Silent Film with Live Music, World Cinema and More This Week


All patrons must adhere to Cornell’s public health requirements for events. If a patron does not have a current Cornell ID, they must provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test. As of March 14, masks are no longer required, but encouraged nonetheless. Up-to-date guidance, including acceptable proof of vaccination or test, is available here.

Though it doesn’t screen until next week, we have added a special screening on March 29 at 7:30pm in solidarity with Ukraine: Naomi Uman’s The Ukrainian Time Machine, a program of three short films made in 2008 in the countryside south of Kyiv, where Uman's great grandparents emigrated from in 1906. These 16mm films show the beauty of the region, and in particular, the resiliency of the women who reside there. We chose these works in particular because there are enough images right now of war and destruction. The Ukrainian Time Machine celebrates the beauty of Ukraine and its people in the not too distant past as we hope for their future. The program will be offered for free with complimentary popcorn. For patrons looking for ways to help, flyers will be available that list international organizations providing humanitarian aid and emergency relief within Ukraine and to refugees in Europe and around the world. Cosponsored with the Institute for European Studies.

Our main event this week is The City Without Jews (pictured) on Thursday, with live music by acclaimed klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals and silent film pianist Donald Sosin, cosponsored with the Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts, the Cornell Council for the Arts, the Jewish Studies Program and the Wharton Studio Museum. Produced in 1924, The City Without Jews offers a satirical critique of anti-semitism, detailing the breakdown of society in the fictional town of Utopia, Austria after a national law gets passed, forcing all Jews to leave the country. The Nazi party ordered all copies of the film to be destroyed in 1933, and for 80 years the film was considered lost. A chance discovery of a film print in a Parisian flea market in 2015 lead to this new restoration of the film by the Filmarchiv Austria. 

Tuesday night we’re screening a 35mm print of Andrei Tarkovsky’s penultimate film Nostalghia, part of our Experimental Landscapes series. And on Wednesday, we’re hosting a FREE screening of filmmaker-scholar Jessica Bardsley’s work, Rocks, Stars, and Other Feelings. Bardsley recently joined the Department of Performing & Media Arts, and this program, which recently screened at UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art in Brooklyn, traces her poetic pathways of thought and practice through five of her films made between 2007–2021. 

Four films from across the globe round out the rest of the week, beginning with a virtual run of Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum, available on-demand from March 23 to April 1.

Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away screens twice in Japanese (Thurs & Sat) and once in its English-language dub (Sun), with Andrew Campana (Asian Studies) introducing the film on Thursday night. 

The Iranian masterpiece Chess of the Wind (Fri & Sun) screened publicly just once in 1976 before it was banned and then lost for decades, circulating only on bootleg VHS tapes before being restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Image Retrouvée laboratory (Paris) in collaboration with director Mohammad Reza Aslani. It’s a hypnotically stylized murder mystery, awash in shivery period atmosphere. Highly recommended!

Rounding out the week is Joel Coen’s Oscar-nominated The Tragedy of Macbeth (Fri & Sat). Nominated for Best Actor, Cinematography, and Production Design, this is a movie you want to see on a big screen. Your laptop, as nice as it is, just isn’t going to cut it.

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image from the film THE CITY WITHOUT JEWS