NEW YORK, NY.-
Michael Almereydas most recent feature film, Paradise (2009), is presented at The Museum of Modern Art
in a weeklong engagement in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2 from September 24 through 30, 2009. It is organized by Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.
Paradise is a beautiful, audacious sketchbook, a collection of fragmentary episodes that Almereyda captured during 10 years of travels through roughly two dozen cities in nine different countries, including Iran, Cuba, South Korea, and the United States. In gathering intimate moments with friends and strangers, Almereyda has noted that, over time, Paradise became less a self-portrait and more of a panoramic group portrait of children and their adult counterpartsa description of the world we inherit, fumble around in, and grow into.
Themes of innocence and experience, searching and finding, recur throughout the film, and they are linked, the director writes, by the idea that life is made up of brief paradisiacal momentsmoments routinely taken for granted, and always slipping away. Like many of Almereydas previous films, whether fiction or documentary, Paradise combines quiet observation, narrative complexity, a fascination with the mystery and humor of everyday life, and an appreciation of the sensuous, material world.
Almereyda (American, b. 1960) has written and directed seven feature-length fiction films, including Twister (1989), the vampire movie Nadja (1994), and a contemporary retelling of Hamlet (2000) starring Ethan Hawke, Bill Murray, and Julia Stiles. His second feature film, Another Girl Another Planet (1992), was presented in New Directors/New Films, the annual festival organized jointly by The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. His documentaries include This So-Called Disaster (2004), which follows Sam Shepard directing a production of one of his plays, and William Eggleston in the Real World (2005), which was shown in MoMAs Premieres exhibition.
Almereyda has written screenplays for Wim Wenders, David Lynch, Tim Burton, and Joe Dante, and his critical writing has appeared in Artforum, The New York Times, Film Comment, and The Believer. In 2008 his anthology Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and about Mayakovsky was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His current film project is a biopic about the experimental psychologist Stanley Milgram, and he is editing a book of William Eggleston photographs for Twin Palms Press, to be published this winter.
Almereyda introduces the opening night screening of Paradise on September 24.