July 08, 2021 – August 26, 2021

The Museum of Modern Art

These films are a call for resistance. Across a great diversity of cultures and through the most imaginative of cinematic means, they document political and religious violence, bear witness and provoke outrage, inspire freedom fighters to rise up against their colonial oppressors and women to spurn their own oppressive patriarchies. Almost criminally, none of these films have ever had a theatrical or streaming run in New York. All have been preserved by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video, which was founded in 1963 as the Friends of the German Film Archive and is now responsible for two essential components of the Berlin Film festival, the Berlinale Forum and Forum Expanded. As we rewrite the canon of world cinema and champion its most radical practitioners, we will hold a special place for filmmakers like Lana Gogoberidze from Georgia, Gadalla Gubara from Sudan, Ruy Guerra from Mozambique/Brazil, Marta Rodriguez from Colombia, and Mani Kaul from India.

In addition to 2-week streaming runs, this exhibition features newly conducted interviews with many of the artists. It is organized along 6 themes:

Rediscovering Georgian Cinema (July 8-22), featuring 3 revelatory Georgian films made across 3 decades of tumultuous history, exemplifying one of the most storied traditions in world cinema,

Rediscovering North African Cinema (July 15-29), highlighting films from North Africa—one by a pair of internationally celebrated Algerian writers, 2 by the father of Sudanese cinema, and 8 by a Sudanese film collective—that examine legacies of colonialism, wars of independence, and political and religious violence.

Brechtian Cinema (July 22-August 5), a group of culturally disparate films that have their roots in popular political theater, employing Brechtian alienation effects to stir audiences to action through tales of love and lust among the nomadic tribes of the Sudanese desert, the decline and fall of an empire in India, and a massacre in Mozambique.

Sketches of an Indian City at Rest and Unrest (July 29-August 12), provocative film essays in which Ruchir Joshi and Deepa Dhanraj reflect on the Indian cities of Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Hyderabad, which for centuries have proudly stood as centers of cosmopolitanism but in more recent decades have witnessed vicious and deadly outbreaks of sectarian violence.

Scenes from the Feminist Struggle in Colombia and India (August 5-19), in which filmmakers work closely with their subjects—the native peoples of Colombia, women domestic laborers and textile workers of India—to avoid the condescending sentimentality of much Marxist cinema in favor of a more honest and complex portrait of feminist activism and indigenous resistance today.

Recent Films about the Holocaust (August 12-26), in which contemporary filmmakers scrutinize the evidentary record—diary entires, eyewitness and survivor accounts, topographic irregularities—to find proof of Nazi war crimes that continue to be denied some 50 years later.

Organized by Joshua Siegel, Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black and by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston. 

Expanded schedule and film synopses