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Museum of Modern Art Presents To Save and Project. The Ninth MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation

The Museum of Modern Art Presents To Save and Project. The Ninth MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation October 14–November 19, 2011.

To Save and Project, MoMA’s annual festival of preserved and restored films from archives, studios, and distributors around the world, continues through November 19, 2011. This year’s edition comprises over 35 films from 14 countries, virtually all of them having their New York premieres, and some shown in versions never before seen in the United States. Complementing the festival is a retrospective devoted to filmmaker Jack Smith, featuring 11 newly struck prints acquired for MoMA’s collection and introduced on November 13 by Mario Montez, star of Smith’s Flaming Creatures (1962–63) and Normal Love (1963–65). To Save and Project is organized by Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.

Agnes Martin, “Gabriel,” 1976 Courtesy The Pace Gallery and Dia Art Foundation. © 2011 Estate of Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson

This year’s edition spans an entire century, from the hand-painted color version of Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902), unseen for 109 years; to Raúl Ruiz’s first feature, Tres tristes tigres (1968), made in his native Chile; to Seijun Suzuki’s deliriously hyper-stylized Zigeunerweisen (1980). The festival also features films by Saul Bass, Forugh Farrokhzad, Bob Fosse, George Kuchar, Alberto Lattuada, Louis Malle, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Jean Rouch, and many others. In celebrating film preservation, this annual festival celebrates the history of cinema itself.

A rich array of experimental cinema is presented in To Save and Project. MoMA, in cooperation with The Pace Gallery, has undertaken a preservation of Agnes Martin’s only completed film, Gabriel (1976), a historically unique work that both illuminates and complicates our understanding of the artist and her paintings. Gabriel is presented on October 28 by Arne Glimcher, founder of The Pace Gallery; Douglas Crimp, art critic and curator; and the artist Zoe Leonard. On October 31, Alejandro Jodorowsky introduces his visionary 1973 cult film The Holy Mountain, followed by a Modern Mondays conversation with Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1 and MoMA’s Chief Curator at Large; and Joshua Siegel. An annual sidebar is dedicated on November 2 to the Women’s Film Preservation Fund, co-founded in 1995 by MoMA and New York Women in Film and Television. This year’s program revisits the films of choreographer/dancer Elaine Summers, whose innovative 1960s performances at New York’s Judson Memorial Church remain influential. And on November 17, A Celebration of George Kuchar: Rambunctious Rarities, Moody Masterpieces features several preserved films, including I, An Actress (1977) and Wild Night in El Reno (1977), presented by the artist Trisha Donnelly and the writer Bruce Hainley.

To Save and Project also features a number of special events. On October 29, Stefan Drössler, director of the Munich Filmmuseum, presents an illustrated history of 3-D from the 19th century to today, and then introduces Soviet director Aleksandr Andriyevsky’s Robinzon Kruso (1947), widely regarded as the first feature-length 3-D film and championed by Sergei Eisenstein. On October 30, Cruel and Unusual Comedy from the Desmet Collection of the EYE Film Institute, The Netherlands comprises revelatory and even shocking early European film comedies that center on themes of sex, violence, madness, and science fiction, with original music performed live by award-winning composer Donald Sosin and his NYC Eclectic Electric Band.

This year, MoMA celebrates the preservation work of the Archives du film de CNC, Bois d’Arcy, France’s national repository of cinema. Featured works include Forugh Farrokhzad’s landmark Iranian film The House Is Black (1963), Louis Malle’s Calcutta (1969), Boris Kaufman’s Les Halles centrales (1927), André Survage’s Etudes sur Paris (1928), and Victor Trivas’ Niemandsland (No Man’s Land) (1931), presented by Eric Le Roy, chef de service at the CNC and president of FIAF, the International Federation of Film Archives. Also presented are two programs of rarely screened early work by Jean Rouch, the groundbreaking ethnographic documentarian, one devoted to his films in Niger and Mali and the other to his studies of architecture.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York
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