Anthology Film Archives


January 18 – January 26

Arguably one of the most brilliant and accomplished films released last year, Andrei Ujică’s THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NICOLAE CEAUŞESCU is remarkable for consisting entirely of footage Ujică and his collaborators found in the Romanian national archive. Arranging and editing this footage to form the “autobiography” indicated by the title, Ujică has created a fascinating, strangely compelling, and epic film that portrays Ceauşescu’s regime using only ‘official’ documentary material – a portrait of reality seen through the prism of the ‘fiction’ Ceauşescu and his government attempted to impose on Romania and on the world.

If Ujică’s film is undeniably original in its concept and ingenious in its construction, it is hardly the first cinematic work to be constructed entirely out of archival historical footage. In fact, there’s a rich tradition of this kind of filmmaking, as evidenced by the film scholar Jay Leyda’s 1964 study, FILMS BEGET FILMS: A STUDY OF THE COMPILATION FILM. In order to bring Ujică’s film back to NYC, to place it in the context of the “compilation film”, and to demonstrate the richness and variety of the tradition, this series brings together a host of such films from throughout the last 80-plus years, with works from filmmakers as diverse as Chris Marker, Jonas Mekas, Emile de Antonio, Santiago Alvarez, and Ken Jacobs.

Special thanks to Ken Jacobs, Jonas Mekas, Klaus vom Bruch, C. Cay Wesnigk, Kitty Cleary (MoMA), Rebecca Cleman (EAI), Jonathan Howell (New Yorker Films), Jonathan Miller & Livia Bloom (Icarus Films), Jake Perlin (The Film Desk), Todd Wiener & Steven Hill (UCLA), and Other Cinema.

The film STRICTLY PROPAGANDA is available for VOD download at

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