helena Howard, whose powerful screen presence commands attention, Josephine Decker’s film displays a rare sensitivity for capturing the messy struggles of discovering a sense of self that defies easy narrative categorization.