Film Screening, The Agony and the Ectasy
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
Directed by Carol Reed, United States, 138 min.
Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street
Introduced by Sally Promey, Director of the Initiative for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion, Yale University. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Francesco Vanni: Art in Late Renaissance Siena.
Francesco Vanni Film Series
All films are screened at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street.
Each of the three, very different films in this series illuminates, at least obliquely, some aspect of the life and work of Francesco Vanni (1563/64-1610).
The first film is religious: Roberto Rossellini’s Flowers of Saint Francis (1950), screening on Tuesday, October 1, at 7:00 pm, based on the anonymous 14th-century Fioretti di San Francesco (Little Flowers of Saint Francis), celebrates the “perfect happiness” enjoyed, through service to God, by the 13th-century friar from Assisi, revered by Vanni and the subject of a major painting in the exhibition.
Carol Reed’s The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), screening Friday, November 1, at 7:30 pm, based on the highly acclaimed novel by Irving Stone, is as mainstream as they come: it focuses on the drama in the relationship between Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) and Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) as the artist painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Francesco Vanni also painted for a pope, Clement VIII. Unfortunately, Vanni’s monumental altarpiece, finished in 1603, has suffered damage and is no longer on view.
And Caravaggio (1986), screening Tuesday, November 5, at 7:00 pm—a personal filmic meditation on the revolutionary painter by the innovative and visionary British director Derek Jarman, himself a painter before he became a filmmaker—evokes both the violence and the sublimity in the life and work of Caravaggio, who was slightly younger than Vanni and who died in the same year.
The films are shown in the chronological order of their subjects, and it is a nice happenstance that they thus also presented in the order in which they were made, spanning three and a half decades of international classic filmmaking of the 20th century.
Cosponsored by the Religion and Film Series, the Institute of Sacred Music; Film Studies Program; Film Study Center, courtesy of Paul L. Joskow; Yale University Art Gallery; and Films at the Whitney, supported by the Barbakow Fund for Innovative Film Programs at Yale