“New Directors New Films” at Film Society of Lincoln Center and MOMA
From March 21 – April 1 the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art will present the 41st annual “New Directors/New Films” series. The festival is dedicated to showcasing emerging filmmaking talent on an international scale. This year’s festival will screen 29 feature length films (24 narratives, five documentaries), as well as 12 short films, representing a total of 28 countries.
Rajendra Roy, MOMA’s Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film explained, “While ‘New Directors/New Films’ by design is about discovery, this year’s films broaden the definition of a ‘New Directors film.’” Roy’s comment is certainly apropos when one considers that one of the film’s to be screened is “Fear and Desire” (1953) directed, produced and edited by a then new talent, a 24 year-old filmmaker named Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick, of course, would go on to direct such films as “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “A Clockwork Orange” (1971), “Barry Lyndon” (1975), “The Shining” (1980), and many others.
Kubrick, known for relentless perfectionism and control, had “Fear and Desire” pulled from release. In fact when I saw “Fear and Desire” listed for “New Directors/New Films” I assumed that it must be another movie with the same title. I never thought I would actually ever have the opportunity to see this movie. In fact, years ago, Film Forum showed “Fear and Desire” for one week, during which Kubrick actually tried to have the screenings stopped. He need not have been so concerned. “Fear and Desire” is on the level of very good student film and is nothing of which to be ashamed.
The story of “Fear and Desire” involves a group of American soldiers, one of whom is played by a very young Paul Mazursky (director and actor), trapped behind enemy lines during World War II. Kubrick obviously did not have a large budget and smartly chose a story that would conform well to his low budget aesthetic. All he needed was some actors in uniform out in the woods and minimal indoor sets. Yes, the film contains some heavy-handed voice over. However, the story of these soldiers who decide to attempt to kill an enemy general, rather than quietly leave enemy territory, has some compelling sequences.
The film also the earliest signs of Kubrick’s interest in the folly of war, a theme that he would develop in later films: “Paths of Glory” (1957), “Dr. Strangelove” (1964) and “Full Metal Jacket” (1987). “Fear and Desire” also demonstrates some very proficiently edited sequences, including a massacre of enemy soldiers shown primarily by their dying hands helplessly clenching bits of a stew they had been eating.
For more information on “New Directors/New Films” please go to http://www.filmlinc.com.
Posted on March 21, 2012, in New Directors New Films 2012 and tagged 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, Fear and Desire, Film Society of Lincoln, MOMA, Paul Mazursky, Rajendra Roy, Stanley Kubrick, The Shining. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.