Monday Night at the Movies: The American Landscape
Mondays, July 8 through August 26 (with the exception of July 29) at 7 pm
This documentary and independent film series, shown on video, explores the enduring American landscape in its broadest sense - geographically, historically and socially. The main thread uniting the selected films is that location and geography serve as essential characters in each. Travel across the United States from the West Coast to the East End. In the famous words of Georgia O'Keeffe, discover "the Great American Thing" through these contemporary voices and visions in film.
Film directors Todd Robinson (Amargosa, July 15), Tessa Blake (Five Wives, Three Secretaries and Me, August 12) and Albert Maysles (to be confirmed) (Grey Gardens, August 26) will be at screenings to introduce their work and for a question and answer session at the end of the film.
This film is a captivating cross-country adventure brought to life by two young women who take to the road seeking a fresh take on the American dream. After quitting their Hollywood jobs, the enthusiastic filmmakers pack up a borrowed car and hit the road to discover the many faces of America. Including interviews with George Stephanopoulos, Hunter S. Thompson and Michael Stipe, the film creates a rich tapestry of ideas and cultures told in a powerful, youthful voice.
Set in the isolated badlands of Death Valley in California, Amargosa examines the life of 76-year old Marta Becket, dancer and painter. Directed by Todd Robinson, originally from Westhampton, the film examines this reclusive woman who builds a refuge out of a crumbling theater in a deserted ghost town. On the ceilings and walls are life-sized murals of a painted audience and on the stage Becket hauntingly performs dance/mine pieces in toe shoes. The film offers a rare psychological view into the motivations of this performing artist and her pursuit of the creative spirit.
Located in an eccentric hotel in Idaho peopled with odd characters, this film follows the lives of Francis and Blake Falls, soft-spoken conjoined twins. Through the introduction of a female into the twins' lives, the film unfolds gently, allowing the brothers separate emotional lives even though nature merged their bodies. The film is a meditation on love, a spiritual fairytale and a most unusual narrative.
Shelley Williams in collaboration with Susan Palmer, 1995, 45 minutes Look at the Southwest through the eyes of its leading contemporary women visual artists and writers. Juxtaposing provocative imagery and intersecting cultures, the film explores the work of nine women from Pueblo, Navajo, Mexican-American and Anglo backgrounds. This film is a celebration of the diversity of women's creativity and changing multicultural America.
Kinaald: A Navajo Rite of Passage
Set in the Navajo nation of the Southwest, this film introduces the ritual coming of age ceremony - the kinaald. Turning the camera on herself and her family, the filmmaker provides a rare look at Navajo culture and the complexity of growing up Native American in the Twentieth century. The film was featured in the National Museum of the American Indian's 2000 film festival and received enthusiastic response.
In 1994, filmmaker Tessa Blake went to Houston to receive a million-dollar trust fund from her octogenarian tycoon father, a father she knew only slightly. Piqued by an interest in her father's world, Blake returned with camera in hand and film crew in tow, creating an intimate journey into the tight-knit circle of women referred to in the film's title. Masquerading as a home movie, the result is a funny, insightful and compelling look at Texans and Texannes, father and daughters and conflicting notions of gender and race.
Depicting the explosive downtown New York art and music scene of the early 80s, the film follows the life of a 19-year old painter played by Jean Michel Basquiat. Originally shot in 1980-81 and interrupted for almost 20 years, the film was not completed until 2000. Selected for Director's Fortnight at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, Downtown 81 captures a slice of life from a tremendously exciting period in American culture, showing the emergence of new wave, hip hop and graffiti art.
Set in the 28-room East Hampton mansion known as "Grey Gardens," this epic cinema verite explores the relationship of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie, aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Filmmakers David and Albert Maysles reveal these two women living in a world of their own in the wake of eviction notices. Come see the movie The New York Times says, "has grown more bizarre and commanding with age."
The Museum's interpretive programs have been made possible, in part, through generous support from the Open Society Institute. Concerts and performing arts have been made possible, in part, through generous support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.