Anthology Film Archives


March 11 – March 17

This spring Anthology offers a rare opportunity to survey the work of Mark Rappaport, one of the most unique and original voices in American cinema of the last several decades. Rappaport’s career has unfolded in two distinct chapters, the first consisting of the radically stylized, intellectually playful, and absurdly comical fictional features he produced throughout the 1970s and into the 80s; while the 90s found him developing a genre largely of his own invention, with a series of video-essays that delved into various realms of film history and culture, two of them in the form of monologues-from-beyond-the-grave by once-famous movie stars. These two remarkable films – ROCK HUDSON’S HOME MOVIES and FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG – continue to garner attention. Nevertheless, despite boasting passionate champions such as Jonathan Rosenbaum, Roger Ebert, and Ray Carney, his work is in danger of slipping into obscurity.
Boasting a sensibility profoundly at odds with conventional narrative cinema, and yet also standing distinctly apart from the work of other independent, underground, or avant-garde filmmakers, Rappaport truly staked out his own singular path, developing an approach to narrative, and then to film historical inquiry, that few have taken up in the years since. Marked by a dazzling mix of intellectual distance, deadpan comedy, explicit artifice, cutting satire, and psychological acuity, his films portray men and women struggling to find meaning, to form relationships, and to develop their own senses of self, in a modern American culture pervaded by narcissism, selfishness, and absurdity. We are thrilled to present this comprehensive retrospective, encompassing all of his feature films (with the sole exception of 1975’s MOZART IN LOVE, which is sadly unavailable).
“Mark Rappaport is the best-kept secret in American film. More hilarious than the Coen brothers, weirder than Hal Hartley, deeper than Woody Allen…he is one of America’s most original and unclassifiable comic geniuses. But his work is more than funny. For more than thirty years, Rappaport has been mapping the ever-expanding frontier of American unreality. He is a geographer of our fantasies, dreams, and obsessions, and one of the greatest celebrators of the transforming power of love in the history of film. He is a genuine national treasure.” –Ray Carney
Very special thanks to Mark Rappaport, as well as Anne Morra & Mary Keene (MoMA), and Daniel Bish (George Eastman House).

< Back to Series