Programs :: Films at the NYSM

The New York State Museum offers two free programs for viewing films about the cultural arts, sciences and humanities: Thursday Lunchtime Film Series and Cinema Sunday.

Thursday Lunchtime Films are held at 12:00 p.m. on select Thurdays of each month. This program highlights artists included in the National Gallery of Art: 20th Century European Art including Henri Rousseau, Matisse, Picasso, and Henry Moore. Each video in this film series incorporates biographical information, in-depth looks at individual works of art, archival photographs, and interviews with curators and scholars.

Cinema Sunday takes place the first Sunday of the month at 2:00 p.m. This program features documentary film topics on natural and social history, science, ecology, artists and art movements plus a selection of some popular family feature films.

Thursday, January 22 - 12:00pm 
Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris
The self-taught Rousseau was rejected by traditionalists but championed by avant-garde artists and writers. Rousseau is best known for his jungle landscapes that depict a seductive and terrifying world. The film considers them in context of France’s fascination with the exotic during the nation’s colonial expansion in the late nineteenth century.  It features archival photographs as well as present-day footage of Parisian parks, zoos, and greenhouses that fueled Rousseau’s imagination. (30 minutes.)


Thursday, January 29 - 12:00pm
Matisse in Nice

Changes occurred in Matisse’s paintings during his years in Nice, on the French Riviera.  His response to the light and color of the Mediterranean is seen not only in his sun-drenched landscapes but also in his paintings of voluptuous nudes in richly patterned interiors. (30 minutes.) 


Cinema Sunday:
February 1, 2:00 p.m.

Glory is a celebration of a little-known act of mass courage during the Civil War. Simply put, the heroes involved have been ignored by history due to racism. Those heroes were the all-black members of the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, headed by Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), the son of an influential abolitionist (played by an uncredited Jane Alexander). Despite the fact that the Civil War is ostensibly being fought on their behalf, the black soldiers are denied virtually every privilege and amenity that is matter of course for their white counterparts; as in armies past and future, they are given the most menial and demeaning of tasks. Still, none of the soldiers quit the regiment when given the chance. The unofficial leaders of the group are gravedigger John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) and fugitive slave Trip (Denzel Washington), respectively representing the brains and heart of the organization. Glory was based on Lincoln Kirstein's Lay This Laurel and Peter Burchard's One Gallant Rush; the latter book was founded on the letters of Col. Robert Gould Shaw, the real-life character played by Matthew Broderick. The film won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for co-star Denzel Washington, and additional statuettes for Best Cinematography (Freddie Francis) and Sound Recording. Rating R. (1989. 122 minutes)


Thursday, February 5:
(2 films)

12:00pm: Picasso: Saltimbanques

Itinerant performers, or saltimbanques, figure in many of Picasso’s works, particularly those of the Rose period. This film evokes a sense of the atmosphere that inspired the artist and traces the process through which curators and conservators discovered earlier compositions, thought to have been list beneath the surface of Picasso’s painting Family of Saltimbanques  (25 minutes.)

12:30pm: Picasso and the Circus
A young girl strolls through the exhibition Picasso: The Saltimbanques. As she gazes at Picasso’s pictures of jugglers, bareback riders, harlequins, and clowns, the images before her give way to scenes of a Parisian circus of the kind Picasso attended. (7 minutes.)


Thursday, February 12 - 12:00pm
Henry Moore: A Life in Sculpture 

Henry Moore’s long journey from a nineteenth century coal-mining town in the north of England to the center stage of the twentieth-century art world was driven by talent, vision, and ambition.  He fused ideas from non-European cultures, surrealism, and nature into unique sculptural works that made their way into galleries and private collections around the world.  This program traces Moore’s career through footage of the artist at work, views of his sculpture and drawings, and interviews with colleagues Anthony Caro and Bruce Nauman, critics, and curators. (25 minutes.)





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