A unique portrait of one cinema’s most dynamic maverick filmmakers, I’m a Stranger Here Myself (1975) simultaneously investigates Nicholas Ray’s Hollywood legacy (including such films as In a Lonely Place and Johnny Guitar) while documenting his most ambitious, personal project yet: We Can’t Go Home Again, a collaborative feature-film endeavor made with his students at SUNY Binghamton. Frustrated with the limitations and compromises of commercial filmmaking, Ray accepted a teaching position in 1971 that allowed him to exercise his radical positions on filmmaking and put them into practice with a new generation of young artists eager to push the medium to its limits. Several years in the making, and incorporating myriad formats (8mm, 16mm, 35mm, and video) projected at the same time, We Can’t Go Home Again was at once a group effort and also intensely personal, not just to Ray, but to all those involved.
Never officially released, We Can’t Go Home Again is one of Ray’s most elusive and sought-after titles. Helpern’s documentary offers invaluable insight into one of the cinema’s most celebrated filmmakers, as well as one of his most controversial works of art.
Nicholas’ daughter Nicca Ray will be present to introduce the screening.
Following the screening will be a discussion with Tom Farrell, one of Ray’s students and collaborators on We Can’t Go Home Again, who will discuss his experiences working on the film. Leslie Levinson will also be present speak on her experiences as an actor working with Ray.
“It captures a lot of the contradictions in the life and career of this man who manages to seem most elegant and ascetic when he most needs a shave and a fresh cigarette, who is simultaneously old and young, totally sincere and just occasionally full of bananas.” – Vincent Canby, The New York Times
This screening is the first part of a series of Docs on Auteurs. This screening was curated with Cullen Gallagher, film and literary critic, who is a regular contributor for The L Magazine, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, Hammer to Nail, as well as other publications.