Watching the Unwatchable: Films Confront Torture

11/1/09 to 2/7/10

When the unthinkable happens, we must watch the unwatchable. Filmmakers take on torture in this continuing program, presented in conjunction with the BAM exhibition Fernando Botero: The Abu Ghraib Series.

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  • Archeology of Memory: Villa Grimaldi, February 7|© Adam Kufeld

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Past Films

  • Archeology of Memory: Villa Grimaldi

    • Sunday, February 7 5:30 pm

    Quique Cruz, Marilyn Mulford (U.S./Chile, 2008). Musical performance by Quijeremá. Cruz, a Chilean composer/musician/poet now living in the Bay Area, converts his memories of imprisonment in Pinochet's notorious torture center Villa Grimaldi into art in this touching documentary on the power of remembrance and healing. (88 mins)

  • Seven Moments

    • Thursday, February 4 8:30 pm

    Diana Cardozo (Mexico, 2008). The little-known story of the Tupamaros, a radical urban guerilla group in Uruguay, is recounted in this intriguing Mexican documentary, which focuses on seven women who took a major role in the group. (90 mins)

  • How Nice to See You Alive

    • Tuesday, February 2 7:30 pm

    Lúcia Murat (Brazil, 1989). Documentary interviews are interspersed with fictional monologues in this heartbreaking Brazilian essay-film, based on the accounts of eight women held as political prisoners under the Brazilian dictatorship. (100 mins)

  • The Wall

    • Sunday, January 31 6:00 pm

    Yilmaz Güney (France, 1983). The great Turkish filmmaker Güney, jailed for years as a political prisoner, delivers an astonishing portrait of life in a Turkish jail, where violent felons, government critics, teenage thieves, and abusive guards are all behind the walls. (117 mins)

  • Open City

    • Thursday, January 28 8:35 pm

    Roberto Rossellini (Italy, 1945). A group of women and children try to shelter resistance forces from the Nazis in this landmark work of Italian neorealism. (102 mins)

  • Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

    • Saturday, January 23 8:30 pm

    Pier Paolo Pasolini (Italy, 1975). Pasolini's most controversial film-a graphic adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's famous work, adapted to an Italian Fascist milieu-“has not been tamed by the passage of years.”-L.A. Times. Adults only. (117 mins)

  • Confortorio

    • Thursday, January 21 7:00 pm

    Paolo Benvenuti (Italy, 1992). A group of Catholic high priests attempt to convert two Jewish thieves to Christianity before their execution in this baroque, Caravaggesque Italian thriller, recently spotlighted at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. (85 mins)

  • Le petit soldat

    • Thursday, January 21 8:45 pm

    Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1960). A disillusioned French counter-agent in Geneva becomes embroiled with Algerian separatists, Parisian torturers, and Anna Karina in Godard's second film, banned for three years in France. (88 mins)

  • The Underground Orchestra

    • Sunday, December 6 3:00 pm

    Heddy Honigmann (The Netherlands, 1997). A portrait of the buskers of the Paris Métro-a Venezuelan harpist, an Algerian singer, a violinist from Sarajevo-becomes a document of survival in exile. “A splendid example of how illuminating and entertaining a documentary can be.”-L.A. Times (108 mins)

  • S-21, The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine

    • Thursday, November 5 8:15 pm

    Rithy Panh (Cambodia, 2002). Victims and perpetrators of state violence in Cambodia together confront the atrocities of the 1970s in Rithy Panh's moving documentary. “Unforgettable . . . as horrific an exposure to evil as Shoah.”-Village Voice (105 mins)

  • Standard Operating Procedure

    • Sunday, November 1 3:00 pm

    Errol Morris (U.S., 2008). Introduced by Laurel Fletcher. Seeking to understand the notorious Abu Ghraib photographs, Errol Morris looks outside the frame. “As a human document of what people are capable of in wartime, it's indispensable.”-Christian Science Monitor (117 mins)

  • Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment

    • Sunday, November 1 5:30 pm

    Ken Musen (U.S., 1988). A documentary on the notorious 1971 psychological experiment that transformed college students into “prisoners” and “guards.” With Vinyl, Andy Warhol's very loose adaptation of A Clockwork Orange. (114 mins)