Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
November 22
October 25, 1965
Alphaville released in NY

"Science fiction without special effects" is how critic Andrew Sarris described Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville, which opened in New York on October 25, 1965. Made during Godard's wildly creative early-to-mid-'60s period, after A Married Woman and before Pierrot le Fou, Alphaville is a sci-fi/detective movie mash-up, set on another planet that looks quite a bit like 1960s Paris. In a story about both depersonalization and mythmaking, Godard sent his detective Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) though an urban landscape that was both beautifully hip and also inflected with the seeds of alienation that the International Style of modern architecture would come to represent. But, most of all, Alphaville is one of Godard's most enjoyable philosophical goofs. Wrote Sarris, "There is much talk of societies in other galaxies, but their only manifestation is the Ford Galaxy that Eddie Constantine's Lemmy Caution (a low-rent French version of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe) moves about in. Most of Alphaville is nocturnal or claustrophobically indoors. Yet there is an exhilarating release in many of the images and camera movements because of Godard's uncanny ability to evoke privileged moments from many movies of the past."


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November 22, 2002
Far From Heaven opens

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November 22, 1963
The Film Seen Round the World

On November 22, 1963, an accidental filmmaker made what became the most obsessed over film of the twentieth century. Standing on a concrete overpass in Dallas, women’s clothing manufacturer Abraham Zapruder raised his Bell and Howell 8mm camera and tracked the motorcade that carried president John F. Kennedy through Dealy Plaza. Zapruder’s 27 seconds of footage shot from a clear, elevated vantage point are the only complete recording of Kennedy’s assassination and a focal point for government investigators and conspiracy theorists alike. The film also became the object of one of the stranger ownership tussles in modern cinema. Zapruder gave copies of his film to the Secret Service and, three days after the shooting, sold the negative and all rights to Life Magazine. Zapruder’s heirs later disputed the sale, and the film was eventually returned to them by Life owner Time Inc. for $1 dollar. In 1992, however, the U.S. declared the film an “assassination record” and the property of the government. A lengthy dispute ensued over the amount Zapruder’s heirs should be paid. The government proposed paying the family $3 to $5 million; the Zapruders argued that the film should be valued similarly to recent sales of a Van Gogh painting and an Andy Warhol silk screen of Marilyn Monroe. Finally, arbitrators worked out a value of $16 million. Shortly thereafter, Zapruder’s heirs donated one of the original copies of the film and its copyright to the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, which now oversees all rights requests.

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