Oct 19, 2021 at 8:00 pm
The Tramp’s New World
With Zoe Beloff & Courtney Stephens
We’re so happy to have Zoe Beloff and Courtney Stephens join us in the UNDO LEAN-TO for an evening of cinema and conversation!
We’ll kick off the evening with Zoe Beloff’s latest feature film The Tramp’s New World which focuses on the imaginative journey of novelist, journalist, poet, screenwriter and film critic James Agee.
Beloff and Stephens will give us a glimpse into James Agee’s own practice in reference to the film In the Street (1948) that he co-directed with Helen Levitt and Janice Loeb. We will be screening an archival 16mm print of In the Street. A big thank you to NYPL for lending it to us!
We’re also super excited to give you a sneak peek into an interactive public art project, titled The Song of the Essential worker that Zoe is co-creating with Eric Muzzy, the long time cinematographer of her films and all-round partner in crime.
In the Street (1948), a film by Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb and James Agee
16 min., 1948, 16mm
A visual documentary of children’s games shot on the streets of Spanish Harlem. It was the only film that writer James Agee actually shot with a little Kodascope Camera. In his work, he was especially sensitive to the inner life of children. His introduction begins thus:
“The streets of the poor quarters of great cities are, above all, a theater and a battleground. There, unaware and unnoticed, every human being is a poet, a masker, a warrior, a dancer: and in his innocent artistry he projects, against the turmoil of the street, an image of human existence.”
The Tramp's New World, a film by Zoe Beloff
62 min., 2021
The Tramp’s New World is about James Agee and a scenario that he wrote for his lifelong hero Charlie Chaplin in 1948. Agee was deeply disturbed by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He imagined New York destroyed, and Chaplin’s Little Tramp alone in the ruins, building a shack in Central Park. Gradually a small community of the dispossessed grows up around him. For Agee, The Tramp’s New World was a thought experiment, a way to try and imagine what happens when a city undergoes catastrophe, how one might begin again with nothing, to go beyond capitalism to form an egalitarian multicultural community and just how hard that is the face of a modern technocracy. Although forged under very different circumstances, it is strangely prescient as we try to rebuild amidst today’s global catastrophe.
Zoe Beloff is a filmmaker and visual artist. She aims to make radical art that educates, entertains, and provokes discussion. Her work creates timelines between past to present to help us think about the future in new ways. Beloff’s work is exhibited internationally; venues have included MoMA and The Whitney Museum in New York, Site Santa Fe, Akademie der Künste in Berlin, and the Pompidou Center in Paris. She is a frequent contributor to festivals that include the International Film Festival Rotterdam, FID Marseilles, the Viennale and the BFI Festival London. She has been awarded fellowships from the Graham Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Courtney Stephens is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Her non-fiction and experimental films address the contours of language, historical memory, and women’s lives. Her work has been exhibited at the Berlinale, the Museum of Modern Art, New York Film Festival, The National Gallery of Art, South by Southwest, The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Hong Kong, Camden, Mumbai, Luxembourg, Dhaka, and San Francisco International Film Festivals. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a California Humanities Grant, fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Pocantico, and the Sloan Foundation, and was one of Filmmaker Magazine‘s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. A graduate of the American Film Institute, she co-founded the Los Angeles microcinema Veggie Cloud and has curated film programs for The Getty, Museum of the Moving Image, Union Docs, and Flaherty NYC.
Make a tax-deductible donation
or become a member today.