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John Gianvito Collection

John Gianvito is an independent film director based in Boston, where he also holds an Associate Professorship in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College. He has taught at numerous major universities in New England and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Robert Flaherty International Film Seminar. His extensive curatorial work also includes a five-year appointment as Film Programmer at the Harvard Film Archive. 

He made his debut as a director in 1978 with his short film The Direct Approach and rose to prominence with the subsequent feature The Flower of Pain (1983), a semi-autobiographical film about an adolescent relationship structured as a series of fragments, or “shards of memory” in Gianvito’s words. Commenting on the film to the Viennale, Gianvito described his attempt at “stripping away as much personal anecdotal material as possible, and concentrating on uncovering within each scene the disruptions, the unconscious and conscious mistakes.” Most recently, Gianvito has made Vapor Trail (Clark) which had its world premiere at International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2010. That same year, his documentary Profit Move and the Whispering Wind (2007), inspired by Howard Zinn’s famous tome A People’s History of the United States, was named one of the fifty greatest documentaries of all time by Time Out New York. For his extraordinary and unique contributions to cinema, Gianvito received the French honorary title of Knight in the Order of Art and Letters in 2001. 

Wen Zhuang

About the Collection

The John Gianvito Collection includes negatives, sound elements, and prints of Flower of Pain, The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein, and The Direct Approach. A complete list of material within the collection can be found in the Harvard Library catalog.

Related programs

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Wake (Subic)
by John Gianvito

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Vapor Trail (Clark) by John Gianvito