The Alloy Orchestra

For more than a decade, the F.I.L.M. (Forum on Image and Language in Motion) series has been honored to present the Alloy Orchestra — Terry Donahue, Roger Miller, and Ken Winokur — performing their own scores for major classic films.

Dubbed “the best in the world at accompanying silent film” by the late film critic Roger Ebert, the trio will open the fall F.I.L.M. series when they visit Hamilton one last time before the musicians go their separate ways.

On Friday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m., they will provide live accompaniment for Buster Keaton’s The General (1926), an epic action thriller that set the standard for dangerous stunts by director and star Keaton.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, at 4 p.m., the Alloy Orchestra will accompany one of the great sci-fi/fantasy films, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927).

These and all F.I.L.M. series events are free and open to the public and take place in the Bradford Auditorium, KJ.

Organizer and Professor of Art History Scott MacDonald has directed the F.I.L.M. series for more than 25 years.

Listed below are additional programs in the fall 2019 series.

Sunday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m.: Pawel Wojtasik and John Bruce present End of Life (2019)

Pawel Wojtasik (Single Stream, Nine Gates) returns to F.I.L.M. with co-director John Bruce to present their new feature film, End of Life, a series of portraits of women and men at the edge of mortality itself.

Wojtasik, whose work has been shown at MASS MoCA, the Whitney Biennial, and the Museum of the Moving Image, is known for his poetic reflections on cultures and ecosystems in films and large-scale installations.

John Bruce – a production manager, art director, and platform producer for several feature films and transmedia projects addressing social issues – teaches at Parsons School of Design, where he leads the Design for Living and Dying studio in the Transdisciplinary MFA program.

Sunday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m.: Cinema Sarah Lawrence Director Jay Craven will present a work-in-progress rough-cut of sections of a new film, Martin Eden

During the 2019 spring semester, four members of the Class of 2021 — Karina Bayrakdarian, Jane Nealey, Vale Medina, and Ava Witonski — along with students from other colleges and professional actors and crew members from around the country, participated in the production of a new feature film based on the Jack London novel, Martin Eden.

Cinema Sarah Lawrence Director Jay Craven will present a rough-cut with the hope that those who see the film-in-progress will have useful suggestions for him.

Saturday, Nov. 2, from noon to 4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 3, from noon to 3:30 p.m.: Paul Cronin presents A Time to Stir (2018), his epic, 7 ½-hour immersion in the Columbia University revolt of 1968

Cronin recorded conversations with 700 veterans of that moment — students, faculty, Harlem residents, police, anyone who had clear memories to share — and in 2018 finished editing this document of a crucial moment in American political history.

A Time to Stir is an opportunity to cinematically “sit in” with the Columbia students, share the experience of those who witnessed it, and see, hear, and feel what this event was and something of what it meant.

Maurice Isserman, the Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History, will join Cronin in a discussion following Sunday’s screening.

Sunday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m.: Yu Yonggang’s The Goddess, with live accompaniment by Min Xiao Fen on pipa and Rez Abassi on guitar, playing their own score

The Goddess is a 1934 Chinese silent film about a young woman trapped in the sex trade. The woman is played by Ruan Lingyu (also known as Lily Yuen), one of the most prominent Chinese film stars of the 1930s. Her exceptional acting ability (and suicide at the age of 24) led her to become an icon of Chinese cinema.

The film will be accompanied by Min Xiao-Fen, a pipa soloist, vocalist, and composer, and guitarist Rez Abassi. Xiao-Fen’s original score for the film premiered in 2018.  

Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 4:15 p.m.: Sharon Lockhart presents an artist’s talk and her newest film Rudzienko (2016, 54 minutes)

In recent years, photographer and filmmaker Sharon Lockhart has been working in Poland, doing a kind of cine- and photo-archaeology of everyday life.

In collaboration with the residents of the Youth Center for Sociotherapy in Rudzienko, Poland, Lockhart conceived of a series of workshops to empower young women. She worked with a group to develop dialog and enacted movements based on their collective activities. The resulting film, Rudzienko, was shot over a period of two years. It proposes an innovative approach to the relationship between image and language.

Lockhart’s feature landscape film, Double Tide (2009), will be shown earlier in the day as part of MacDonald’s Avant-Garde cinema class. The screening will take place at 1 p.m., in the Bradford Auditorium, and is free and open to the public.

Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m.: Dominic Gagnon presents Going South (2018)

One of the pioneers of a new kind of found-footage cinema, Montréaler Dominic Gagnon explores YouTube and other on-line posting sites as if they were new geographic territories. He provides engaging and often disconcerting reports on what he has found.

His controversial of the North (2015) was the first installment of a planned series of four feature videos  designed for the big screen, each focusing on postings that Gagnon discovered by searching online the words for particular directions — “north,” for of the North; and most recently, “south,” for Going South.

MacDonald will offer a free screening of of the North in his Avant-Garde film class on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m., in the Bradford Auditorium.


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