Anthology Film Archives


February 10 – February 24

Filmmakers leave home for many reasons. Sometimes the motives are purely professional – an ambition that outstrips the possibilities available in the national film industry that one happens to have been born in proximity to, ambition of the sort that took Englishman Alfred Hitchcock or Dutchman Paul Verhoeven to Hollywood. Other times, it is a matter of opposition to a political regime, a response, voluntary or forced, to political upheaval – most notably, in the 20th century, the cultural catastrophe wrought by the rise of Fascism prior to World War II, the installation of repressive Soviet satellite governments in Central and Eastern Europe, and the implementation of the Hollywood blacklist in the United States.

Filmmakers come home for many reasons. Sometimes the professional opportunities that lured them away in the first place begin to dry up as time passes and styles change and the phone stops ringing. Other times, it’s the hated regimes that change, the wounds of war that set to healing, as when a prosperous, post-Economic Miracle West Germany was suddenly able to lure its native talents home with new financial inducements. Or perhaps it is nothing so concrete, just the fortuitous confluence of the right story and a sentimental pull that’s enough to bring an artist back to a familiar landscape at a particular time in life, perhaps a vague desire to conclude one’s creative life where it began, and so to bring their story full circle.

There are a number of what might be termed “late films” here, but none of them show signs of fatigue. Whatever the case, wherever the place, the homecoming can act as a rejuvenating factor, an agent encouraging an artistic refocusing – or, for those who have long been out of work, a dam burst of pent-up creative energy, an exorcising of years of frustration, expressed in go-for-broke moviemaking that very often represents the work of big fish enjoying the clout they find in their small pond. This series collects films that exemplify these qualities: final testaments, retracings of steps, beginnings of second and third acts, new beginnings.

Guest-programmed by Nick Pinkerton, who wrote the introduction and all film descriptions.

This series is co-presented with the German Film Office, an initiative of the Goethe-Institut and German Films.

Special thanks to Brian Belovarac (Janus Films); Daniel Bird; Pola Chapelle; Michael DiCerto (Sony Pictures Classics); Jack Durwood (Paramount); KateĊ™ina Fojtová (Czech National Film Archive); Amélie Garin-Davet (Cultural Services of the French Embassy); Anke Hahn (Deutsche Kinemathek); Jason Jackowski (Universal); Tatjana Lommel (CCC Filmkunst); Tomek Smolarski (Polish Cultural Institute New York); and Sara Stevenson (German Film Office).


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