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A Cinema Series Investigating the Impact of Cinema on Contemporary Notions of Reality, to Debut in July

Works by such cinematic masters as Méliès, Cronenberg, Haneke, and Tarkovsky, to be double-billed with video arts and excerpts from reality TV, cable newscasts, 

New York, NY (June 6, 2011)

In conjunction with Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities, the Museum of Arts and Design presents An Assault of Reality, a cinema series that examines how this medium has affected our perceptions of reality, truth, and existence. Aiming to redefine the term "cinema" as any work utilizing motion pictures to convey narratives, An Assault of Reality screens paradoxical double bills drawing from a wide variety of classic and contemporary genres, movements, and forms-including animation to neo-realism, reality to web TV. Tracing cinema's evolution from its distribution through a variety of platforms in the early 1900s, to its rise through theatrical venues, and its saturating proliferation in recent decades through the recurrence of myriad new platforms, An Assault of Reality highlights how cinema has evolved into the dominant force for communication and education, and in the process reformed our collective reality.

"The democratization of the tools of media production through technical innovation has heightened people's awareness of how cinematic narrative has not only altered popular entertainment, but also education, social norms, and the construction of reality itself," says Jake Yuzna, MAD's Manager of Public Programs and the curator of this series. "Reality television, online videos, theatrical films, and video journalism, all function together and inform how we understand ourselves and the worlds in which we reside. An Assault of Reality seeks to demonstrate how the previous definition of cinema has become outdated and to re-examine how cinema is perceived, how it is taught, how it teaches us, and the emerging possibilities for its new horizons."

This series, which will be screened in MAD's historic Theater, opens on Friday, July 8, and continues through Thursday, August 4, 2011.  

An Assault of Reality will present the following double features:  

Georges Méliès + MTV's The Real World
Friday, July 8, 7:00 pm

Special Q & A with original "Real World" cast member Rebecca"Becky" Blasband

Over the past century, cinema has evolved from fantastical storytelling to shaping not only how we perceive reality but also how we behave, often to fantastical effect. "A Trip to the Moon," made by Georges Méliès in 1902, and "The Real World," which debuted on MTV 90 years later, are two watershed works that have forever altered the form, methodology, and perceived use of cinema.

Busby Berkeley + Lars Von Trier
Thursday, July 14, 7:00 pm

Often viewed as a way to escape the harsh truths of everyday existence, cinema has long served as a laboratory for the construction of startlingly new and often fantastical visual and cultural languages. "Footlight Parade," a high-production American musical from 1933, which features some of Busby Berkeley's most spectacular choreography, and the aesthetically expressive "Nocturne," a short film made by Lars von Trier in 1980 during his pre-Dogme student days, are examples of American and European cinematic works that have subtly shifted cultural frameworks under the guise of flash and glitter.

Walt Disney + Michael Haneke
Friday, July 15, 7:00 pm

"Steamboat Willie," Walt Disney's first animated film from 1928, and Michael Haneke's 2003 drama "Time of the Wolf" both use filmic narrative to construct—and sometimes deconstruct—the ideologies that form the dominant social and political systems.

Andrei Tarkovsky + CNN
Thursday July 21, 7:00 PM

During the 20th century, cinema evolved into the most pervasive and persuasive tool for the dissemination of information. Looking at Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 science fiction film "Stalker" and the first broadcast of CNN in 1980 reveals much about the malleability of truth in storytelling.

Nick Broomfield + David Cronenberg
Friday, July 22, 7:00 pm

The mechanisms of the cinema industry not only shape the final works produced, they also affect those individuals and communities they touch. Nick Broomfield's documentary "Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of A Serial Killer" (1993) and David Cronenberg's short "Camera" (2000) reveal with bracing insight the effects of cinematic production on the creators and subjects.

The Maysles Brothers + Mary Bramford
Thursday, July 28, 7:00 pm

Tracing the evolution of celebrity and the effect of "persona" on individual identity, the landmark Maysles Brothers documentary "Grey Gardens" (1975) and the pioneering web series "The Maria Bamford Show" (2007) reveal different approaches to performance: one formed by the individual's "behind the scenes" identity and the other created in front of the camera.

Roberto Rossellini + Mario Pfeifer
Friday, July 29, 7:00 pm

The role of cinema as a tool of cultural change is an increasingly powerful one. Roberto Rosselini's 1945 Italian neorealist classic "Rome, Open City" and video artist Mario Pfeifer's 2008 "Yet Untitled [>>Pieces of Nature<<]" are case studies of cinematic works constructed to foster social change.

Guy Debord + Atom Egoyan
Thursday, August 4, 7:00 pm

An Assault of Reality culminates with Guy Debord's "Society of Spectacle" (1973), a radical criticism of mass marketing and its role in the alienation of modern society and Atom Egoyan's "Artaud Double Bill" (2007), which captures how the millennial generation use and view cinema.

An Assault of Reality is a cinema program by The Museum of Arts and Design. Film screenings will be held in the Theater at MAD, at 2 Columbus Circle. All screenings $10 General, $7 MAD Members and Students with Valid ID

An Assault of Reality is programmed by Jake Yuzna, Manager of Public Programs.

An Assault of Reality is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities, opening on June 7.

Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the Cultural Services of the Québec Government Office in New York, Mimi Livingston, and the Collectors Circle, a leadership Museum support group.

Charles Simonds' Dwelling, 2011 (located in the MAD lobby) is made possible by the Collections Committee and Mimi Livingston.

Charles Simonds' Dwelling, 2011 (located at 1790 Broadway) is made possible by 1790 Broadway Associates LLC.


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