"Cruel and Unusual Comedy"...on the air on NPR

Elif Rongen-Kaynakci and Steve Massa were guests on the Leonard Lopate Radio Program on March 16, 2012.

Listen here:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cruel and Unusual Comedy, Part 3: early European comedies

To read detailed film notes on each program, 
click on the links below:

Program 1: "Sexual Misconduct"
Program 2: "Science Fiction"
Program 3: "Mass Destruction"
Program 4: "Tales of Madness"
Program 5: "Domestic Abuse"
Program 6: "Musical Comedy"

Cruel and Unusual Comedy, Part 3: 
Selections from the EYE Film Institute, The Netherlands
March 15 to 30, 2012

The Museum of Modern Art, NY

In the wake of World War I, American film comedy dominated screens around the world. But between 1908 and 1914, before the international stardom of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, there were the European comedies of Zigoto, Bebe, Onesime, Little Moritz, Robinet, and Max. These distinctively named screen characters were part of a phenomenal outpouring of Euro-clown comedies, featured in over 70 different series in France alone. Produced by prestigious companies like Ambrosio in Italy, Messters in Germany, and Gaumont and Pathe in France, this body of work was, on the whole, more psychologically complex, self-consciously surreal, and edgier than American slapstick. The films, organized around themes of sex, violence, madness, musical comedy, and science fiction, are all drawn from the legendary collection of Dutch film distributor Jean Desmet. Archivist Elif Rongen-Kaynakci from the Eye Film Institute introduces selected programs. All films are silent with live accompaniment. All running times are approximate.

Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, Department of Film, accompanist and film historian Ben Model, and film historian Steve Massa. 35mm prints provided by the EYE Film Institute (Netherlands).

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