Memories, hauntings, history, and occasionally magical realism form reoccurring themes that cross place and time in the 3 films we’ve chosen to show alongside the upcoming Carroll Cloar centennial exhibition, The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South. Crîa Cuervos, The Exterminating Angel and Intruder in the Dust were selected to reference and expand upon the corresponding themes seen in Cloar’s life and paintings.
As a young artist, Cloar traveled to Europe where he was heavily influenced by European art. He also traveled to Mexico multiple times to continue his paintings and his writings. The memories from his childhood that he would write about during these trips formed the basis for many of his paintings and lithographs.
In a similar way, the allegorical Spanish film Crîa Cuervos, directed by the influential and critically acclaimed filmmaker Carlos Saura, explores themes of memory and unrest via the lead character, a young girl who is forced to come to terms with the death of her mother. The reoccurring memory of her mother materializes as a ghost throughout the movie. The daughter’s guilt also becomes a ghost, an allegory for Spain’s Franco-drenched fascism and political unrest. (On an interesting and related note, Cloar believed his house in Memphis was haunted and even created paintings based on photographs he claimed ghosts left him).
The Exterminating Angel, a hauntingly memorable film created by Luis Buñuel while he lived in Mexico, plays on themes of magical realism also seen in Cloar’s work, and also references Cloar’s travels to Mexico. In Exterminating Angel, a never-ending dinner party ensues when the guests find that they are trapped inside the house by some unseen force. Using magical realist imagery (sheep attend a church service, for example) the film critiques the intertwining cyclical structures – class, religion, and social hierarchies – which entrap societies.
Finally, Intruder in the Dust, a film based on the William Faulkner novel, brings us back to the American South, much like Cloar ending up in Memphis for the remainder of his life. The film criticizes the backwards and racist mentalities entrapping America through a court trial of a black farmer accused of murdering a white man.
By screening these three important and critical films, we hope to provide an expanded network of thought for the upcoming exhibition of Carroll Cloar’s work. The differing themes present in each film correspond with themes found in Cloar’s work, allowing us to view his paintings in a wider context alongside works that cross boundaries of medium, geography and time.
Natalie Hoffmann, Brooks Films
Carroll Cloar Film Series
All $8/$6 Brooks members + students with valid i.d.
Thursday, July 11 | 7 pm
Intruder in the Dust
Director: Clarence Brown | U.S.A. | 1949 | 87 minutes
Thursday, August 22 | 7 pm
Director: Carlos Saura
Spain | 1976 | 107 minutes
Spanish with English subtitles
Thursday, September 5 | 7 pm
The Exterminating Angel
Director: Luis Buñuel
Mexico | 1962 | 93 minutes
Spanish with English subtitles