Program Type: 
Great Directors Speak!
April 01, 2012 - April 28, 2012
Screening Room


Great Directors Speak!
Apr 1–28 • Screening Room
Admission per film: $8 Regular/ $6 YBCA member

This seven-film program is a series of portraits of world-class directors discussing their work. From the epic (Sodankylä Forever) to the intimate (the Scorsese documentary), these films provide a rare opportunity to hear filmmakers speaking openly and directly.

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  • Sodankylä Forever : The Century of the Cinema and The Yearning for the First Cinema Experience
    Apr 1, 2012 1:00pm
    Screening Room

    By Peter Von Bagh
    The Midnight Sun Film Festival is held every June in the Finnish village of Sodankylä beyond the Arctic Circle — where the sun never sets. Founded by Aki and Mika Kaurismäki along with Peter Von Bagh in 1985, the festival has played host to an international who’s who of directors and each day begins with a two-hour discussion. To mark the festival’s silver anniversary, festival director Peter Von Bagh edited together highlights from these dialogues to create an epic four-part oral history of cinema drawn from the anecdotes, insights, and wisdom of his all-star cast. Ranging across innumerable topics (war, censorship, movie stars, formative influences, neorealism) these voices, many now passed away, engage in a personal dialogue across the years that’s by turns charming, profound, hilarious and moving. (2011, 149 min total running time, digital, ten minute intermission between parts)

    The Century of the Cinema: The twentieth century as told by great filmmakers. The origin stories of films reveal histories lived, stories from childhood, and the early years “before I became a filmmaker.” Featuring, among others: Michael Powell, Abbas Kiarostami, Joseph H. Lewis, Youssef Chahine and Francis Ford Coppola.

    The Yearning for the First Cinema Experience: The question that always opens the discussion: What is the first film you saw? So often that “chance” foreshadows the future artist’s identity as a filmmaker. Featuring, among others: Samuel Fuller, Jean Rouch, Agnes Varda, Jerzy Skolimowski and Jafar Panahi.

  • Marcel Ophuls and Jean-Luc Godard: The Meeting in St-Gervais
    Apr 5, 2012 6:30pm
    Screening Room

    By Frederic Choffat and Vincent Lowy
    In 2009, in a small theater in Geneva, Switzerland, Marcel Ophuls and Jean-Luc Godard met for an intimate and sometimes contentious dialogue in front of a live audience. Luckily for us, it was filmed. Ophuls' film The Sorrow And The Pity triggers Godard to discuss his personal and fragmented childhood memories about his escape to Switzerland during World War II, while Ophuls recalls the controversy surrounding the release of his film in France. Throughout their meeting, the two directors debate about national and ethnic identities, what it means to be Jewish, the role of the director, and auteur theory. (2010, 44 min, digital)

    Double feature with John Casavetes by André S. Labarthe.

  • John Cassavetes
    Apr 5, 2012 6:30pm
    Screening Room

    By André S. Labarthe
    John Cassavetes, at the dawn of his career, is the subject of this rare portrait. When we first meet him in 1965, he has made three films: the ground-breaking independent Shadows and two disastrous Hollywood projects. While driving a convertible through the canyons of Hollywood he discusses Faces — his response to his Hollywood experience — and we meet the crew and see the start of editing. Three years later, with Faces finally completed, Cassavetes is a different man, more mature and introspective. With Gena Rowlands looking on, he discusses American society, and contrasts Shadows, a film about adolescence and hope, with Faces, a film about middle age and disenchantment. (1969, 50 min, digital)

    Double feature with Marcel Opuls and Jean-Luc Godard: The Meeting in St-Gervais by Frederic Choffat and Vincent Lowy.

  • Sodankylä Forever : Eternal Time and Drama of Light
    Apr 8, 2012 1:00pm
    Screening Room

    By Peter Von Bagh
    The second installment of our screenings from the Midnight Sun Film Festival continues with two additional compilations. (2011, 112 min total running time, digital)

    Eternal Time: Filmmakers weave personal tales about the films and colleagues who have left the most permanent memories. Featuring, among others: Victor Erice, Wim Wenders, Pedro Costa, Claude Chabrol and Emir Kusturica.

    Drama of Light: The leading character of the festival is light: from the light of the film projector to the light of the midnight sun. We talk about actors, including first-hand accounts of what it meant to direct Bogart, Monroe, and many others. Featuring, among others: Monte Hellman, Robert Wise, Bob Rafelson, Milos Forman and Roy Ward Baker.

  • Robert Bresson: Without a Trace
    Apr 12, 2012 6:30pm
    Screening Room

    By François Weyergans
    Robert Bresson (1901-1999) was one of cinema's great artists. Completing 13 feature films in a career that spanned more than four decades, Bresson directed masterpieces such as A Man Escaped, Pickpocket, Diary of a Country Priest, and The Trial of Joan of Arc. Directors from Godard to Tarkovsky, from Fassbinder to Scorsese, have cited him as a major influence on their work. Filmed mostly in Bresson’s country home in 1965, this extremely rare on-camera interview features the director describing his singular approach to filmmaking: from the inspiration behind his films, to his ideas on the use of sound, actors, editing and music. (1965, 64 min, digital)

    Double feature with Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman.

  • Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman
    Apr 12, 2012 6:30pm
    Screening Room

    By Chantal Akerman
    A self-portrait by Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman. The first part opens with Akerman in her apartment, reading from a text directly to the camera, describing the often humorous problems she encountered making this film. The second lets Akerman’s films speak for her, taking clips from her extensive filmography and linking them anonymously until they form a new film. There are scenes from Jeanne Dielman, her best-known film, but also glimpses of several other works — her forays into experimental film, comedic shorts, musicals, and narrative features. (1996, 64 min, digital)

    Double feature with Robert Bresson: Without a Trace by François Weyergans.

  • HHH: A Portrait of Hou Hsiao-Hsien
    Apr 26, 2012 6:30pm
    Screening Room

    By Olivier Assayas
    Hou Hsiao-Hsien is considered by many to be the greatest Taiwanese filmmaker of all time, but does he consider himself a Taiwanese or a Chinese film director? Examining questions of identity and “native land,” Hou returns to the setting of his youth to talk to childhood friends and discuss his films. His body of work, and the emergence of the Taiwanese “Nouvelle Vague,” must be located within the context of an intellectual movement that united Taiwanese writers, journalists and filmmakers at the end of the 1970s. This movement became possible only with the end of censorship, a prerequisite for free discussions, through film and literature, about Taiwan's society. (1996, 91 min, digital)

  • Notes on an American Film Director at Work: Martin Scorsese
    Apr 28, 2012 6:30pm
    Screening Room

    By Jonas Mekas
    “I originally met Martin Scorsese when he was still a film student at the New York University. He used to come to my film screenings. But our real friendship began when he made his first feature film, Who’s That Knocking at My Door. I was asked to make a film about Marty to introduce a retrospective of his films. As it happened, Marty was shooting The Departed at that time. I asked him if I could follow him for a week or two, and he said yes. So that’s how this film happened. It’s a chamber kind of movie, a personal tribute to a friend.” (Jonas Mekas) (2005/8, 80 min, digital)

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YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
Abundance Foundation
Koret Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Novellus Systems