Anthology Film Archives


February 17 – February 24

The films of Dick Fontaine, a pioneer of cinema vérité in the UK, are an unrivaled document of the seismic shifts within Western culture during the second half of the 20th century. Starting in the early 60s, inspired by American jazz and the writings of Marshall McLuhan, Fontaine began forging a unique path for himself within the distinctively British tradition of documentary filmmaking. His uncanny ability to find himself on the precipice of history-making events has put him in direct contact with many of the people and incidents that have defined our era, yielding an astonishing body of work that includes films on the controversial election to Parliament of Alec Douglas-Home, The Beatles before Beatlemania, the Battle of Tonkin and the escalation of the war in Vietnam, Norman Mailer at his 1967 arrest at the Pentagon, Ornette Coleman and the New Wave of American jazz, James Baldwin along the path of the Civil Rights movement, the funeral of Black Panther George Jackson and, years before they were lionized as progenitors of a new global culture, the South Bronx originators of hip hop.

Fontaine’s lifelong interest in the paradoxical qualities of American life make him the perennial outsider looking in, a true heir to the inquisitive, critical spirit of de Tocqueville. His work, past and present, speaks directly to the parallel trajectory of politics and culture, bridging the negligible distance between the two.

Anthology is pleased to present the first career-spanning retrospective of the work of Dick Fontaine, including many films never before screened in America. In addition, we are honored to welcome Fontaine back to New York, to discuss his extraordinary career and present films from his personal archives.

Curated in collaboration with Michael Chaiken. Special thanks to Dick Fontaine, Gugulethu Mseleku, Haden Guest (Harvard Film Archive), Nick Varley (Park Circus/Granada), Kitty Cleary (MoMA), and Philip Maysles (Maysles Institute).

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