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Lincoln Kirstein and Film Culture

April 11, 2019 – April 24, 2019

The Museum of Modern Art

Though Lincoln Kirstein is best known today for his vital role in establishing a distinctively American idiom for ballet, his considerable contributions to film culture are less well remembered. As editor of the influential little magazine Hound & Horn—one of the few publications of its kind to offer a sustained commentary on cinema—he provided an early platform to such era-defining critics as Harry Potamkin.

Kirstein, too, was a perspicacious writer on the movies, penning essays about everything from Hollywood stars like James Cagney and Marilyn Monroe to newsreels and French film under the Occupation. He was also among the founding directors of one of the first film societies in the country. That organization’s brief yet remarkable five-program run in 1933—a heterogeneous lineup in which pathbreaking avant-garde efforts commingled with documentary studies, Disney cartoons, and even a silent serial episode—will be reconstructed as part of this survey of Kirstein’s omnivorous cinephilia.

This film series is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern.

Organized by Thomas Beard, guest curator.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation and Steven Tisch, with major contributions from Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), Yuval Brisker Charitable Foundation, The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.

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Applause. 1929. USA. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

Ballet mécanique. 1924. France. Directed by Fernand Léger with Dudley Murphy. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

Beauty and the Beast. 1946. France. Written and directed by Jean Cocteau. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

Blonde Crazy. 1931. USA. Directed by Roy Del Ruth. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

The Blood of a Poet. 1930. France. Written and directed by Jean Cocteau. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

Bus Stop. 1956. USA. Directed by Joshua Logan. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

It Happened at the Inn (Goupi mains rouges). 1943. France. Written and directed by Jacques Becker. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

It’s All True. 1993. USA/Brazil. Directed by Richard Wilson, Bill Krohn, Myron Meisel, with Orson Welles. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

L’Age d’or. 1930. France. Directed by Luis Buñuel. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 1935. USA. Directed by Max Reinhardt, William Dieterle. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

October. 1927. USSR. Directed by Sergei Eisenstein. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

Paths to Paradise. 1925. USA. Directed by Clarence G. Badger. Courtesy of The Museum of  Modern Art

The Public Enemy. 1931. USA. Directed by William A. Wellman. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

Eisenstein’s Mexican Film: Episodes for Study. 1930-1932 (shot), 1955 (compiled). Mexico. Directed by Sergei Eisenstein. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

The Road to Life. 1931. USSR. Directed by Nikolai Ekk. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

Taxi!. 1932. USA. Directed by Roy Del Ruth. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

The Misfits. 1961. USA. Directed by John Huston. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

Study no. 7. 1931. Germany. Directed by Oskar Fischinger. Courtesy Center for Visual Music

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. 1953. USA. Directed by Howard Hawks. Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Photofest

Travel Notes. 1932. USA. Directed by Walker Evans. Courtesy Light Cone

Isadora. 1968. Great Britain. Directed by Karel Reisz. Courtesy Universal Pictures/Photofest