Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 3pm
Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli’s Anna

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli, video, 1972-1975, 225 mins
Introduced by Dennis Lim

Shot in 1972, first shown in 1975, and newly restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli’s Anna is an astonishing nearly four-hour documentary about a 16-year-old homeless junkie, eight months pregnant, whom the filmmakers discovered in Rome’s Piazza Navona. Mainly shot on then-newfangled video (which at times gives the black-and-white images a ghostly translucence), it documents the interactions between the beautiful, clearly damaged, often dazed teenager and the directors, who take her in partly out of compassion and partly because she’s a fascinating subject for a film.

Far from straightforward vérité, this self-implicating chronicle includes reenactments of the first meeting, explicit attempts to direct its subject, and frequent intrusions from behind the camera (not least the emergence of the film’s electrician as a love interest). Anna cuts between long, often discomfiting domestic scenes (including an interminable delousing in the shower) and equally protracted café discussions back in the square, where the unruly cross talk among hippies, bums, bourgeoisie, and angry young men touches on the movie’s key themes of obligation and intervention: between filmmakers and their subjects, the state and its citizens, fellow members of society.

An end-of-the-1960s document with the scale and intimacy of Robert Kramer’s Milestones, Anna also marks the birth of our media age, not just demonstrating the obsessive immersions of a new technology that, as Grifi put it, “makes life filmable,” but also embodying the uneasy dawning awareness of what that means. It’s a film born on a cusp, as an urgency to change the world yielded to an urge to record it. - DL

Tickets - $7, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 2:30pm.

Restoration by Cineteca Nazionale, Cineteca di Bologna and Associazione Alberto Grifi.

Special thanks to Electronic Arts Intermix.