Programme

Nicholas Ray, The Rebel Interrupted

A modern auteur who transcended classical narrative conventions through his distinctive mise-enscène – lyrically abstract and […] Read more

A modern auteur who transcended classical narrative conventions through his distinctive mise-enscène – lyrically abstract and pushing to a paroxysm such forms of social suffering as alienation, solitude, and violence – Nicholas Ray (1911-1979) offered the most passionate, honest, intimate and personal views of the American society and its people, complete with the contradictions and illusions that contrasted sharply with the official image of postwar prosperity. The young French film critics from the Cahiers du Cinéma were the first to recognize the talents of this maverick to reinvent filmmaking from within the industry. Back home, the revered Andrew Sarris ranked Ray among the top of the nation’s auteurs. Ray’s debut feature, They Live by Night (1948), immediately announced his cinematic innovation and brought him to attention by Hollywood giants. A quintessential American director, he worked at nearly every studio in Hollywood, filming in virtually all genres without ever compromising what Eric Rohmer once described as “his own style, his own vision of the world, his own poetry.” This period also coincided with Hollywood’s transition to color and adoption of CinemaScope, and Ray was a master at both, his widescreen compositions are filled with volatile energy and the intense, expressionist use of colors. This series focuses on Ray’s greatest works, from contemporary dramas such as Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Bigger Than Life (1956) that critique the conformist pressures of suburban life in Eisenhower-era America, to unusual takes on genre like the female-driven political Western Johnny Guitar (1954). Ray’s final film in collaboration with Wim Wenders will also be screened. As Godard once famously proclaimed: Henceforth there is cinema. And the cinema is Nicholas Ray.

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