This weekend our year-long celebration of the upcoming 50th New York Film Festival returns with three masterworks of the New German Cinema movement from consecutive years at NYFF, 1974 – 1976. Don't miss this opportunity to see Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Friday, 6:15pm), Werner Herzog's The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Friday, 8:15pm), and Wim Wenders's Kings of the Road (Saturday, 2:00pm) how they were seen 35+ years ago: on the big screen here at the Film Society of Lincoln Center!
During the late 1960s, inspired by the French New Wave, Italian Neorealists and the fresh new films coming from American auteurs, a group of young German directors sought to build a new film tradition based on artistic excellence rather than the commercial dictates of the stodgy existing industry. The result would be a whole canon of films that challenged tradition, and were often critical and irreverent in their treatment of German history and society. With limited commercial appeal, many of these films and directors would be showcased and discovered right here at the New York Film Festival.
From 1971-1982, Rainer Fassbiner presented new films at all but three editions of the New York Film Festival. In 1974, at the peak of his creative powers, Fassbiner unveiled Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, a stylized, pared-down love story based on the framework of Douglas Sirk’s seminal melodrama All That Heaven Allows. Shot in just over two weeks as an exercise in filmmaking between two other features, Ali tells the story of an unlikely romance between a thirty-something Moroccan immigrant working as a garage mechanic and a German widow old enough to be his mother. Although the film was made on a shoestring budget and was just a way for Fassbinder to fill time between “bigger” projects, it has been widely acclaimed as one of the best and most powerful of his 40 or so films.
Once heralded by Francois Truffaut as “the most important film director alive,” Werner Herzog has been making moving, operatic films for over four decades, eight of which have played at the NYFF. During his fourth installment at the NYFF in 1975, he presented his strange and haunting drama The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, the curious case of a real-life “wild child” who appeared as a teenager in the streets of Nuremberg claiming to have been raised since infancy in a small dark cell, divorced from all contact with the outside world. No ordinary biopic, Film Comment wrote that Kaspar Hauser “takes you into an anti-rational as well as irrational movie area previously inhabited by Buñuel, Franju, and Browning… With its unpredictable joins, off-kilter shots, it’s a lyrical affirmation that resonates one main idea in the mind: the beauty and loss involved in adjusting society.”
Finally, Wim Wenders, another pioneer of New German Cinema who is still making waves at NYFF and Film Society, will have his 1976 melancholic road-movie Kings of the Road revisited. Most well known for his features Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire as well as his documentary Buena Vista Social Club, Wenders has continued to push the envelope and explore different ways of storytelling during the course of his prolific (and enduring) 40-plus year career. Kings of the Road is the concluding chapter of a loosely structure trilogy, and functions as a dour valentine to the cinema, the irretrievable past, and the long cultural shadow cast by America in Germany. This Saturday afternoon screening is of particular importance as this film is NOT available on DVD.
For tickets and showtimes to all three of these films, head to the series page. "50 Years at the New York Film Festival" will continue Wednesday, February 1 with a double feature from American director Jonathan Demme.
Below is a full list of all the flms that played alongside these masterpieces in NYFF '74, '75 and '76!
The 12th NYFF in 1974:
Don’t Cry With Your Mouth Full (Pleure pas la bouche pleine),
Pascal Thomas, France, 1973.
Shown with A Bird’s Life, H. Born, J. Doubrava, and Milos Macourek Czechoslovakia
Max Ophuls, Germany, 1932.
The Night Of The Scarecrow (A noite do espantalho),
Sérgio Ricardo, Brazil, 1974.
Shown with Along These Lines, Peter Pearson, Canada.
Louis Malle, France/ Italy/ West Germany, 1974.
Alain Resnais, France/Italy,1974.
Lancelot Of The Lake (Lancelot du lac),
Robert Bresson, France/ Italy, 1974.
Shown with Sea Creatures, Robin Lehman, Great Britain.
Part-Time Work Of A Domestic Slave (Gelegenheitsarbeit einer sklavin),
Alexander Kluge, West Germany, 1974.
Shown with The Bench of Desolation, Claude Chabrol, France.
Rome Wants Another Caesar (Roma rivuole cesare),
Miklos Jansco, Italy, 1973.
Shown with Light, Jordan Belson, USA.
“Roots” A program of four featurettes celebrating the contribution of many ethnic strands to the fabric of American life:
Yudie, Mirra Bank, USA, 1974. .
An Old Fashioned Woman, Martha Coolidge, USA,1974.
Italianamerican, Martin Scorsese, USA, 1974.
A Bigger Splash
Jack Hazan, Great Britain, 1974.
Shown with Braverman’s Condensed Cream Of Beatles, Charles Braverman, USA.
Jacques Rivette, France, l972-74.
The Middle of the World (Le milieu du monde)
Alain Tanner, Switzerland, 1974
Shown with Optimist And Pessimist, Zlatko Grgic, Yugoslavia.
Ali (Angst essen seele auf ali),
Rainer Fassbinder, West Germany, 1964.
Shown with Jabberwocky, Jan Svankmajer, Czechoslavakia, West Germany.
The Strange Ones (Les enfants terribles),
Jean-Pierre Melville France, 1950
Celine And Julie Go Boating (Céline et julie vont en bateau)
Jacques Rivette, France, 1973.
Alice In The Cities (Alice in den städten)
Wim Wenders, West Germany, 1974.
Shown with Punishment, Olga Madsen, The Netherlands.
Daniel Schmid, Switzerland/France, 1974.
Shown with Superior Force, Zlatko Pavlinic, Yugoslavia.
Also, OH! OH!, Bronislaw Zeman, Poland.
The Circumstance (La circostanza)
Ermanno Olmi, Italy, 1974.
Shown with Diary Found With The Ants, George Sénéchal, France.
Homage To Buñuel: Four of Buñuel’s most important works (A NYFF Retrospective)
L’age d’or, France, 1930.
The Exterminating Angel (El angel exterminador), Mexico, 1962.
The Milky Way (La voie lactée), France, 1969.
The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, France, 1972.
A Woman Under The Influence
John Casasvetes, USA,1974.
Le fantome de la liberté
Luis Buñuel, France, 1974
*Note: This was a harrowing closing night for the NYFF. The print of this film was brought over at the last minute by the producer, Serge Silberman, who kept it in his hotel room. He refused to give it to the Festival because he was unhappy with his seats in the director’s box. Since they were in the first tier they were less expensive than orchestra seats and Silberman thought he not been treated well. Subsequently director’s box seats were printed at top price!
The 13th NYFF in 1975:
Conversation Piece (Gruppo di famiglia in un interno)
Luchino Visconti, Italy/ France, 1975
Shown with Coney, Frank Mouris, USA.
*Note: This was one of the most disastrous openings of the NYFF. The print the Program Committee had initially screened was not the dubbed version we showed to the public and the dubbed version was an embarrassment. The audience left in droves.
The Bitch (La chienne)
Jean Renoir, France, 1931.
Fist-Right Of Freedom (Faistrecht der freiheit)
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany, 1975.
Shown with Way Out, Ted Rockley, Great Britain.
David Maysles, USA,1978.
Shown with Longing For Darkness, Peter Beard, USA.
F for Fake
Orson Welles, France, 1973
Shown with Arthur and Lillie, Kris Samuelson, USA.
Every Man For Himself And God Against All (Jeder für sich und gott gegen alle)
Werner Herzog, West Germany, 1974.
Shown with Homage to Magritte, Anita Thacher, USA.
Electreia (Szerelmem, elektra)
Miklós Janscó, Hungary, 1975.
Shown with Screentest, Frank Mouris, USA.
Louis Malle, France/West Germany, 1975.
Shown with Cycles, Jordan Belson, Stephen Beck, USA.
The Wonderful Crook (Pas si méchant que ça)
Claude Goretta., Switzerland/France, 1975
Shown with This Is Not A Museum, John Haugse, USA.
Ousmane Sembène, Senegal, 1974.
The Lost Honor Of Katarina Blum (Die verlorene ehre der Katharina Blum)
Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta, West Germany, 1975.
Shown with Don’t, Robin Lehman, USA.
Hearts Of The West
Howard Zieff, USA, 1975.
Shown with The Unanimous Declaration Of The 13 United States Of America, A.P. Ferullo, R.A. Mayes USA.
Moses und aron
Jean-Marie Straub , West Germany/France/Italy, 1974.
Autobiography of a Princess
James Ivory, Great Britain, 1975.
Jean-François Davy, France, 1975.
*Note: EXHIBITION was seized by U.S. Customs Service upon entry (on grounds of obscenity) and the matter was referred to the U.S. States Attorney for the eastern District of New York. The Film Society issued a public statement alerting our ticket buyers to this situation. Subsequently we received word that the U.S. Attorney has released the film and it could be included in the Festival’s program. This was the NYFF’s first serious confrontation with censorship.
Marguerite Duras, France, 1974.
Robert Kramer and John Douglas, USA, 1975.
Michael Ritchie, USA, 1975.
French Provincial (Souvenirs d’en france)
André Téchiné, France, 1975.
Shown with Classical Cartoon, Bill Mather, Great Britain.
The Story Of Adèle H, (L’histoire d’adèle H.)
François Truffaut, France, 1975.
Shown with The Imprint, Jacques Cardon, France.
The 14th NYFF in 1976:
Small Change (L’argent de poche)
François Truffaut, France, 1976.
Shown with Doubletalk, Alan W. Beattie, USA.
Luchino Visconti, Italy, 1942.
Jonas Who Will Be Twenty-Five In The Year 2000 ( Jonas qui aura vingt-cinq ans en l’an 2000), Alain Tanner, Switzerland, 1976.
Shown with No Noise, Carmen D’Avino, USA.
In The Realm Of The Senses (L’empire des sens/Ai no corrida)
Nagisa Oshima, France/ Japan, 1976.
*Note: U.S. Customs threatened to seize In The Realm Of The Senses after their officials had seen it at our press screening. We substituted Oshima’s THE CEREMONY at the public screening and informed the audience that if and when IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES cleared Customs we would find a way to screen if for them. The courts ruled that the film had been improperly detained by Customs in New York as it had legally entered the U.S. through San Francisco. We screened the film four times at MoMA for our festival audience who had been told to retain their ticket stubs. This is the only time in 48 years we have been unable to show a scheduled film at the New York Film Festival.
Kings Of The Road (Im lauf der zeit)
Wim Wenders, West Germany, 1976.
The Memory of Justice
Marcel Ophuls USA, 1976.
Akira Kurosawa, U.S.S.R./Japan, 1975.
Three featurettes on the subject of “Rites of Passage”
Ray Karp, USA, 1976.
In The Region Of Ice
Peter Werner, USA, 1976.
Bernice Bobs Her Hair
Joan Micklin Silver, USA, 1976.
Illustrious Corpses (Cadaveri eccelleni)
Francesco Rosi, Italy, 1976.
Story Of Sin (Dzieje grzechu)
Walerian Borowczyk, Poland, 1975.
Eduardo de Gregorio, France, 1976.
Shown with Women’s Answers, Agnès Varda France.
Strongman Ferdinand (Der starke ferdinand)
Alexander Kluge, West Germany, 1975.
Shown with Two Cops, Charles Braverman, USA.
A Touch Of Zen (Sha-Nu)
King Hu, Hong Kong, 1975.
The Middleman (Jana-Aranya)
Satyajit Ray, India, 1975.
Jacques Rivette, France, 1976.
Shown with Nightlife, Robin Lehman, USA.
Jean Renoir, France, 1926.
Fear of Fear (Angst vor der angst)
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany, 1975.
Shown with Organism, Hilary Harris, USA.
Barbara Kopple, U.S.A., 1976.
Shown with Steelworkers From Village Borovica Gornya, Mirjana Zizkovic, Yugoslavia.
The Marquise Of O… (Die marquise von O…)
Eric Rohmer, West Germany/France, 1975.
Shown with Sweet Sounds, Richard Robbins, James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, USA.