MFAH Film: UCLA Festival of Preservation - Samuel Beckett's Film
June 3, 2012
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents the UCLA Festival of Preservation. The historical sweep and technical wizardry of the UCLA Film & Television Archive's preservation projects – from early silent films and Golden Age classics, to fascinating rarities and contemporary gems – are showcased in the biennial UCLA Festivals of Preservation. Audiences...
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents the UCLA Festival of Preservation. The historical sweep and technical wizardry of the UCLA Film & Television Archive's preservation projects – from early silent films and Golden Age classics, to fascinating rarities and contemporary gems – are showcased in the biennial UCLA Festivals of Preservation. Audiences celebrate an entire century’s worth of moving images with feature films, television and newsreel programs, and shorts. The event is not only an established part of the Los Angeles cultural landscape, but also a preeminent film event worldwide.
All films from UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Sunday, June 3 at 5:00pm
Samuel Beckett's Film
Directed by Alan Schneider
122 minutes total program running time
Beckett’s Film is in essence a chase film – arguably the craziest committed to celluloid. It’s a chase between camera and pursued image that finds dread embedded in the very apparatus. The link to cinema’s essence is evident in the casting, as the chased object is none other than an aged Buster Keaton, who was befuddled at Beckett’s imperative that he keep his face hidden from the camera’s gaze.
Preservation Funded by The Film Foundation and administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Followed by Play of the Week: Waiting for Godot (directed by Alan Schneider, USA, 1961, 102 min.) Premiering in 1959 on WNTA-TV in New York, the ambitious experiment Play of the Week presented an eclectic mix of plays that, according to series producer Lewis Freedman, “no one else would touch.”
As an independently produced series, Play of the Week was not subject to the same McCarthy-inspired scrutiny as network television programs of the era. Thanks to progressive casting decisions by producers such as David Susskind, actor Zero Mostel, who suffered years of unemployment for refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, enjoyed a comeback after being selected for Samuel Beckett’s absurdist masterpiece, Waiting for Godot. Mostel and Burgess Meredith are keen existential partners in this wry drama of deferred desire and stymied reward. No fan of the tube, Beckett once wrote, "My play wasn't written for this box. My play was written for small men locked in a big space.” Nevertheless, the (fifty-year) wait is over for this small production that’s big on meaning.