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Polanski, Helmrich & Quay Bros. Among MoMA’s September Exhibitions

Polanski, Helmrich & Quay Bros. Among MoMA's September Exhibitions

The Museum of Modern Art, long one of New York’s finest theaters for repertory and contemporary films, has announced its slate of screenings for the month of September.

Highlights include a retrospective of Roman Polanski’s films, the premiere of Leonard Retel Helmrich’s “Position Among the Stars,” and a screening of “Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting,” with the directors, the Quay brothers, present.

Full press release reprinted below:

ContemporAsian: Aditya Assarat’s Hi-So

September 8–14, 2011

2010. Thailand. Directed by Aditya Assarat. With Ananda Everingham, Cerise Leang, Sajee Apiwong. Upon returning to Thailand from San Francisco, Ananda gets a starring role in a film shot off-season at a desolate vacation spot in the countryside. His American girlfriend, Zoe, comes to visit, but as the shooting proceeds she becomes plagued by boredom and isolation, and the relationship soon sours. Several months later, Ananda is living in Bangkok with his new Thai girlfriend, May, whom he met on set. Everything goes well at first, but as Ananda becomes increasingly caught up in his expat social circle, May begins to feel isolated and unhappy as well. The film’s gentle and at times self-reflexive camerawork explores the internal loneliness of young people adrift between cultures and languages—people who feel displaced and disconnected with the memory of, and debris from, the 2004 tsunami ever present in the background. In Thai, English; English subtitles. 102 min.

Roman Polanski
September 7-30, 2011
Roman Polanski (b. Paris, 1933) has, over the course of a half century, become recognized as one of the great modern masters of the cinema. Many of his films are infused with a mysterious, difficult-to-define sense of dread, which is understandable given much of his early life experience. Polanski’s parents were sent to a concentration camp, where his mother died, and he lived as a fugitive Jewish teenager in Nazi-occupied Poland. His 1984 autobiography begins, “For as far back as I can remember, the line between fantasy and reality has been hopelessly blurred,” and his films use the fantastical elements of cinema to make sense of the extraordinary reality he has experienced.

This view of the world as something menacing is present from his debut feature, Knife in the Water (1962), through his award-winning The Ghost Writer (2010). And yet the depth of feeling in his Oscar-winning Holocaust film The Pianist speaks for itself. Like Alfred Hitchcock, who is in some sense Polanski’s stylistic mentor, the threat of chaos is always overlaid with wryly absurdist, dark humor—and frequently a triumphant humanism.

ContemporAsian: Leonard Retel Helmrich’s Position Among the Stars

September 15–21, 2011

This special ContemporAsian presentation features the premiere of Position Among the Stars, Leonard Retel Helmrich’s final installment in his trilogy on Indonesia. This award-winning trilogy documents three generations of the sprawling Sjamsuddin family and examines the effects of globalization on Indonesia during the 13-year period when the films were shot. Helmrich captures the tumult of a transforming nation—and the joys and trying times of one family—with his signature style, Single Shot Cinema, which employs long individual takes to document the emotional subtleties of the action. Each film in the trilogy can be seen as a stand-alone feature; together they represent a world. The third film in the trilogy receives a weeklong run at MoMA, and on September 17 and 18 the three films will be screened consecutively. A special ContemporAsian presentation organized for MoMA by Jytte Jensen, Curator. Grateful acknowledgment to HBO Documentary and Films Transit International. Position Among the Stars will have its US broadcast premiere on HBO2 on September 28, 2011.

*Please note there will be a press screening of Position Among the Stars held on September 7 and 13 at the HBO Theatre. Please see the attached invite if you are interested in attending.

Yeonghwa: New Korean Films
September 22–October 2, 2011
This second season of Yeonghwa: New Korean Films, yeonghwa being the Korean word for film, includes nine new feature films including Rolling Home with a Bull by Lee Soon-rye whose 1996 Three Friends was the first film by a female Korean filmmaker to be shown in New Directors/New Films and is enriched by a program of award-winning short films by major directors, and supplemented with a two film retrospective of the late popular director Lee Man-Hee. Of particular interest is the presentation of all three films in Jeon Kyu-hwan’s Town Trilogy—Dance Town (2010), Animal Town (2009), and Mozart Town (2008).

MoMA Premiere: Through the Weeping Glass: An Evening with the Quay Brothers
September 24, 2011
As part of a limited three-city tour that includes premieres in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, the Museum presents Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum), a new work by the American born, British-based, independent filmmakers the Quay Brothers (b. 1947). In the tradition of their past museum documentaries—The Phantom Museum (2003), about London’s Sir Henry Wellcome Collection, and Inventorium of Traces (2009), on Poland’s Łańcut Castle—the Quays return to the city where they began their education as graphic designers to explore the medical science collections of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum. Sampling shadowed archives, antique volumes, and rare artifacts, Through the Weeping Glass investigates marvels of pathology and anatomical oddity, finding poetry in the ill-fated, true-life stories of the “ossified man,” Harry Eastlack, and famed Siamese twins Cheng and Eng Bunker. The “making of” documentary Behind the Scenes with the Quay Brothers, shot during production, will also premiere. Directors Stephen and Timothy Quay will be present to discuss the film with producer Edward Waisnis, writer David Spolum, and moderator Barbara London.

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