Anthology Film Archives

A very special series of films screened on a repertory basis, the Essential Cinema Repertory collection consists of 110 programs/330 titles assembled in 1970-75 by Anthology’s Film Selection Committee: James Broughton, Ken Kelman, Peter Kubelka, P. Adams Sitney, and Jonas Mekas.

It was an ambitious attempt to define the art of cinema. The project was never completed, but even in its unfinished state the series provides an uncompromising critical overview of cinema’s history.

Essential Cinema programs screen as a cycle throughout each year – tickets for these screenings are $8 general, and are free for members!

"In 1968, thanks to the foresight of Jerome Hill, a filmmaker and a visionary philanthropist, there arose an occasion to create in New York a film museum dedicated exclusively to film as an art. Lengthy discussions took place to determine the purposes and functions of the new museum. It was decided that one of its main functions would be to serve as a continuous critical tool in the investigation of the essential works created in cinema. Therefore it was decided to create what became known as the Essential Cinema Repertory collection.

A special Film Selection Committee was created to begin to compile such a repertory. The understanding was that the Committee would constitute a permanent part of Anthology Film Archives and that it would continue into the future reviewing old and new cinema works, in all their different manifestations, and keep adding and expanding the Essential Cinema Repertory collection.

With the enthusiastic support of Jerome Hill, the Committee, consisting of P. Adams Sitney, Peter Kubelka, James Broughton, Ken Kelman, and myself – and for a brief period Stan Brakhage – began its work. During the following few years it held numerous and lengthy selection sessions, compiling the first Essential Cinema Repertory collection consisting of about 330 titles.

But fate had other plans for us. In February 1973 Jerome Hill died. The Avon Foundation, Jerome’s foundation behind the Anthology project, which had built a special, Invisible Cinema theater, designed by Peter Kubelka and had paid for the acquisition of all the prints voted into the Essential Cinema collection and the running of Anthology, was taken over by people who did not share Jerome’s vision. All funding to the Anthology project was cut off. Anthology had to move from the 425 Lafayette Street location, first to 80 Wooster Street, then to 491
 Broadway, and then to its present location. The Essential
Cinema Repertory project was frozen until such time as another visionary such as Jerome Hill will appear.

The Essential Cinema Repertory, from its very inception, was strongly and sometimes wildly attacked by those who were not familiar with the history of the project for exclusion of many important films. They were not aware of the fact that the Essential Cinema Repertory was intended to serve as a permanent critical tool with new titles continuously added including possibly the titles that the critics of Anthology had in mind.

As one looks back through the last thirty years of the history of cinema in the United States, one has to admit that even in its unfinished state, the Essential Cinema Repertory collection, as an uncompromising critical statement on the avant-garde film of the period, has dramatically changed perceptions of the history of the American avant-garde film. The avant-garde film has become an essential part of cinema.”

–Jonas Mekas


Films in the Essential Cinema Repertory: 

James Agee:
In the Street, 1952 (with Levitt and Loeb)

Kenneth Anger:
Fireworks, 1947
Puce Moment, 1949-70
Eaux D’Artifice, 1953
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 1954-66
Scorpio Rising, 1963
Kustom Kar Kommandos, 1965
Invocation of My Demon Brother, 1969
Rabbit’s Moon, 1950-70
Lucifer Rising, 1974

Bruce Baillie:
Mass, 1963-64
Quixote, 1965
Castro Street, 1966
All My Life, 1966
Valentin de las Sierras, 1968
Quick Billy, 1971

Robert Beavers:
From the Notebook of..., 1971

Jordan Belson:
Allures, 1961
Re-entry, 1964
Phenomena, 1965
Samadhi, 1967
Momentum, 1968
Cosmos, 1969
World, 1970
Meditation, 1971
Chakra, 1972

Stan Brakhage:
Desistfilm, 1954
Reflections on Black, 1955
The Wonder Ring, 1955
Flesh of Morning, 1956
Loving, 1956
Daybreak and White Eye, 1957
Anticipation of the Night, 1958
Window Water Baby Moving, 1959
Cat’s Cradle, 1959
Sirius Remembered, 1959
The Dead, 1960
Thigh Line Lyre Triangular, 1961
Mothlight, 1963
Blue Moses, 1963
Dog Star Man, 1961-64
The Art of Vision, 1965
Pasht, 1965
Bluewhite, Blood’s Tone, Vein, 1965
Fire of Waters, 1965
The Horseman, The Woman, & The Moth, 1968
Lovemaking, 1968
Songs, 1-14, 1964-65
Songs 15-22, 1965-66
23rd Psalm Branch, 1966
Songs 24-27, 1967-68
Songs 28-30, 1968-69
Scenes From Under Childhood, I-IV, 1969-70
The Weir-Falcon Saga, 1970
Sexual Meditation No. 1: Motel, 1970
The Machine of Eden, 1970
The Animals of Eden and After, 1970
Angels’, 1971
Door, 1971
Western History, 1971
The Peaceable Kingdom, 1971
Eyes, 1971
Deus Ex, 1971
Sexual Meditation: Room with View, 1971
The Shores of Phos: A Fable, 1972
The Wold Shadow, 1972
The Riddle of Lumen, 1972
The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes, 1972
Sincerity, 1973
The Text of Light, 1974

Robert Breer:
Form Phases 1, 1952
Form Phases 2, 1953
Recreation, 1956
Motion Pictures No. 1, 1956
Jamestown Baloos, 1957
Eyewash, 1959
Blazes, 1961
Pat’s Birthday, 1962
Breathing, 1963
Fist Fight, 1964
66, 1966
69, 1969
70, 1971
Gulls & Buoys, 1972
Fuji, 1974

Robert Bresson:
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne, 1944 (The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne)
Le Journal d’un Curé de Campagne, 1950 (Diary of A Country Priest)
Un Condamné à Mort s’est Echappé, 1956 (A Man Escaped)
Pickpocket, 1959
Au Hasard, Balthazar, 1966
Mouchette, 1966
Une Femme Douce, 1969 (A Gentle Creature)

James Broughton:
The Potted Psalm, 1946 (with Sidney Peterson)
Mother’s Day, 1948
Four in the Afternoon, 1951
Loony Tom, the Happy Lover, 1951
The Pleasure Garden, 1953
The Bed, 1968
Nuptiae, 1969
The Golden Positions, 1970
This Is It, 1971
Dreamwood, 1972
Testament, 1974
High Kukus, 1974

Luis Buñuel:
Un Chien Andalou, 1928 (An Andalusian Dog) (with Salvador Dali)
L’Age D’Or, 1930 (The Golden Age)
Land Without Bread, 1932
Los Olvidados, 1950 (The Forgotten)

Alberto Cavalcanti:
Rien que les Heures, 1927 (Nothing but the Hours)

Charlie Chaplin:
A Woman, 1915
A Night in the Show, 1915
Easy Street, 1917
Cure, 1917
Payday, 1922
The Gold Rush, 1925
Selected Features (One Program per Cycle)
Selected Shorts (One Program per Cycle)

René Clair:
Entr’acte, 1924 (with Francis Picabia)

Jean Cocteau:
La Sang d’un Poete, 1930 (The Blood of a Poet)
La Belle et la Bete, 1946 (Beauty and the Beast)
Orphée, 1950
Le Testament D’Orphée, 1960 (The Testament of Orpheus)

Bruce Conner:
A Movie, 1958
Cosmic Ray, 1961
Report, 1965

Tony Conrad:
The Flicker, 1966

Joseph Cornell:
Rose Hobart, 1939
Cotillion (finished by Larry Jordan, 1969)
The Midnight Party (finished by Larry Jordan, 1969)
The Children’s Party (finished by Larry Jordan, 1969)
Centuries of June, 1955
Aviary, 1955
Gnir Rednow, 1955
Nymphlight, ca. 1957
A Legend for Fountains (photographed ca. 1957; completed in 1970)
Angel, ca. 1957

Douglass Crockwell:
Glens Falls Sequence, 1946
The Long Bodies, 1949

Maya Deren:
Meshes of the Afternoon, 1943 (with Alexander Hammid)
At Land, 1944
A Study in Choreography for Camera, 1945
Ritual in Transfigured Time, 1946

Alexandr Dovzhenko:
Zvenigora, 1928
Arsenal, 1929
Zemlya, 1930 (Earth)
Ivan, 1932
Aerograd, 1935 (Frontier)

Carl Th. Dreyer:
Prastankan, 1921 (The Parson’s Widow)
Michael, 1924
La Passion de Jeanne D’Arc, 1928 (The Passion of Joan of Arc)
Vampyr, 1932
Vredens Dag, 1943 (Day of Wrath)
Ordet, 1955 (The Word)
Gertrud, 1965

Marcel Duchamp:
Anemic Cinema, 1926 (with Man Ray)

Viking Eggeling:
Symphonie Diagonale, 1924

Sergei Eisenstein:
Stachka, 1925 (Strike)
Bronenosets Potyomkin, 1925 (Battleship Potemkin)
Oktyabr, 1928 (October)
Staroye i Novoye, 1929 (Old and New)
Ivan Grozny, I, II, 1944, 1946 (Ivan the Terrible)

Jean Epstein:
La Glace à Trois Faces, 1927 (The Three-Sided Mirror)
La Chute de la Maison Usher, 1928 (The Fall of the House of Usher)

Louis Feuillade:
Fantomas, 1913-14
Les Vampires, 1915
Tih Minh, 1919

Robert Flaherty:
Nanook of the North, 1922
Man of Aran, 1934

Bob Fleischner:
Blonde Cobra, 1962 (with Ken Jacobs)

Hollis Frampton:
Zorns Lemma, 1970
Hapax Legomena I: (nostalgia), 1971

Georges Franju:
Le Sang des Betes, 1949 (Blood of the Beasts)

Robert Frank:
Pull My Daisy, 1959 (with Alfred Leslie)

Ernie Gehr:
Reverberation, 1969
Serene Velocity, 1970
Still, 1971

Jean Genet:
Un Chant D’Amour, 1950 (The Song of Love)

Dwinell Grant:
Contrathemis, 1941
Stop Motion Tests, 1942
Color Sequence, 1943

D. W. Griffith:
The Birth of a Nation, 1915
Intolerance, 1916

Alexander Hammid:
Meshes of the Afternoon, 1943 (with Maya Deren)

Marcel Hanoun:
Une Simple Histoire, 1958 (A Simple Story)
L’Hiver, 1959 (Winter)
Le Printemps, 1970 (Spring)

Jerome Hill:
Death in the Forenoon, 1955
Canaries, 1968
Film Portrait, 1971

Ian Hugo:
Bells of Atlantis, 1952

Ken Jacobs:
Little Stabs at Happiness, 1961
Blonde Cobra, 1962 (with Bob Fleischner)
Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son, 1969

Humphrey Jennings:
Listen to Britain, 1941

Larry Jordan:
Hamfat Asar, 1965
Duo Concertantes, 1962-64
Gymnopedies, 1968
The Old House, Passing, 1966
Our Lady of the Sphere, 1968

Buster Keaton:
Neighbors, 1920
The General, 1926
Selected Films (One Program per Cycle)

Dimitri Kirsanoff:
Menilmontant, 1924-25
Rapt, 1934

Peter Kubelka:
Mosaik im Vertauen, 1955 (Mosaic in Confidence)
Adebar, 1957
Schwechater, 1958
Arnulf Rainer, 1960
Unsere Afrikareise, 1966 (Our Trip to Africa)

George & Mike Kuchar:
Pussy on a Hot Tin Roof, 1961
Tootsies in Autumn, 1962

George Landow (a.k.a. Owen Land):
Fleming Faloon, 1964
Film in which there Appear, Sprocket Holes, Edge Lettering, Dirt Particles, etc., 1966
Diploteratology or Bardo Follies, 1967
The Film that Rises to the Surface of Clarified Butter, 1968
Institutional Quality, 1969
Remedial Reading Comprehension, 1971
What's Wrong With This Picture?, 1972
Thank You Jesus for the Eternal Present (Parts 1 & 2), 1973-74

Laurel and Hardy:
Selected Films (One Program per Cycle)

Fernand Léger:
Ballet Mécanique, 1924 (with Dudley Murphy)

Alfred Leslie:
Pull My Daisy, 1959 (with Robert Frank)

Helen Levitt:
In the Street, 1952 (with Agee & Loeb)

Janice Loeb:
In the Street, 1952 (with Agee & Levitt)

Louis & Auguste Lumière:
Selected Films (One Program per Cycle)

Len Lye:
Tusalava, 1928
Trade Tattoo, 1937
Rhythm, 1953
Free Radicals, 1958

Willard Maas:
Geography of the Body, 1943

Christopher MacLaine:
The End, 1953

Gregory Markopoulos:
Du Sang, de la Volupte et de la Mort, 1947-48 (Of Blood, of Pleasure and of Death)
Psyche, 1948
Swain, 1950
Twice a Man, 1963
Himself as Herself, 1966
Ming Green, 1966
Eros, O Basileus, 1966
The Illiac Passion, 1967
Gammelion, 1968

Jonas Mekas:
Walden: Diaries, Notes and Sketches, 1964-69
Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania, 1971

Georges Méliès:
Selected Films (Four Programs)
Selected Films (Five Programs)
Selected Films (Four Programs)

Marie Menken:
Glimpse of the Garden, 1957
Arabesque for Kenneth Anger, 1961
Eye Music in Red Major, 1961
Notebook, 1962-63
Go! Go! Go!, 1963
Andy Warhol, 1965
Lights, 1965

F. W. Murnau:
Sunrise, 1927

Dudley Murphy:
Ballet Méchanique, 1924 (with Fernand Léger)

Robert Nelson:
The Great Blondino, 1967
Bleu Shut, 1970

Andrew Noren:

The Adventures of the Exquisite Corpse, Part I: Huge Pupils, 1967 (formerly known as: Kodak Ghost Poems, Part I)

Pat O'Neill:
Saugus Series, 1973

Yasujiro Ozu:
Umarete Wa Mita Keredo, 1932 (I Was Born, … But)
Chichi Ariki, 1942 (There Was a Father)

Sidney Peterson:
The Potted Psalm, 1946 (with James Broughton)
The Petrified Dog, 1948
Mr. Frenhofer and the Minotaur, 1949
The Lead Shoes, 1949

Francis Picabia:
Entr’acte, 1924 (with René Clair)

Vsevolod Pudovkin:
Mat, 1926 (Mother)

Man Ray:
Le Retour à la Raison, 1923 (Return to Reason)
Emak Bakia, 1927
Etoile de Mer, 1928
Anemic Cinema, 1926 (with Marcel Duchamp)

Jean Renoir:
La Règle du Jeu, 1939 (Rules of the Game)

Ron Rice:
Chumlum, 1964

Hans Richter:
Rhythmus 21, 1921
Alles Dreht Sich, Alles Bewegt Sich, 1929 (Everything Revolves, Everything Turns)
Zweigroschenzauber, 1929 (Two Pence Magic)

Leni Riefenstahl:
Triumph des Willens, 1934-35 (Triumph of the Will)
Olympia, 1938

Roberto Rossellini:
Francesco, Giullare di Dio, 1949 (The Flowers of St. Francis)
La Prise de Pouvoir par Louis XIV, 1966 (The Rise to Power of Louis XIV)

Walter Ruttmann:
Berlin, die Symphonie der Grosstadt, 1927 (Berlin: Symphony of a City)

Paul Sharits:
N:O:T:H:I:N:G, 1968
T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G, 1969
Color Sound Frames, 1974

Harry Smith:
No. 1-5, 7, 10, c. 1946-59 (Early Abstractions)
No. 11, c. 1957 (Mirror Animations)
No. 12, c. 1958-61 (Heaven and Earth Magic Feature)
No. 14, 1964 (Late Superimpositions)
No. 16, 1967 (Oz: The Tin Woodsman's Dream)

Jack Smith:
Scotch Tape, 1962
Flaming Creatures, 1963
No President, 1969

Michael Snow:
Wavelength, 1967
<--->, 1969 (Back and Forth)
La Region Centrale, 1970-71 (The Central Region)

Warren Sonbert:
Carriage Trade, 1972

Frank Stauffacher:
Sausalito, 1948

Erich von Stroheim:
Greed, 1924

Karl Valentin:
Der Firmling, 1934 (Confirmation Day)

Dziga Vertov:
Newsreel Material (Kinonedelia, 1918-19; Kinopravda, 1922, etc.)
Kinoglaz, 1925
Shagai, Soviet!, 1925-26 (Forward, Soviet!)
Shestaya Chast Mira, 1926 (The Sixth Part of the World)
Odinnadtsati, 1928 (The Eleventh Year)
Chelovek s Kinoapparatom, 1929 (Man With a Movie Camera)
Entuziasm, 1931 (Enthusiasm)
Tri Pesni O Leninye, 1934 (Three Songs About Lenin)

Jean Vigo:
A Propos de Nice, 1929-30
Taris, 1931
Zéro de Conduite, 1933 (Zero for Conduct)
L’Atalante, 1934

Andy Warhol:
Eat, 1963
Chelsea Girls, 1966
Two Other Programs per Cycle (Including: Kiss, 1963; Blow Job, 1963; Harlot, 1964; My Hustler, 1965; Sausalito, 1967)

James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber:
The Fall of the House of Usher, 1928

Orson Welles:
Citizen Kane, 1941

James Whitney:
Lapis, 1963-66

John & James Whitney:
Film Exercises 1-5, 1943-45