The Program in Visual Arts in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and the Princeton Garden Theatre will present a special screening of Gustav Deutsch’s Shirley: Visions of Reality, based on painter Edward Hopper’s work, as a part of the new collaborative film series Cinema Today. Followed by an in-person discussion with director Deutsch and the film’s scenic artist Hanna Schimek, the screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 27 at the Garden Theatre. Tickets are available to the public at princetongardentheatre.org. Princeton students, faculty and staff may reserve a free ticket online here.

Shirley:Visions of Reality, released by Deutsch and Schimek in 2013, explores the life of a single woman through three eras in American history. Taking 13 of Edward Hopper’s paintings as inspiration, the film follows Shirley from the 1930s to the 1960s, her experiences and beliefs bringing Hopper’s work to life. The film is described by the Hollywood Reporter as, “An impressive cinematic recreation of images and moods,” and by Cine-Vue as, “A prime example of art imitating art.”

film still

A scene from Gustav Deutsch’s film Shirley: Visions of Reality

Hopper is widely acknowledged as the most important realist painter of 20th-century America. But his vision of reality was a selective one, reflecting his own temperament in the empty cityscapes, landscapes, and isolated figures he chose to paint. His work demonstrates that realism is not merely a literal or photographic copying of what we see, but an interpretive rendering.

The Cinema Today series has been organized by Princeton Arts Fellow Pacho Velez and Director of the Program in Visual Arts Joe Scanlan in collaboration with the Garden Theatre. The series tackles issues within the cinematic industry today through conversations with contemporary filmmakers about formal aesthetics, narrative techniques, and social commitments. Earlier the series included screenings and discussions with filmmakers Charlie Kaufman and Terrence Malick.

Deutsch is a multimedia filmmaker whose work has spanned photography, architecture, installations, and music production. He is a member of film organizations Der Blaue Kompressor, sixpackfilm, and After Image Productions. Since 2003, Deutsch has served as the artistic director for the arts and sciences forum Aegina Academy, founded by Deutsch himself in partnership with Hanna Schimek. His interdisciplinary artistic research projects concern the phenomenology of media and film, and exploration of the social effectiveness of art through exhibitions, lectures, and workshops given nationally and internationally.

Schimek is a graphic artist, painter, and filmmaker with an interest in interdisciplinary art projects through exhibitions, installations, and photography. She has collaborated with Deutsch since 1985. Schimek co-founded the Aegina Academy alongside Deutsch, creating a cultural forum for the arts and sciences aimed at “democratizing” art. She has been a member of the film organizations Der Blaue Kompressor and After Image Productions since 1983 and 2001, respectively.

Velez is a 2015-17 Princeton Arts Fellow and a filmmaker who works at the intersection of ethnography, contemporary art, and political documentary. His current project, The Reagan Years, explores a prolific actor’s defining role: Leader of the Free World. Velez’s previous film, Manakamana, screened at Princeton last October and won a Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival. It played around the world, including at the Whitney Biennial and the Toronto International Film Festival. His earlier film and theater work has been presented at venues such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm, and on Japanese National Television.

Future screenings in the Cinema Today series include Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy on November 2 and Certain Women on November 17. Certain Women will be followed by an in-person discussion with Reichardt.

The Cinema Today series is supported through the John Sacret Young ’69 Lecture Series fund. Sacret Young is a 1969 graduate of Princeton and an author, producer, director, and screenwriter. He has been nominated for seven Emmy Awards and seven Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards, winning two WGA Awards. He is perhaps best known for co-creating, along with William F. Broyles Jr., China Beach, the critically acclaimed ABC-TV drama series about medics and nurses during the Vietnam War, and for his work on the television drama The West Wing. Young has also received a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award, and his original mini-series about the Gulf War, Thanks of a Grateful Nation, was honored with his fifth Humanitas Prize nomination.

The Princeton Garden Theatre is a member-supported nonprofit movie theater in the heart of downtown Princeton. With a focus on arthouse and independent titles, the theater is also a home for family films, local filmmakers, classic Hollywood cinema, community and university events. The Garden Theatre is an organization of film-lovers dedicated to the preservation of historic movie theaters and the celebration of the community film-going experience.

Press Contact

Steve Runk
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srunk@princeton.edu