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Carte Blanche: Samuel R. Delany

May 20, 2021 – June 05, 2021

The Museum of Modern Art

On the occasion of his 79th year, Samuel R. Delany, multi-time Nebula and Hugo award-winning author and lauded literary critic, taps into a lifetime of cinematic obsessions for MoMA’s Carte Blanche series. Delany’s colorful picks—encompassing the classical avant-garde of Jean Cocteau’s The Blood of a Poet, Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, and Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante; masterworks by Michael Powell and Luis Buñuel; and newer treasures like Peter Jackson’s King Kong and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo—honor the expressive power of the fantastic on film. Accompanying his selections are a rare screening of his own experimental science-fiction featurette The Orchid and Fred Barney Taylor’s effervescent portrait of the author, The Polymath, or The Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman.

Films include:

Le sang d’un poète (The Blood of a Poet). 1930. France. Directed by Jean Cocteau.
L’Atalante. 1934. France. Directed by Jean Vigo.
The Thief of Bagdad. 1940. Great Britain. Directed by Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, Tim Whelan.
Meshes of the Afternoon. 1943. United States. Directed by Maya Deren, Alexander Hamid.
King Kong. 2005. United States. Directed by Peter Jackson.
The Polymath, or The Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman. 2007. United States. Directed by Fred Barney Taylor
Hugo. 2011. United States. Directed by Martin Scorsese.


Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Curator, with Carson Parish, Theater Manger, Department of Film. Films selected by Samuel R. Delany.




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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. 

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Le Sang d’un Poète (Blood of a Poet). 1930. France. Directed by Jean Cocteau. Courtesy Edward T. Ricci/Photofest