Over the Top and into the Wire: WWI on Film

8/2/14 to 8/27/14

Timed to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of World War I, our series brings together a selection of the shorts, cartoons, and features that span the fifty years separating the Great War from the Cold War to suggest the range of responses to the conflict and its aftermath. Guest curated by UC Berkeley's Russell Merritt, who will give two short lectures.

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Past Films

  • All Quiet on the Western Front

    • Wednesday, August 27 7pm

    Lewis Milestone (U.S., 1930). New 35mm Print! Director Lewis Milestone won an Academy Award for this film, one of the boldest statements ever made about the cruelty and futility of war. Set in Europe during WWI, the plot follows the disillusionment of idealist young German soldiers as they confront the realities of the battlefield. (143 mins)

  • Paths of Glory

    • Friday, August 22 7pm

    Stanley Kubrick (U.S., 1957). “Kubrick's first full-fledged masterpiece is a peerless insanity-of-war picture. . . . Kirk Douglas has never been better”(Time Out NY). (87 mins)

  • Arsenal

    • Sunday, August 17 5pm

    Alexander Dovzhenko (USSR, 1929) BAM/PFA Collection Print! Introduced by Russell Merritt. Judith Rosenberg on piano. Dovzhenko's masterful film uses symbolic juxtaposition, metaphor, pantomime, and even fantasy to pay tribute to the Ukrainian workers and their struggles in Czarist Russia during and immediately after the First World War. (75 mins)

  • Gabriel Over the White House

    • Wednesday, August 13 7pm

    Gregory La Cava (U.S., 1933). Lecture by Russell Merritt. A newly elected U.S. President decides the best way to solve the country's problems is by seizing all power, in one of the most shocking and curious films that Hollywood ever made during the Great Depression-or ever. (87 mins plus lecture)

  • Grand Illusion

    • Friday, August 8 8:30pm

    Jean Renoir (France, 1937). Jean Renoir's deeply humane portrait of World War I POWs, “one of the most haunting of all war films” (NY Times). Starring Jean Gabin and Erich von Stroheim. (117 mins)

  • Hearts of the World

    • Sunday, August 3 5pm

    D.W. Griffith (U.K./U.S., 1918) 35mm Archival Print! Judith Rosenberg on piano. Griffith's war spectacular, an epic family melodrama with war front footage (real and faked), historic tableaux, and lurid war atrocities. Lillian Gish and Robert Harron star as two American expatriates who fall in love just as Germans invade France and bombard their village. (133 mins)

  • Shoulder Arms

    • Saturday, August 2 8:15pm

    Charles Chaplin (U.S., 1918). Lecture by Russell Merritt. Judith Rosenberg on piano. Released just a few weeks before the Armistice, Shoulder Arms is a Tramp's-eye view of World War I. With shorts The Sinking of the Lusitania and Great Guns. (95 mins including lecture)