Provincetown Film Art Series

The Provincetown Film Art Series, now in its 17th year, is presented annually by PAAM and the Provincetown Film Society (PFS) and curated and hosted by film critic and scholar Howard Karren.

Films in the series, both new and old, are chosen around central themes, but the focus is on films about artists and films that are works of art themselves. All films are held at Waters Edge Cinema (Whaler’s Wharf, 3rd Floor, 237 Commercial Street).

A special Opening Celebration (free with pass) will be held on Sunday, November 12 at 12pm (screening at 1pm). Refreshments will be served. Tickets to this event for non-passholders are $35 ($30 for PFS or PAAM members) and can be purchased at the door.

A special Closing Celebration (free with pass) will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 12pm (screening at 1pm). Refreshments will be served. Tickets to this event for non-passholders are $35 ($30 for PFS or PAAM members) and can be purchased at the door.

The remaining thirteen regular screenings (free with pass) will be held on Thursdays at 7pm, starting November 16 and then every two weeks (except when noted) through May 9, 2024. Tickets for non-passholders can be purchased at the cinema. Screenings are introduced by Howard Karren with program notes and are followed by a discussion.

Season Passes, which include admission to the Opening and Closing Celebrations and all thirteen Thursday night screenings, are $150 for PFS or PAAM members; $195 for non-members. Purchase yours today!

The 2023-4 Season

Part I: Dreams, Reality, and the Artist


Drive My Car (2021)

Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Based on a short story by Haruki Murakami. With Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura. 2 hours, 59 minutes. In Japanese, subtitled.

In the New York Times, Manohla Dargis called this Oscar and Cannes winner a “quiet masterpiece … a story about grief, love and work as well as the soul-sustaining, life-shaping power of art.” It’s the behind-the-scenes drama of a widowed theater director and his young female chauffeur, who is assigned to him during a production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima.


The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982)

Written and directed by Peter Greenaway. With Anthony Higgins and Janet Suzman. 1 hour, 48 minutes.

This darkly farcical period comedy about a seductive 17th-century British artist who is commissioned to draw an estate by the master’s wife while the master is away, is the feature that put Greenaway (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover) and his idiosyncratic, theatrical style on the map.


Official Competition (2021)

Directed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat. With Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, and Oscar Martínez. 1 hour, 55 minutes. In Spanish; subtitled.

A sharp and often hilarious satire of filmmaking, Official Competition stars Cruz as a celebrated director hired to make the most out of her two egotistical stars, played by Banderas and Martínez.


Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes (2023)

Directed by Sam Shahid. Documentary. 1 hour, 36 minutes.

Shahid has created an extraordinarily vivid and sensitive portrait of the pioneering gay artist George Platt Lynes. Though prominent as a fashion and celebrity photographer in midcentury America, Lynes also left a legacy of exquisite and unabashedly erotic male nudes.


Wise Blood (1979)

Directed by John Huston. Adapted from the novel by Flannery O’Connor. With Brad Dourif, Dan Shor, Amy Wright, Harry Dean Stanton, and William Hickey. 1 hour, 46 minutes.

Only Flannery O’Connor could have written this merciless story of the demented martyr Hazel Motes, who, disgusted by con artists in a small, postwar Southern town, turns himself into an evangelist of the Church of Christ Without Christ. And only John Huston could have adapted it, teetering, as he often did, between pathos and nihilism.


The Truman Show (1998)

Directed by Peter Weir. Written by Andrew Niccol. With Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, and Ed Harris. 1 hour, 43 minutes.

In Weir and Niccol’s wondrous movie fable about reality TV taken to its voyeuristic limits, Carrey plays Truman Burbank, whose life has been wholesomely and perversely orchestrated by the godlike TV producer Christof (Ed Harris), filmed 24/7 and populated by actors.


Bugsy (1991)

Directed by Barry Levinson. Written by James Toback. With Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. 2 hours, 16 minutes.

Though Toback’s script is faithful to historical facts about gangster Bugsy Siegel’s life, he becomes, in the hands of Beatty and Levinson, an American visionary — the father of Las Vegas. The movie is also a sublime romance, between Siegel and starlet Virginia Hill, and the real-life sparks between Beatty and Bening are palpable.

Part II: Songs of Innocence Lost


Playground (2021)

Written and directed by Laura Wandel. With Maya Vanderbeque and Günter Duret. 1 hour, 12 minutes. In French; subtitled.

The emotional battleground of a Belgian grade school playground is observed with restrained intensity by Laura Wandel’s camera, as 7-year-old Nora tries desperately to fit in and protect her bullied older brother Abel. Complex and heart-wrenching.


Joyland (2022)

Directed by and cowritten by Saim Sadiq. With Ali Junejo, Rasti Farooq, and Alina Khan. 2 hours, 6 minutes. In Punjabi and Urdu; subtitled.

Of this love story about a young married Pakistani man who falls for a trans woman in a burlesque theater troupe, Anthony Lane in The New Yorker says, “Sadiq is not lecturing us or trading in types; he is taking us by sensory surprise, and the tale that he tells is funny, forward, and sometimes woundingly sad.”


L’Atalante (1934)

Directed and cowritten by Jean Vigo. With Jean Dasté, Dita Parlo, and Michel Simon. 1 hour, 29 minutes. In French; subtitled.

Vigo’s second and last feature film — he died of chronic illness at age 29 shortly after L’Atalante was completed —is the beautiful and suspenseful love story between a tugboat captain and his young, sheltered, newlywed wife. Vigo’s raw, naturalistic filmmaking was an inspiration to the New Wave.


R.M.N. (2022)

Written and directed by Cristian Mungiu. With Marin Grigore, Mark Blenyesi, and Judith State. 2 hours, 5 minutes. In Romanian, Hungarian, and German; subtitled.

Mungiu, the brilliant Romanian New Wave auteur behind 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, returns with this searing examination of xenophobia and tribalism in a small Transylvanian town. It’s the story of one local man, Matthias, who leaves his job in a German slaughterhouse to be with his young son and old girlfriend.


Il Posto (1961)

Directed by Ermanno Olmi. Written by Ettore Lombardo and Olmi. With Sandro Panseri and Loredana Detto. 1 hour, 33 minutes. In Italian; subtitled.

Ermanno Olmi arrived on a second wave of postwar neorealist filmmakers in Italy— shooting on location with nonprofessional actors —and Il Posto is an early masterpiece: tracking the disillusionment of Domenico and Antonietta, Italian teenagers who come to Milan and get lost in its corporate urban maze.


Close (2022)

Directed and cowritten by Lukas Dhont. With Eden Dambrine and Gustav De Waele. 1 hour, 44 minutes. In French and Flemish; subtitled.

The relationship between 13-year-old Belgian boys Leo and Remi is prepubescent but intense: though they horse around like kids, it’s clear that Remi has a crush on Leo, and that awkward fact and its dire consequences reverberate throughout a web of family and school relationships. Dhont handles the many profound emotional moments with intelligence and grace.


Mutt (2023)

Written and directed by Vuk Lungulov-Klotz., With Lio Mehiel, Cole Doman, and MiMi Ryder. 1 hour, 27 minutes.

Mutt is a wake-up call of astonishing talent and a riveting cinematic voice: that of trans male writer-director Vuk Lungulov-Klotz and their queer cast and crew. The film propels its way through a gritty weekend in the life of Feña, a trans man still navigating their transition, who faces a Job-like cascade of obstacles in Brooklyn (such as their teenage half-sister and old boyfriend) while completing the simple task of picking dad up at the airport.


The Last Picture Show (1971)

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Bogdanovich, based on McMurtry’s novel. With Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ben Johnson, and Ellen Burstyn. 1 hour, 58 minutes.

The movie that launched Bogdanovich’s long career (and Cybill Shepherd’s) is based on an autobiographical novel by Larry McMurtry about teenagers in a small Texas town in the early ’50s. As seen by Bogdanovich, The Last Picture Show is an elegy to golden-era Hollywood and the way it once dreamed of America.

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