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American splendor

Sesion: november 03, 2017 at 19:00

Category: Drama

Synopsis: Harvey Pekar is file clerk at the local VA hospital. His interactions with his co-workers offer some relief from the monotony, and their discussions encompass everything from music to the decline of American culture to new flavors of jellybeans and life itself. At home, Harvey fills his days with reading, writing and listening to jazz. His apartment is filled with thousands of books and LPs, and he regularly scours Cleveland's thrift stores and garage sales for more, savoring the rare joy of a 25-cent find. It is at one of these junk sales that Harvey meets Robert Crumb, a greeting card artist and music enthusiast. When, years later, Crumb finds international success for his underground comics, the idea that comic books can be a valid art form for adults inspires Harvey to write his own brand of comic book. An admirer of naturalist writers like Theodore Dreiser, Harvey makes his 'American Splendor' a truthful, unsentimental record of his working-class life, a warts-and-all self portrait. First published in 1976, the comic earns Harvey cult fame throughout the 1980s and eventually leads him to the sardonic Joyce Barber, a partner in a Delaware comic book store who end ups being Harvey's true soul mate as they experience the bizarre byproducts of Harvey's cult celebrity stature.

Length: 100 min.

Director: Robert Pulcini


  • Synecdoche, New York
    Director: Charlie Kaufman
    Length: 128 min.
    Sesion: december 01, 2017 at 18:30

Expressionist cinema

The film sessions, which aim to be educational, will be held in the library and entry will be free of charge while space is available.

This type of film began in the turbulent years of the Weimar Republic, in a Germany between wars. The nation had been defeated, overwhelmed by the political and social turmoil and fearful about the future. In the Expressionist movement, the film creators found a means of narrating this existential anguish, for which there was no place in the realist monopoly of American cinema. The German school of the decade of the 1920s stood out amid the panorama of celluloid because of its technical and narrative superiority.

A cinematic journey that begins with Wiene (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920) Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (Nosferatu, 1922) and Fritz Lang (Metropolis, 1927). Expressionist film had died out by the end of the 1920s but there was a resurgence of its legacy in the terror films of the 1930s and the black cinema of the 1940s. Masters of the seventh art were impressed by films such as Der müde Tod (Fritz Lang), in the case of Buñuel, and Alfred Hitchcock by the UFA film studios. Many others such as Dreyer and Orson Welles took note of this unusual aesthetic and the attitude of the German school, which are still present in the creations of contemporary directors such as Tim Burton and David Lynch.
Their scripts speak of dementia, of madness, betrayal and the denouncing of a system which had broken down. A critique of the discourse of reason. Their films can even be warnings of the future of a decadent Germany, like the reading of the masterpiece of this style, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Cesare, the main character, is immersed in a dream world which does not allow him to wake up to reality; he is a victim of the dark side of humanity, of  manipulation and the oppression of the weak soul that finds no possibility of escaping.

This type of cinema forms part of a historic process of uncertainty. The directors were witnesses to and protagonists of the advance of modernisation and its consequences in the loss of individuality of the human being, in films which gave rise to this fear and vision of the future such as Metropolis, whose subject, combined with the use of novel visual effects, began to define the field of science fiction.
Faced with a moral crisis which was affecting society, the directors confronted the sense of reason with an anti-naturalist attitude. In this search for a way to embody subjectivity, a world of sinister and tormented characters came into being. The grotesque Nosferatu is the origin of the vampire saga, which still remains a success.
This cinema formulated a subversive aesthetic that emphasised the theatrical element with dramatic and psychological purposes. Its theatrical abnormality is characterised by optical distortion, the disappearance of vertical axes or reliefs and outlines which are highlighted to exaggeration, the visual angulation, the continued use of the sloping incline and waving lines as a reflection of subjectivism. They made the use of the light of a character and of the shadows an aesthetic and narrative symbol. The strength of contrasts and light versus darkness are a sign of identity of this genre. A cinematic experience whose narrative and technique consecrated a style that formed its own chapter in the history of film.  

An atypical appointment with the big screen, aimed at those who are not afraid to venture into distorted realities of false perspectives, impossible angles, streets that disappear obliquely, asymmetrical façades and suffocating interiors. Of fantastic and mythical elements, of vampires and assassins, of bleak futures … a world of light and shadows to which we can do nothing other than invite you, just as Dr. Caligari would do.

Ladies and gentlemen, come in and see!


The film screenings will be accompanied by an introductory talk about contextualisation, outstanding data, curiosities, reflections and contributions. At the end of the film, those who so wish can discuss their opinions with others. For film lovers who are not able to attend, we recommend that they share their opinions on our Facebook page and on Twitter.