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Watching the Classics – ‘Making Movies Modern’

Start date:
Aug 28, 2023
Ability Level:
All Levels

A monthly lecture series with Professor Richard Peña

Doha Film Institute is delighted to present ‘Watching the Classics’, an online programme where filmmakers and cinephiles can deepen their knowledge of film history. Presented by renowned scholar Richard Peña—Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University and Director Emeritus of the New York Film Festival—this series of lectures/discussions each focuses on an undisputed world cinema classic.

In the monthly sessions, Professor Peña will present a given film within its aesthetic, economic, technological and social/political context, detailing each director’s formal techniques while teasing out the implications of these artistic and technical decisions.

To get the most from the programme, participants are recommended to view the selected films before each session, and all are readily available through various popular streaming services.

During the lecture, select images and clips will be included for discussion, and participants will be able to send Professor Peña questions, which will be addressed at the end of each session.

Join us for this chance to revisit some of your favourite films—or to discover works that have helped change the course of film history.

‘Making Movies Modern’
Lecture Series Introduction by Professor Richard Peña

By the late 1950s, the cinematic models and approaches that had largely defined movies all over the world began to break down. New generations of filmmakers took advantage of changes in technology to bring their films in closer dialogue with the physical world; meanwhile, the depiction of interior, mental states become more pronounced and intense. The impact of major changes in other media—from painting to dance to novels—inspired filmmakers to find new ways that broke with the confines of traditional three-act story-telling style. By 1960, all of these developments came together and burst into a series of “new waves” in France, Poland, Japan, Italy, Brazil and several other nations; the impact of new wave style could eventually even be seen in Hollywood.

This nine-part series, ‘Making Movies Modern’, will explore this cinematic revolution, analyzing some of its major trends and tendencies as well as offering discussions of some of its most emblematic works. Among the artists whose works will be discussed are Luis Buñuel, Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Andrei Tarkovsky.

Each session will also include a detailed analysis of that week’s selected film.

The sessions will take place on the last Monday of every month. The films to be featured will be announced at the beginning of the month.

Session 5: ‘Memories of Underdevelopment’ by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
28 August 2023 / 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM (Doha Time, GMT+3)

‘Memories of Underdevelopment’
Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Cuba / 1968

Born of the 1959 Revolution, Cuban cinema was actually born into modernism, with an aesthetic built upon the desire to question the form and style of classical cinema linked to earlier forms of oppression. Tomás Gutiérrez Alea follows an upper-class individual too critical to follow the rest of his class to Miami, yet too uncertain to fully commit to the changes sweeping Cuba in the wake of Fidel Castro’s victory.

Language: English
Lecture Fee: 70 QAR

This programme is open to applicants over the age of 18. The sessions are best suited for those with some knowledge of filmmaking and who wish to expand their understanding of film history.

Registration Process:

  • To register and secure your place, purchase a ticket online to this event by clicking HERE.
  • Your registration will be confirmed once your payment is processed.
  • You will receive all necessary webinar links via email reminders before the sessions.

Richard Peña
Richard Peña was the Programme Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival from 1988 until 2012. At the Film Society, Peña organised retrospectives of many film artists, as well as major film series devoted to numerous national cinemas. Together with Unifrance, in 1995, he created Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the leading American showcase for new French cinema. He is Professor of Film and Media Studies at Columbia University, where he specialises in film theory and international cinema and has served as a Visiting Professor at the Sorbonne, Beijing University, UNAM-Mexico City and the University of São Paulo. He also currently hosts WNET/Channel 13’s weekly ‘Reel 13’.