Date & Time:
Thu March 2, 2023
The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Open to the public
GIUSEPPINA and THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG
(Various filmmakers, 1960-1964, approx 120 min, 16mm and 35mm)
The two films in this program offer brightly-hued glimpses of the optimistic image that oil companies sought to project into the popular imagination of the 1950s and 60s.
Commissioned by British Petroleum, GIUSEPPINA (James Hill, 1960) follows a young girl in rural Italy stuck spending the day at her father’s service station. Despite her disappointment, Giuseppina’s day is punctuated by the episodic pleasures of diverse passers-by, positioning the gas station as a crossroads of humanity—and a source of charming, everyday entertainment. Turning BP’s green-and-yellow brand into feat of pop-modernist artifice, GIUSEPPINA was awarded an Oscar (inexplicably, in the Best Documentary Short category) and was later acquired by the BBC as a “trade test film” to aid calibration and sales in the early days of color broadcasting. THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964), a collaboration between director Jacques Demy and composer Michel Legrand, is perhaps best known for its unique formal universe in which all speech is sung and every room is a pocket of coordinated, Technicolor saturation. The intoxicating optimism of the film’s form is paired, however, with the devastating love story of Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) and Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve) who dream, at the film's opening, of one day opening a gas station together.
Brian Jacobson, Professor of Visual Culture at California Institute of Technology, will introduce the program and participate in a question and answer session facilitated by Ph.D. student in Screen Cultures Kylie Walters following the films.
(James Hill, 1960, 32 min, in Italian with English Subtitles, 16mm)
THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG
(Jacques Demy, 1964, 91 min, in French with English Subtitles, 35mm)
About the series:
CRUDE AESTHETICS: OIL ON FILM
Across a feast of genres, including melodrama, comedy, thriller, and documentary, the films of Crude Aesthetics: Oil on Film reveal the entanglement of visual culture with the dark progress of the global oil industry during the past century. The power of oil, its predatory optimism, has left a fascinating, contradictory, and sometimes vanishingly subtle record in the history of cinema. Programmed as part of the Kaplan Humanities Center’s “Energies” Dialogues, Crude Aesthetics brings together screenings, talks, and discussions to explore the ways film media of the past century have shaped how we see — or learn not to see — the fuller impacts of our fatalistic dependence on oil.
Co-presented with support from the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Climate Crisis and Media Arts Working Group, the Department of English, the Environmental Humanities Working Group, the Comparative Literary Studies program, the Department of Radio, Television, and Film, the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, the Department of French & Italian, the Middle East and North African Studies program, the School of Communications Humanities Council, the Environmental Policy & Culture Program, and the Screen Cultures program at Northwestern University.
Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org