Meet Marlon Brando (Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, 1965)  

Film Love at the High, part 4:
Fall-Apart Things
Films about refusing to play along

Tuesday, April 16, 2019  |  7:00 pm
Hill Auditorium, High Museum of Art
$14.50 admission | free for High Members

The Film Love series continues its five-program retrospective at the High Museum of Art on April 16, 2019, with a rare screening of the documentary Meet Marlon Brando along with other selected "trickster" films curated by series founder Andy Ditzler.

Interview, audition, advertisements, publicity: all of these art and media rituals have their established procedures to ensure that things run smoothly. But the films in this show are of creative acts by people who in one way or another refuse to play along.

These are not calculated outrages by politicians and pundits, or the familiar public meltdowns of celebrities who happen to be promoting projects, or the machinations of self-styled "disrupters." Nor are they simply actions that subvert norms. Faced with mundane situations intolerable to their own sense of integrity, the figures in this exhibition resort to becoming trickster characters, upending business as usual, often at personal cost. They offer a subversive counter-performance and in so doing they expose underlying structures, teach a deeper lesson and inconvenience everyone.

Included is Charlie Chaplin’s first public appearance in his Tramp guise, in which he and crew crash a racecar event to film his brand new character in front of an unwitting audience. In the hilarious I, An Actress – one of the best films ever made about performance – director George Kuchar cannot stop himself from interjecting his own overheated line readings into what is supposed to be his student’s audition. Peter Kubelka’s short film Schwechater, now admired as an influential avant-garde film, was a disaster for its original purpose as a beer commercial. Musician Sly Stone charmingly demolishes Dick Cavett’s attempt at a normal talk show, offering instead a subtle commentary on race, fame and media.

A cache of strangely decontextualized Yul Brynner publicity interviews from the 1960s leads to the show’s centerpiece: Meet Marlon Brando, the 1965 documentary by Direct Cinema pioneers Albert and David Maysles (of Grey Gardens fame). Obliged to attend a press reception for his latest film – which he doesn’t seem to like very much – Brando commandeers the event to undermine his Hollywood product and the press machine assembled to publicize it. Nevertheless Brando is at the height of his charm and charisma, and ironically his relentless attempt to escape being a movie star results in a film that is both a classic documentary and an indelible screen performance.

Kid Auto Races at Venice (Henry Lehrman, 1914, 7 min)
I, An Actress (George Kuchar, 1977, 8 min)
Schwechater (Peter Kubelka, 1958, 1 min)
Sly Stone on the Dick Cavett Show (1970, 15 min)
Yul Brynner Interviews Trevor Howard, Rita Hayworth, Sylvia Sorrente and Angie Dickinson (excerpts) (1965) courtesy the Austrian Film Museum
Meet Marlon Brando (Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, 1965, 29 min)

High Museum of Art
1280 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30309

Film Love at the High: Fall-Apart Things is a Film Love event. The Film Love series provides access to great but rarely-screened films, especially important works unavailable on consumer video. Through public screenings and events, Film Love preserves the communal viewing experience, provides space for the discussion of film as art, explores diverse forms of projection and viewing, and illuminates connections between the moving image and other art forms. Film Love is curated by Andy Ditzler.

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