Errol Morris, whose incisive interviewing technique has made him one of the most accomplished documentary filmmakers of his time, will be the subject of an onstage interview at Museum of the Moving Image on Tuesday, July 12, following a preview screening of his new film Tabloid. A provocative, entertaining, and complex study of crime, celebrity, and scandal, Tabloid digs into the story of Joyce McKinney, a former beauty queen whose alleged kidnapping and rape of a Mormon in 1977 made her a pop culture sensation. The screening is part of a five-film retrospective, Errol Morris’s America that will be presented on weekends through August 13.
With deadpan wit and an ability to examine large topics by focusing on his subjects with unflinching scrutiny, documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has created a vivid, often comical, often disturbing portrait of America through his films. He has also bridged the gap between art and reportage. His films are deceptive; though Morris seems to be stepping back from his subjects and letting them speak for themselves, his editorial and artistic intelligence is apparent in every frame.
With his 1981 instant-cult debut, Gates of Heaven, Errol Morris began a career of film portraits that interrogate different aspects of American life, ranging from pet cemeteries to crime to artistic obsession to war—each of them treated with the same measure of interest and intellectual curiosity. “After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven’t found another filmmaker who intrigues me more,” wrote film critic Roger Ebert, an early champion of Morris’s films. The Thin Blue Line, which questioned the conviction of death-row prisoner Randall Adams, who was wrongly accused of killing a police officer, was not just a surprise arthouse hit, it became a news story itself when it resulted in the reopening of Adams’s case and the eventual overturning of conviction. (Adams’ death last fall in Oregon at age 61 was just revealed in the media.) In some ways Morris’s most artistically ambitious film, Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control is a kaleidoscopic inquiry into the nature of obsession with four brilliantly interwoven portraits, edited by the late Karen Schmeer, Morris’s longtime editor who was killed last year in Manhattan by a car speeding from a robbery. The Fog of War, released during the first year of the current war in Iraq, is built around a startling in-depth interview with Robert S. McNamara, who was Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War.
IFC Films will open Tabloid in theaters on July 15.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, 10:30 to 8:00 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Closed on Monday except for holiday openings).
Film Screenings: See schedule above.
Museum Admission (as of July 16): $12.00 for adults; $9.00 for persons over 65 and for students with ID; $6.00 for children ages 3-18. Children under 3 and Museum members are admitted free. Admission to the galleries is free on Fridays, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Paid admission includes film screenings (except for special ticketed events and Friday evenings) Tickets for special screenings and events may be purchased in advance by phone at 718.777.6800 or online.
Location: 35 Avenue at 37 Street in Astoria.
Subway: R or M trains (R on weekends) to Steinway Street. N or Q trains to 36 Avenue.
The Museum is housed in a building owned by the City of New York and its operations are made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Natural Heritage Trust (administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation). The Museum also receives generous support from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals.