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Vision Statement: Early Directorial Works

October 21, 2019 – December 05, 2019

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, and the MoMA Stores in New York City have closed temporarily. 

In an essay published in 1925, Iris Barry, who later cofounded MoMA’s Department of Film, wrote, “If a film, of no matter what type, is to be worth while, it must be entirely dominated by the will of one man and one man only—the director.” This was written three decades before French critics at Cahiers du cinéma advocated for the politique des auteurs, and almost four decades before the American critic Andrew Sarris coined the Auteur Theory, which both essentially view the director as the “author” of a film, focusing on those who project a consistent, singular vision in their work. While auteurism has generated lively debate, especially in its early days, it also undoubtedly helped elevate film’s status as an art form, influencing how film collections and exhibitions are organized and shaping academic and critical discourse.

Organized by La Frances Hui, Associate Curator, Department of Film. Special thanks to Olivia Priedite.



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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. 2007. Romania. Directed by Cristian Mungiu. Courtesy IFC Films/Photofest

Barking Dogs Never Bite. 2000. South Korea. Directed by Bong Joon-ho. Courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Killer of Sheep. 1977. USA. Directed by Charles Burnett. Courtesy MoMA Film Stills Archive

Daughters of the Dust. 1991. USA. Directed by Julie Dash. Courtesy Cohen Film Collection/Photofest

Down to the Bone. 2004. USA. Directed by Debra Granik. Courtesy Laemmle/Zeller Films/Photofest

Everyone Else. 2009. Germany. Directed by Maren Ade. Courtesy Cinema Guild

Fists in the Pocket. 1965. Italy. Directed by Marco Bellocchio. Courtesy Photofest

I Stand Alone. 1998. France. Directed by Gaspar Noe. Courtesy Strand Releasing/Photofest

Intimate Lighting. 1965. Czechoslovakia. Directed by Ivan Passer

Killer of Sheep. 1977. USA. Directed by Charles Burnett

Life on Earth. 1998. Mali. Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako. Courtesy Haut et Court

Madame Satã. 2002. Brazil. Directed by Karim Ainouz. Courtesy Wellspring/Photofest

Neighboring Sounds. 2012. Brazil. Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho. Courtesy Cinema Guild

Old Joy. 2006. USA. Directed by Kelly Reichert. Courtesy Kino/Photofest

Pather Panchali. 1955. India. Directed by Satyajit Ray. Courtesy Janus Films

The Piano. 1993. Australia. Directed by Jane Campion. Courtesy Miramax/Photofest

Salaam Bombay! 1988. India. Directed by Mira Nair. Courtesy Cinecom/Photofest

Shadows. 1958. USA. Directed by John Cassavetes. Courtesy AGFA/Photofest

The Cow. 1969. Iran. Directed by Dariush Mehrjui. Courtesy Audio Brandon/Photofest

The Maid. 2009. Chile. Directed by Sebastián Silva. Courtesy Oscilloscope Pictures

The Return. 2003. Russia. Directed by Andrey Zvyaginstev. Courtesy Kino Lorber

The Third Part of the Night. 1971. Poland. Directed by Andrzej  Żuławski. Courtesy Polski State Film/Photofest

Xiao Wu. 1997. China. Directed by Jia Zhangke. Courtesy FSA

Ju Dou. 1990. China. Directed by Zhang Yimou. Courtesy Miramax/Photofest

Pi. 1998. USA. Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Courtesy Live Entertainment/Photofest