Provincetown Film Art Series

The Provincetown Film Art Series is presented annually by PAAM and the Provincetown Film Society (PFS).

The series, now in its 16th year, brings art-house cinema to Provincetown during the community’s quieter months. Howard Karren curates and hosts the series, introduces the films, and leads a discussion afterwards.

The Season Pass ($135 for members of PAAM or PFS, $185 for the general public) includes admission to all screenings, including the Kick-Off Party and film on Sunday, November 13 (reception at 11am, film screening at 12pm) and is available for purchase here. Admission to individual films may be purchased at the Box Office, where members of PAAM or PFS receive a discount.

Screenings are held at 7pm every other Wednesday (except as noted) at the Waters Edge Cinema in Provincetown, 237 Commercial Street (Whaler’s Wharf, 2nd floor).

The 2022-23 Season

Part I: Artists and Models

Dramatic accounts of the pitfalls of creativity

Kick-Off Celebration: November 13, 2022, Reception at 11am, Screening at 12pm

La Belle Noiseuse (1991), “The Beautiful Troublemaker”

Directed by Jacques Rivette. With Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin, and Emmanuelle Béart. 3 hours, 58 minutes. In French with subtitles.

Michel Piccoli plays the veteran painter Édouard Frenhofer, who has been inactive for years until he is introduced to the young wife of an acquaintance (Emmanuelle Béart) as a potential model. The powerful chemistry between them disrupts both of their lives and their marriages. The epic Belle Noiseuse marks the return to top form by the French New Wave master Jacques Rivette.

November 16

La Chienne (1931), “The Bitch”

Directed by Jean Renoir. With Michel Simon and Janie Marèse. 1 hour, 35 minutes. In French with subtitles. Black and white.

The first masterpiece of Jean Renoir’s great decade of filmmaking in the 1930s, La Chienne is the story of an amateur painter (portrayed by the great Michel Simon), married to a shrew, who falls for a calculating young woman who exploits his talents for her own gain. A tragic tale of unrequited romance, it was remade by Fritz Lang in Hollywood as Scarlet Street, with Edward G. Robinson.

November 30

Red Rocket (2021)

Directed by Sean Baker. With Simon Rex, Bree Elrod, and Suzanna Son. 2 hours, 10 minutes.

Sean Baker, the neorealist maverick behind Tangerine and The Florida Project, returns to one of his favorite subjects: sex workers. Simon Rex stars as an aging porn actor who, having become broke and unemployable, tries to groom a young girl in his Texas hometown as his ticket back into the industry. Rex is revelatory as an utterly selfish, destructive protagonist.

December 14

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Directed by Céline Sciamma. With Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel. 2 hours, 2 minutes. In French with subtitles.

This period lesbian romance from the great French provocateur Céline Sciamma won the “Queer Palm” at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s the story of a painting, told by the woman who created it, an art teacher in late 19th-century France. The work commemorates her romantic relationship with the painting’s subject, a young woman about to be married off — and it’s a love that can never be erased from memory.

January 4

Loving Highsmith (2022)

Directed by Eva Vitija. Documentary portrait of Patricia Highsmith. 1 hour, 23 minutes.

The writer Patricia Highsmith, author of the popular Ripley novels, as well as Strangers on a Train (adapted by Hitchcock) and the lesbian romance Carol, was remarkably forthright in living a queer life — she once described sleeping with men as “steel wool in the face.” Alternately bitter and ambitious, Highsmith is as fascinating a character as Tom Ripley himself.

January 18

Camera Buff (1979)

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. With Jerzy Stuhr. 1 hour, 52 minutes. In Polish with subtitles.

The Polish auteur Krzysztof Kieslowski is best known for the movies he made in France in the 1990s, particularly the tricolor trilogy Blue, White, and Red. But his work in Communist postwar Poland, such as the 10-hour-long Dekalog, is deeply profound and subversive. Camera Buff, a fable about censorship, follows the fate of a factory worker who becomes obsessed with filmmaking when he gets an 8mm camera, upsetting the authorities with his unorthodox way of seeing the truth.

Part II: Dreams and Outcasts

Searching for fulfillment in a world of rejection

February 1

Great Freedom (2022)

Directed by Sebastian Meise. With Franz Rogowski and Georg Friedrich. 1 hour, 56 minutes. In German with subtitles.

Paragraph 175, part of the German criminal code, forbade male homosexuality and was brutally enforced by the Nazis and (as seen in this film) postwar West Germany through 1969. Great Freedom is the story of Hans, who spends most of his adult life in jail because of his hook-ups with men. He is relentlessly resourceful in remaining true to himself in prison — and unable to shake it when released.

February 15

A Taste of Honey (1961)

Directed by Tony Richardson. With Rita Tushingham and Robert Stephens. 1 hour, 41 minutes. Black and white.

Based on a play by Shelagh Delaney, this “kitchen sink” classic of ’60s British cinema by Tony Richardson (who directed the play in the West End) is about Jo, a 17-year-old in bleak working-class Manchester who gets pregnant by a Black man, then abandoned. A gay student friend invites Jo to live with him and be the child’s surrogate father, but their brief idyll is doomed by a world with little joy.

March 1

Wildhood (2022)

Directed by Bretten Hannam. With Phillip Lewitski and Joshua Odjick. 1 hour, 48 minutes.

A Nova Scotia teen escapes the abuse of his father and travels with his young half-brother through the countryside seeking his long-lost Indigenous mom. Along the way, he meets a Mi’kmaq young man who is smitten with him. This breathtaking coming-of-age film is filmed with tenderness and a thoroughly modern sense of wonder.

Part III: The Female Gaze

Women directors discover a different kind of Other

March 15

The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

Directed by Ida Lupino. With Edmond O’Brien, William Talman, and Frank Lovejoy. 1 hour, 11 minutes. Black and white.

At a time when virtually no women were shooting studio pictures and Ida Lupino’s career as an actress in Hollywood was becoming untenable, she became a self-styled auteur of independent genre movies, most notably this gritty film noir about a deadly hitchhiker — the only noir of its era directed by a woman.

March 29

Le Bonheur (1965), “Happiness”

Directed by Agnès Varda. With Jean-Claude Drouot. 1 hour, 20 minutes. In French with subtitles.

Agnès Varda was the only major woman director of the French New Wave movement. Her early films were often overshadowed by those of her husband, Jacques Remy. This superficially happy relationship movie about husband who strays under the pretext of free love is actually, one critic has said, “a horror movie wrapped up in sunflowers.”

April 12

I Am Not a Witch (2017)

Directed by Rungano Nyoni. With Maggie Mulubwa. 1 hour, 33 minutes. In English, Nyanja, Bemba, and Tonga with subtitles.

I Am Not a Witch is the feature directorial debut of Rungano Nyoni, a Zambian-born, Welsh-raised filmmaker, which premiered at the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s the satirical, ambiguous, and provocative story of a young Zambian girl who shows up in a town and is deemed to be a witch. Her life is then tragically determined by this judgment, which she reluctantly adheres to.

April 26

Leave No Trace (2018)

Directed by Debra Granik. With Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie. 1 hour, 49 minutes.

The follow-up to Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, which launched Jennifer Lawrence’s career, Leave No Trace is the atmospheric and moving saga of a military vet with PTSD and his 13-year-old daughter. They live off the grid in an old-growth park outside of Portland, Ore., until they are discovered and make the difficult transition back into small town life.

May 3

Portrait of Jason (1967)

Directed by Shirley Clarke. Documentary interview with Jason Holliday. 1 hour, 45 minutes. Black and white.

Shirley Clarke was a pioneer of American independent film in the ’50s and ’60s, and Portrait of Jason, her cinéma vérité–style portrait of African American hustler and aspiring cabaret performer Jason Holliday, shot over 12 hours in Clarke’s Chelsea Hotel apartment in 1966, was only recognized as a classic after being restored and rereleased nearly 40 years later. Ingmar Bergman called it “the most extraordinary film I’ve seen in my life.”

May 17

Gas Food Lodging (1992)

Directed by Allison Anders. With Brooke Adams, Ione Skye, and Fairuza Balk. 1 hour, 41 minutes.

Gas Food Lodging is the thoroughly engaging second feature by American independent filmmaker Allison Anders, which led to her earning a MacArthur “genius” grant in 1995. It’s a humanist drama about the romantic entanglements of a single mom and her two teenage daughters living in a small desert town in New Mexico.

Season Pass