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Archetypes of American Film

Evening Program on Zoom

Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0073
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
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Please Note: This program has a rescheduled date (originally February 23, 2021).


The United States didn’t invent cinema, but over the last century it became an American institution. The movies, through their visual mythmaking and popular appeal, have historically both reflected and affected our national character. Film critic Noah Gittell leads a tour through of the age of film as he considers three archetypes that emerged at key points in American history: the Cowboy, the Rogue Cop, and the Orphan Protector.

Gittell’s presentation features clips, images, and discussion of the most important heroes in film, played by John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Robert Downey, Jr., and Christan Bale. From Stagecoach to The Dark Knight, examine the films that most aptly reflect the shifting meaning of liberty and justice in a tumultuous age and seek a new definition of American cinema.

Gittell is a film critic and journalist for Washington City Paper, The Guardian, The Atlantic, the BBC and others. He has watched more movies during the pandemic than you would believe.


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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.