Anthology Film Archives


February 23 – March 1

Starting this calendar, Anthology inaugurates an ongoing series called FROM THE PEN OF… to spotlight that brutally neglected figure most often forgotten in the filmmaking process, namely the screenwriter. Famously devalued by cinephiles more prone to celebrating auteurs and actors, screenwriters are rarely honored with the likes of critical studies or repertory retrospectives. While a few classic Hollywood scribes continue to earn attention (Ben Hecht, Preston Sturges, Dalton Trumbo, etc.), most have never received their fair share of credit or acknowledgment. This is particularly true of screenwriters who emerged hot on the heels of the demise of the studio system in the 1960s. While audiences may associate the works they penned more closely with particular directors, a closer study reveals that the sensibility and ingenuity of particular screenwriters shines through in each of these films. Over the next several calendars Anthology will focus on some of the most interesting, talented, and unheralded screenwriters from the last 50 years, connecting the dots between terrific, seemingly disparate films that, unbeknownst to many, just happen to have issued from the pen of a single, often unheralded scribe!

To start the series off in high style, we have selected a number of smile-inducing, seriously quirky movies scripted by writer-director John Sayles. Though the films he’s both written and directed have won numerous awards and wide acclaim, Sayles toiled for many years as a screenwriter on other director’s projects before launching his own distinguished directorial career. We are happy to call attention to this partially obscured body of work, and also to present a handful of films, selected by Sayles, that he considers shining examples of the craft of screenwriting.

FROM THE PEN OF… is programmed in close collaboration with author/musician Alan Licht.

John Sayles will be here in person for a very special event on Friday, February 24! He will take part in a discussion following the screening of BREAKING IN, moderated by Alan Licht and Andrew Lampert.

Very special thanks to John Sayles and Keetin Cheung, and to Alan Licht, Robert Downey Sr., Rudy Wurlitzer, May Haduong (Academy Film Archive), Harry Guerro, Kent Youngblood (MGM), Brian Block (Criterion Pictures USA), Caitlin Robertson (20th Century Fox), Christopher Lane (Sony), and Marilee Womack (WB).

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