Wed, Sep 10, 2014
***Please Note: We will not be watching WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? in its entirety. Seminar attendees are encouraged to view the entire film in advance of attending the seminar.***
Last October, we breathed new life into a devil baby in Roman Polanski’s diabolical masterpiece, ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968).
In January, we reopened a surreal film noir investigation in David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET (1986).
In April, we took a mind numbing ride with Travis Bickel in Martin Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER (1976).
Now, for an evening of pure cinematic permissiveness, we cordially invite you to join the fun and games with George and Martha, (America’s true first couple - screw the Washingtons!) as we sink ourselves into Mike Nichols’ film adaptation of Edward Albee’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (1966) - the fourth in our continuing series of American Cinematheque deconstructing master classes.
There is so much cinematic groundbreaking associated with WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? that it’s hard to know where to begin to pull all of its legendary history together.
Nearly 50 years after its original release, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? still remains one of the American screen’s most accomplished stage-to-film adaptations, soaring with cinematic reinterpretation.
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? remains one of only 2 films in the history of the Academy Awards to be nominated in every eligible Academy category. (The other film is 1931’s CIMARRON.) 13 Oscar Nominations led to 5 Academy Awards including Best Actress (Elizabeth Taylor), Best Supporting Actress (Sandy Dennis), Best Cinematography (Haskell Wexler), Best Art Direction (Richard Sylbert/George James Hopkins) and Best Costume Design (Irene Sharaff).
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? not only challenged American film censors with its frank adult portrait of a marriage in ruin, but also, along with Michelangelo Antonioni’s BLOW UP (1966), changed the American ratings system forever. It became a first film to receive a ratings clause that warned that anyone under 18 would be prohibited from seeing the film unless accompanied by an adult.
Elizabeth Taylor became the first screen goddess to gain a considerable amount of weight to play a part…a part actually much older than herself. (So look out Charlize Theron in MONSTER!) Elizabeth never lost the weight and we loved her even more.
And, perhaps most astonishingly, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? is a first film with director Mike Nichols making his cinematic bow. Working closely with an incredible team of collaborators, Nichols took a Pulitzer Prize winning play and transformed it into something even greater: a landmark cinematic achievement. One of few films in cinema history (especially when it comes to film adaptations) where every department of filmmaking - composition/mise-en-scene, art direction, costume design, editing, make up design, music, performance, screenwriting, sound design - is carefully attuned to elicit the purest dramatic effect from its audience.
Our seminar is intended for both filmmakers and film lovers as a Master Class in Film Direction and as a rare opportunity to discover how visionary filmmakers embed their personal and artistically interpretive voice into all aspects of visual and aural creation. We will actually be dissecting VIRGINIA scene by scene (and sometimes shot by shot and visual signifier to visual signifier) to investigate how directorial choices made in both production and post-production elicit such a powerful response in the viewer.
We hope you’ll join us for an evening of cinematic permissiveness.
Let the games begin!
Film clips will be used to inspire an open dialogue with the audience.