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The Long View: A Celebration of Widescreen

July 16, 2008 - August 30, 2008

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Pierrot le Fou, August 2

Thinking outside the box, with an eye to winning back viewers seduced away by television, 20th Century Fox introduced CinemaScope in 1953. Extending the movie screen to twice its previous width—proportions impossible for the TV set—CinemaScope was soon followed by other widescreen formats, including VistaVision, Superscope, Cinemiracle, and Panavision, most of which used anamorphic lenses to compress the visual information during filming and then re-expand it during projection. While Fritz Lang famously quipped that CinemaScope was only good for depicting funerals and snakes, he and other filmmakers stretched their visual vocabulary to orchestrate dancing girls, epic heroes, and desert vastness in sprawling horizontal proportions. Our expansive summer-long series includes Westerns, melodramas, thrillers, musicals, and science fiction, and ranges from nascent explorations to classic bigger-than-life productions. International widescreen masters Jean-Luc Godard, Miklós Jancsó, Akira Kurosawa, Vincente Minnelli, and Nicholas Ray are represented, as well as a host of other innovators including Robert Fleischer, Phil Karlson, and Yasuzo Masumura. Now as then, television can’t contain these films—they have to be seen on the big screen.

Outside the Box: More Widescreen Films
Widening the scope of this series, we present widescreen films in several other PFA programs this summer. In our United Artists series: The Apartment, July 12; The Great Escape, July 13; Manhattan, July 17; The Magnificent Seven, July 27; The Thomas Crown Affair, August 14; The Long Goodbye, August 19; West Side Story, August 28; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, August 30; Viva Las Vegas, August 31. In our David Goodis series: Shoot the Piano Player, August 2 and 5; Moon in the Gutter, August 23.

Kathy Geritz
Film Curator

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
7:30 p.m. La dolce vita
A Fellini masterpiece eddying around Marcello Mastroianni’s definitive performance as a jaded reporter drawn to the decadence he sensationalizes.

Friday, July 18, 2008
7:00 p.m. Violent Saturday
A gang of bank robbers (including Lee Marvin) invades a small Arizona town in Richard Fleischer’s sunstruck noir.

Friday, July 18, 2008
8:50 p.m. Point Blank
Marvin stars in John Boorman’s neo-noir, “a fabulous, vicious allegory for modern corporate America, filmed in a dreamlike, sensuous style.”—NFT, London

Saturday, July 19, 2008
8:25 p.m. Bigger Than Life
Nicholas Ray uses CinemaScope for a close-in, searing saga of ’50s suburban psychosis, featuring a brilliant performance by James Mason.

Sunday, July 20, 2008
7:00 p.m. The Red and the White
Miklós Jancsó’s disquietingly beautiful ballet of war and death in Central Russia in 1918.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
7:30 p.m. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
“Still Robert Altman’s best moment, this 1971 antiwestern murmurs softly of love, death, and capitalism.”—Chicago Reader. Vilmos Zsigmond’s photography gloriously captures the Northwest landscape.

Friday, July 25, 2008
7:00 p.m. It’s Always Fair Weather
Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse in a musical spoof of television, advertising, and even the Hollywood musical.

Friday, July 25, 2008
9:00 p.m. Giants and Toys
Rival candy companies battle for corporate supremacy in Yasuzo Masumura’s iconoclastic outburst aimed at the advertising biz.

Sunday, July 27, 2008
7:30 p.m. Ride Lonesome
Budd Boetticher’s characteristically spare, tense film follows aging bounty hunter Randolph Scott trailed by assorted outlaws, including James Coburn and Lee Van Cleef. “A small masterpiece.”—Time Out

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
7:30 p.m. Days of the Eclipse
A masterpiece of the Glasnost era, Alexander Sokurov’s enigmatic science fiction allegory is a powerful microcosm of Stalinism and its legacy.

Saturday, August 2, 2008
8:45 p.m. Pierrot le Fou
Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Godard’s audacious take on the lovers-on-the-run genre, lensed in ravishing color by Raoul Coutard.

Friday, August 8, 2008
7:30 p.m. Markéta Lazarová
Frantisek Vlácil’s exquisitely shot medieval epic of rivalry and revenge merges hallucinatory imagery with raw realism.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008
8:15 p.m. Gunman’s Walk
Karlson’s Western is “an intense, poignant, beautifully shot and acted study in family dysfunction, racism, and the pathology of masculinity.”—Cinematheque Ontario

Friday, August 15, 2008
7:00 p.m. Last Year at Marienbad
It’s déjà vu all over the place in this new print of Alain Robbe-Grillet and Alain Resnais’s elegant, labyrinthine puzzle. Repeated on August 17.

Friday, August 15, 2008
8:55 p.m. Harakiri
Masaki Kobayashi’s breathtaking epic, starring Tatsuya Nakadai, is “probably the best samurai film ever made.”—Washington Post

Sunday, August 17, 2008
3:30 p.m. Lawrence of Arabia
Embedding the enigma of T. E. Lawrence in unforgettable desert images, David Lean and cinematographer Freddie Young created “an astonishing, unrepeatable epic.”—Chicago Tribune

Sunday, August 17, 2008
7:30 p.m. Last Year at Marienbad
See August 15.

Friday, August 22, 2008
7:00 p.m. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Don Siegel alien-ates the normal, finding science-fiction terrors in small-town California.

Friday, August 22, 2008
8:40 p.m. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick harnesses the widescreen, epic format for an intensely metaphysical experience in space and time.

Saturday, August 23, 2008
9:00 p.m. In Cold Blood
Richard Brooks’s adaptation of Truman Capote’s book is a compelling account of a brutal murder and an ironic, visually transfixing portrait of the American heartland.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
7:30 p.m. The 400 Blows
François Truffaut’s quintessential coming-of-age film is a lyrical but unsentimental portrait of adolescence and of Paris, naturalistically captured by cinematographer Henri Decaë.

Friday, August 29, 2008
6:30 p.m. Bells Are Ringing
Judy Holliday mixes poignancy with hilarity in Vincente Minnelli’s graceful musical.

Friday, August 29, 2008
9:00 p.m. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield in Frank Tashlin’s brilliantly composed ode to and exposé of Madison Avenue.

Saturday, August 30, 2008
6:00 p.m. Yojimbo
Toshiro Mifune is a sly mercenary in Kurosawa’s tongue-in-cheek anti-epic. “A visually faultless and highly sophisticated satire on violence and human weakness.”—Sight and Sound

Series curated by Kathy Geritz, with thanks to Edith Kramer and PFA’s Film Collection staff: Mona Nagai, Jon Shibata, and Pamela Jean Smith.