Annette Insdorf Curates Two Series for FilmStruck

BY Ijaaz Noohu, October 17, 2017

Film Professor Annette Insdorf curated two recent series for the prestige streaming service FilmStruck, both of which premiered over the last several weeks.


Indelible Shadows: Documentary Film and the Holocaust, which she both curated and introduced, premiered on FimStruck on September 29th. This series is based on her book of the same name and follows the decades of research Professor Insdorf has done regarding the Holocaust and how it is portrayed in film. Her book is now in its third edition. It addresses the treatment of rescuers, as in Schindler's List; the controversial use of humor, as in Life is Beautiful; the distorted image of survivors; and the growing genre of documentaries that return to the scene of the crime or rescue. The annotated filmography offers capsule summaries and information about hundreds of Holocaust films from around the world.


The second series, Cinematic Overtures, is based on her forthcoming book of the same name. It premiered on October 13th and explores the opening sequences of influential films. The book’s official description is:


“A great movie’s first few minutes provide the key to the rest of the film. Like the opening paragraphs of a novel, they draw the viewer in, setting up the thematic concerns and stylistic approach that will be developed over the course of the narrative. A strong opening sequence leads the viewer to trust the filmmakers. Other times, opening shots are intentionally misleading as they invite alert, active participation with the film. In Cinematic Overtures, Annette Insdorf discusses the opening sequence so that viewers turn first impressions into deeper understanding of cinematic technique.”


Both series are available on the FilmStruck website and on all streaming platforms. A free 14-day trial is available to all new members.

Professor Insdorf has numerous other ongoing projects. She appeared in HBO’s recent documentary Spielberg, directed by Susan Lacey. She also moderates the Reel Pieces series at the 92Y and recently published another book, Intimations: The Cinema of Wojciech Has which she introduced along with the Wojciech Has’ The Sand Glass at the Mill Valley Film Festival last week. Professor Insdorf will be talking more about her new book this Saturday, October 21st, during the individual showings at Columbia of the films Codes and An Uneventful Story