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The Mechanical Age

Thursday, September 7, 2006
5:30 p.m. The Mechanical Man (Free Screening!)
André Deed (Italy, 1921)

Free First Thursday Screening!
Tickets available at the PFA Theater starting at 4:30
Judith Rosenberg on Piano

(L'uomo meccanico). André Deed wrote, directed, and starred in this remarkable early science fiction film featuring a female criminal mastermind and a massive robot running amok. It survives only in fragmentary form, but what remains is enough to convey the fascination and terror of the mechanical monster, which Deed described as "a machine in human form built out of pure steel [possessing] a terrifying strength, an incalculable speed. . . . In short, a truly infernal invention."

• Written by Deed. Photographed by Alberto Chentrens. With Deed, Valentina Frascaroli, Gabriel Moreau. (46 mins @ 16 fps, Silent with Italian intertitles and live English translation, B&W, 35mm, Courtesy Cineteca di Bologna)

Preceded by shorts:

March of the Machines (La marche des machines) (Eugène Deslaw, France, 1929). An abstract mechanical symphony turns machinery into a source of formal fascination. (9 mins, Silent, B&W, 16mm, Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art)

Robots (Eugène Deslaw, France, 1930). “The artificial and the living are intermingled,” Deslaw wrote. “There are men made of wood, flesh, and metal combined. Some very human movements resemble the march of the machines. And machines are becoming more and more human. To draw a faithful portrait of the new humanity is my greatest desire.” (15 mins, Silent, B&W, 35mm, Courtesy Cinémathèque Française)

• (Total running time: 70 mins)