Ambassador of Cinema: Tom Luddy’s Lasting Influence at BAMPFA

June 1–July 15, 2023

This series pays tribute to the breadth of cinematic expression that Tom Luddy—the celebrated film producer, curator, and festival director who led BAMPFA’s film program during its formative years—helped introduce to Bay Area filmgoers, including many of his known favorites and several films that he helped produce.

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  • Tom Luddy and Alice Waters outside the PFA Temporary Theater in 2011

  • Jean-Pierre Gorin, Jean-Luc Godard, and Tom Luddy in Berkeley in 1970

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Past Films

  • Mandabi

    • Saturday, July 15 4:30 PM
    Ousmane Sembène
    Senegal, 1968

    BAMPFA Collection Print

    A comic fable about a middle-aged man in Dakar whose life changes when he receives a money order from Paris. “[Ousmane] Sembène’s approach is spare, laconic, slightly ironic, and never patronizing” (New York Times). The film received the International Critics’ Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Tom Luddy hosted Sembène at the Pacific Film Archive in February 1978 as part of a focus on New Senegalese Cinema.

  • I Am Cuba

    • Sunday, July 9 7 PM
    Mikhail Kalatozov
    Cuba, USSR, 1964

    This portrait of revolutionary Cuba, written by Yevgeny Yevtushenko and brimming with bravura camerawork, is an extraordinary example of “pure” cinema in the service of politics. Tom Luddy helped bring this film to light by programming it at the Telluride Film Festival and the San Francisco International Film Festival. He also helped acquire a 35mm print for the BAMPFA collection.

  • Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

    • Wednesday, July 5 7 PM
    Chantal Akerman
    France, 1975

    Voted the number one film of Sight & Sound’s 2022 Poll of the 100 Greatest Films.

    A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow—whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her son, and turning the occasional trick. Tom Luddy hosted Akerman as a guest at the Pacific Film Archive in 1976 and 1979.

  • Alice in the Cities

    • Sunday, July 2 7 PM
    Wim Wenders
    West Germany, United States, 1974

    Digital Restoration

    A wandering journalist finds himself stuck with someone else’s daughter in this road movie across the United States and Germany, “a fine, tightly controlled, intelligent, and ultimately touching film” (New York Times). Wim Wenders, who was a guest presenter at the Pacific Film Archive numerous times in the 1970s, was one of the New German Cinema filmmakers whose films Tom Luddy helped introduce to audiences.

  • Aparajito

    • Saturday, July 1 4:30 PM
    Satyajit Ray
    India, 1956

    Digital Restoration

    The second film in the Apu trilogy follows Apu’s family as they travel to the holy city of Benares along the banks of the Ganges River. “Graceful, insightful, and moving” (San Francisco Chronicle). Satyajit Ray’s films were shown frequently by Tom Luddy during the 1970s.

  • The Magick Lantern Cycle, Part 1

    • Friday, June 30 7 PM

    In Memoriam Kenneth Anger (1927–2023)

    Tom Luddy was a great supporter of avant-garde film and brought many filmmakers to the Pacific Film Archive over the years. Kenneth Anger visited in December 1976 to present his work. We take this occasion to showcase Anger’s The Magick Lantern Cycle, a central body of work in American avant-garde cinema.

  • The Magick Lantern Cycle, Part 2

    • Friday, June 30 9 PM

    In Memoriam Kenneth Anger (1927–2023)

    Tom Luddy was a great devotee of avant-garde film and brought many filmmakers to the Pacific Film Archive over the years. Kenneth Anger visited in December 1976 to present his work. We take this occasion to showcase Anger’s The Magick Lantern Cycle, a central body of work in American avant-garde cinema.

  • Memories of Underdevelopment

    • Thursday, June 29 7 PM
    Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
    Cuba, 1968

    Digital Restoration

    This groundbreaking Cuban work explores the experiences and reveries of a bourgeois writer after the revolution. “A profound, noble film” (New York Times). Tom Luddy hosted Tomás Gutiérrez Alea at the Pacific Film Archive in October 1979.

  • The Secret Garden

    • Saturday, June 24 4 PM
    Agnieszka Holland
    United States, 1993

    Recommended for ages 8 and up.

    A lonely but enterprising young girl discovers a secret garden on her uncle’s isolated estate in this magical adaptation of the famed children’s novel. “Elegantly expressive . . . celebrating nature as a force for freedom” (New York Times).

  • The Baker’s Wife

    • Friday, June 23 7 PM
    Marcel Pagnol
    France, 1938

    Digital Restoration

    A warm and ribald comedy based on the idea that food is the life of a community. Orson Welles once called The Baker’s Wife “a perfect movie” and star Raimu “the greatest actor of the cinema.” Tom Luddy presented Marcel Pagnol’s films time and again and encouraged Alice Waters to name the restaurant Chez Panisse after a Pagnol character.

    Introduced by Alice Waters and Davia Nelson

  • The First Teacher

    • Wednesday, June 21 7 PM
    Andrei Konchalovsky
    USSR, 1966

    BAMPFA Collection Print

    Andrei Konchalovsky’s first feature, set in a Kyrgyz village shortly after the Russian Revolution. “The beauty of tradition and the need for change . . . expressed with a deft simplicity of style and a rare quality of emotion” (Michel Ciment). Tom Luddy hosted Konchalovsky at the Pacific Film Archive in October 1979.

  • Les Blank Documents Berkeley

    • Saturday, June 17 4:30 PM

    “As in all of [Les] Blank’s films, the people interviewed [in Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers] are beautiful, natural, and full of zest for life. These garlic-lovers take great pride in their own identity, glorifying it in song and dance and turning it into constant celebration” (Rob Baker, Soho Weekly News). With Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe and two remembrances to Blank by Tom Luddy, Alice Waters, and Werner Herzog.

    Introduced by Maureen Gosling

  • Gates of Heaven

    • Wednesday, June 14 7 PM
    Errol Morris
    United States, 1978

    Errol Morris’s brilliant debut feature, Gates of Heaven, about two pet cemeteries in Northern California and the people involved with them, is a work closely tied to the era when Tom Luddy directed the Pacific Film Archive and Morris was a regular member of the audience. The completion of this film led to the making of Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (screening June 17 at 4:30 PM).

    Prerecorded Introduction by Errol Morris

  • The Ascent

    • Sunday, June 11 4:30 PM
    Larissa Shepitko
    USSR, 1977

    BAMPFA Collection Print

    In Larissa Shepitko’s masterpiece, the partisan struggle against the Nazis in World War II provides the setting for a tale of morality and martyrdom. “A profoundly moving experience” (Filmex ’78) that was awarded the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and hailed as the finest Soviet film of its decade. Tom Luddy hosted Shepitko at the Pacific Film Archive in September 1977, not long before her tragic death in a car accident.

  • Bigger Than Life

    • Saturday, June 10 7 PM
    Nicholas Ray
    United States, 1956

    Bigger Than Life is one of Nicholas Ray’s masterworks. Jean-Luc Godard placed it on his list of the Ten Best American Sound Films, and Tom Luddy hosted Ray at the Pacific Film Archive in July 1977. 

  • King Lear

    • Thursday, June 8 7 PM
    Jean-Luc Godard
    Switzerland, United States, 1987

    Jean-Luc Godard left Cannes in 1985 with a contract for a Shakespeare adaptation, drawn up on a napkin, to be delivered to Hollywood in a year’s time. Tom Luddy was largely responsible for that meeting and worked as an associate producer (uncredited) on King Lear. “Godard’s ‘rediscovery’ of Shakespeare is a grand statement about the power of moviemaking” (Richard Brody, New Yorker).

  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    • Wednesday, June 7 7 PM
    Philip Kaufman
    United States, 1978

    A remake of the classic 1956 sci-fi flick, adapted from Jack Finney’s novel about an alien invasion, here set in San Francisco. Starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, and Veronica Cartwright, with a cameo appearance by Tom Luddy.

    Introduced by Philip Kaufman

  • Stroszek

    • Sunday, June 4 5 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1977

    Digital Restoration

    Several aspects of Stroszek stem from Werner Herzog’s frequent visits to the Pacific Film Archive; these are reflected in the “Special Thanks” screen credits for Errol Morris and Les Blank. It was Morris (a Berkeley resident and PFA regular) who led Herzog to his location sites in Wisconsin, and Blank who inspired one of the more memorable bits in the film (see Blank’s Spend It All).

    Werner Herzog in Person

  • In Tom Luddy’s Orbit

    • Sunday, June 4 2:30 PM

    This program gathers short works by filmmakers closely linked to Tom Luddy, including Agnès Varda’s vibrant Uncle Yanco (1967) and Black Panthers (1968); Chris Marker’s La Jetée and Junkopia (1981, produced by Luddy); and Carroll Ballard’s Crystallization (1974).

    Introduced by Janet and David Peoples

  • Journey to Italy

    • Saturday, June 3 7:30 PM
    Roberto Rossellini
    Italy, France, 1954

     Digital Restoration

    Considered a predecessor to the existentialist works of Michelangelo Antonioni and hailed as a groundbreaking modernist work by the legendary film journal Cahiers du cinéma, Journey to Italy is a breathtaking cinematic benchmark. Among the major retrospectives Tom Luddy organized for the Pacific Film Archive was a Roberto Rossellini series in 1973 with Rossellini in person.

    Introduced by David Thomson

  • Such a Pretty Little Beach

    • Saturday, June 3 5 PM
    Yves Allégret
    France, 1949

    Digital Restoration

    Tom Luddy screened this classic French film noir many times during his tenure as a curator at the Pacific Film Archive. “Marvelously photographed by Henri Alekan and arguably Gérard Philipe’s finest study of romantic despair” (David Thomson, Biographical Dictionary of Film).

    Introduced by Edith Kramer and Jean-Pierre Gorin

  • Vivre sa vie

    • Friday, June 2 7 PM
    Jean-Luc Godard
    France, 1962

    In twelve tableaux, Vivre sa vie tells of Nana (Anna Karina) at the brief, flickering moment when she takes responsibility for her life. Jean-Luc Godard’s cinema was greatly admired by Tom Luddy, who organized the first Godard retrospective with the artist present in March 1968.

    Introduced by Sheldon Renan and Jean-Pierre Gorin

  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

    • Thursday, June 1 7 PM
    F. W. Murnau
    United States, 1927

    Restored 35mm Print

    F. W. Murnau handpicked Janet Gaynor to star in his first Hollywood feature, a masterpiece of silent cinema widely considered among the greatest films ever made, which tells an elemental tale with virtuosic visual invention. This film was among Tom Luddy’s favorites. As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley in 1966, Luddy founded the F. W. Murnau Film Society.

    Introduced by Julie Huntsinger and Orville Schell; Judith Rosenberg on piano