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World Cinema Foundation: Safeguarding Cinematic Treasures 

January 15, 2011 - February 10, 2011

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A surprisingly sophisticated melodrama from prewar Hungary, a 1964 Turkish prize-winner later suppressed by the government, a Mexican film from 1936 shot by pioneering photographer Paul Strand, and a 1991 Taiwanese coming-of-age masterpiece little seen since its original festival run: these are but a few of the world cinematic classics brought to us by Martin Scorsese’s essential World Cinema Foundation.

As described in their literature, the “World Cinema Foundation (WCF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and restoring neglected films from around the world—in particular, those countries lacking the financial and technical ability to do so. Established by Scorsese yet comprised of an advisory board of international filmmakers (including Guillermo Del Toro, Abbas Kiarostami, Abderrahmane Sissako, Wim Wenders, and Wong Kar Wai, among many others), the Foundation supports and encourages preservation efforts to save the worldwide patrimony of films, ensuring that they are preserved, seen, and shared. Its goal is to defend the body and spirit of cinema in the belief that preserving works of the past can encourage future generations to treat film as a universal form of expression. Composed of filmmakers from every continent, the Foundation breathes life into the idea that when a cultural patrimony is lost, no matter how small or supposedly ’marginal‘ the country might be, we are all poorer for it.”


Jason Sanders
FILM NOTES WRITER

Saturday, January 15, 2011
6:30 p.m. A Brighter Summer Day
Edward Yang (Taiwan, 1991). Young teens come of age in the politically charged Taipei of the 1960s in this Taiwanese New Wave masterpiece, starring a young Zhang Zhen (Red Cliff). “It has a novelistic richness of character, setting, and milieu unmatched by any other 90s film . . . a Rebel Without a Cause with much of the same nocturnal lyricism and cosmic despair”(Jonathan Rosenbaum). (240 mins)

Sunday, January 16, 2011
3:00 p.m. Two Girls on the Street
André De Toth (Hungary, 1939). A surprisingly polished, sophisticated melodrama from prewar Hungary, made by Hollywood genre-master André De Toth (Pitfall, House of Wax, Crime Wave) before he fled his native land. Two young women attempt to get ahead in Budapest, with predictably uncertain results. (85 mins)

Thursday, January 20, 2011
7:00 p.m. Dry Summer
Metin Erksan (Turkey, 1964). Banned for years in its native Turkey, this Berlin Film Festival prize-winner from 1964 infuses Italian neorealism with the vibrant traditions of Turkish folk culture and songs, and tells of a wealthy farmer who exploits his fellow villagers. “An uncompromisingly brutal portrait of power, greed, and passion, yet stylistically it is quite startling” (London Film Festival). (75 mins)

Saturday, January 22, 2011
6:30 p.m. Al Momia
Shadi Abdel Salam (Egypt, 1969). One of the first Egyptian films ever released in the United States, Al Momia tells the story of an isolated tribe whose only means of subsistence is to raid their nation’s historic tombs for profit. A detective story, historical drama, and cultural metaphor rolled into one. “The picture has a sense of history like no other, and in the end, the film is strangely, even hauntingly consoling” (Martin Scorsese). (103 mins)

Saturday, January 22, 2011
8:35 p.m. The Housemaid
Kim Ki-Young (South Korea, 1960). This “Korean expressionist masterpiece . . . makes Fatal Attraction look like The Brady Bunch” (Chris Berry). Lecherous fathers, hard-working mothers, lewd housemaids, looming staircases, and rat poison: just another “normal” Korean household, gone to seed. “One of the best Korean films of all time” (Koreanfilm.org). (107 mins)

Sunday, January 23, 2011
4:00 p.m. The Wave
Fred Zinnemann, Emilio Gómez Muriel (Mexico, 1936). Photographer Paul Strand shot this dramatized documentary about a fishermen’s strike against an exploitative merchant in the Gulf of Veracruz. A fascinating document of Mexican Indian culture and social reform. (65 mins)

Saturday, January 29, 2011
6:30 p.m. Touki Bouki
Djibril Diop-Mambéty (Senegal, 1973). Two youths cruise the streets of Dakar on a motorbike, looking for adventure and scams, in this African Easy Rider, awash with the raw energy of urban Senegal and global psychedelic youth culture. “Surreal, richly sumptuous, quite extraordinary”(Telegraph UK ). (88 mins)

Thursday, February 10, 2011
7:00 p.m. Trances
Ahmed El Maanouni (Morocco, 1981). The mighty Moroccan music group Nass El Ghiwane is the subject of this powerful concert film/documentary, a must-see for anyone interested in Moroccan music and culture. Martin Scorsese’s first choice for his World Cinema Foundation’s restoration work, and a key influence on Peter Gabriel’s Last Temptation of Christ soundtrack. (87 mins)

SERIES CURATED BY SUSAN OXTOBY. PFA WISHES TO THANK THE FOLLOWING INDIVIDUALS AND INSTITUTIONS FOR THEIR ASSISTANCE WITH THIS SERIES: CECILIA CENCIARELLI AND CARMEN ACCAPUTO, CINETECA DI BOLOGNA; KENT JONES, WORLD CINEMA FOUNDATION; AND FLORENCE ALMOZINI, BAMCINEMATEK.