As a special midsummer interlude here at the Harvard Film Archive, we have assembled a month-long series that focuses entirely on works from the Archive’s extensive holdings of more than 5,000 prints. Presented repertory-style in homage to the art-house programs of a bygone era, Cinema A to Z embraces its subject literally: beginning with Jan Lenica’s animated allegorical short A and concluding with Costa-Gavras’s political thriller Z. Taking the alphabet (minus the letter x) as our curatorial template, we have sampled the diverse spectrum of cinematic expression in a lively cross-section of the Archive’s collection.
Acquired over the past two decades, the collection has several current areas of concentration. Of particular note are our holdings of European "auteurist" cinema—from classic directors Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, and Robert Bresson to major figures of the French and Eastern European New Waves and the post-neo-realist Italian cinema. Equally represented are pioneering figures of the American independent cinema: both industry mavericks like John Huston and Haskell Wexler and more contemporary figures like Terrence Malick and Hal Hartley. Our presentation this month includes major works from nearly every genre of mainstream cinema—a Lubitsch comedy, a Mamoulian musical, an Anthony Mann Western, a Billy Wilder drama—as well as seminal examples from the cinematic avant-garde and the world of animation. In the centennial year of the birth of Luis Buñuel, we are able to highlight the finest work of this pioneering director, well represented in our collection. Finally, there are Orson Welles and Jean Vigo, without whom this season, the Harvard Film Archive, and the history of the medium would be vastly diminished. Treasures all.
We invite you to partake of this cornucopia of cinema liberally. A single admission fee will gain you entry to all the features and shorts presented on a given evening. Stock up on this filmic feast, for we will be closed the month of August for renovation of our projection facilities. See you in September with a new season that includes our usual eclectic mix of cutting-edge new work, rare archival rediscoveries, and classic repertoire.