Press Release nr98-122
Press Release · Monday, July 27, 1998

Washington, DC

Press Release
July 27, 1998
September Films at the National Archives

Washington, DC . . . In September the National Archives and Records Administration will be celebrating the 211th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States, a separate release lists films highlighting early American history. This month, the National Archives also present its Design and Politics in Film and a special 59th anniversary screening of Louisiana Story.

The programs are free and open to the public. The screenings will be held in the theater of the National Archives Building, Pennsylvania Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. The public may verify times and dates by calling the National Archives public events line at (202) 501-5000.

Friday, September 25
Special 50th Anniversary Documentary Screening
Louisiana Story, 1948. Fifty years ago, American documentary film pioneer Robert Flaherty was hired by the Standard Oil Company to make a film about the process of oil drilling and the risks involved. The resulting film, set in the Louisiana bayou country, far exceeded its original mandate. Focusing on the story of a small boy who meets and observes the oil workers, this lyrical film combined beautiful photography and Virgil Thompson’s evocative music and emerges as an American documentary classic. William Murphy, a National Archives audiovisual specialist and author of a book on Robert Flaherty, will introduce the film. (77 minutes.) Noon. Theater.

Tuesday, September 29 -- Film Discussion, Video Presentation, and Booksigning
Design and Politics in Film
Peter Brunette, professor of English and film studies at George Mason University, will discuss "Michelangelo Antonioni: Beyond Angst and Alienation" and will show video clips from the director’s films. In an attempt to go beyond the usual characterization of Antonioni's films as explorations of angst and alienation, Brunette will illustrate the director's use of abstract design as well as his exploration of political themes, such as the status of women, the effect of the postwar Italian economic boom, and the role of the intellectual in Italian society of the time. Brunette’s earlier works include a book on the films of Roberto Rossellini. His new book, The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni, provides an overview of the Italian director’s life and work and examines six of his most important and intellectually challenging films. Published in hardcover and in paperback by Cambridge University Press. This event is co-sponsored with the Italian Cultural Institute. 7 P.M. Theater.

Tuesday, September 29 - Film
Design and Politics in Film
La Notte, 1961. Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau play husband and wife--he's also a famous novelist--in director Michaelangelo Antonioni's masterful study of modern relationships and the intellectual's place in the Italy of the postwar economic boom. Parental guidance suggested. (121 minutes.) 8: P.M. Theater.

Wednesday, September 30
Design and Politics in Film
Red Desert, 1964. In conjunction with Peter Brunette’s lecture (September 29 at 7:00 p.m.) we present Antonioni’s film which critics have hailed as a masterpiece of color cinematography (by Carlo Di Palma, later Woody Allen’s favorite cameraman) and set design. The film depicts the difficulty a neurotic young wife and mother (Monica Vitti) has living in the modern industrial world. Richard Harris plays the man who (ambiguously) tries to help her cope. In Italian with English subtitles. Parental guidance suggested. (116 minutes.) 7 P.M. Theater.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.


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