Meet Christian experimental cinema’s “king of kings,” Rolf Forsberg. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, major American religious organizations regularly sponsored 16mm films made for public outreach and Sunday meetings alike, hoping to engage both the spiritual and the secular. No one did it like Forsberg, who, as a student of all faiths, combined a live theater background with a passion for Fellini and Bergman to create provocatively unusual shorts. Parable (1964) reimagines the son of God as a circus clown, shocking audiences and the Protestant clergy at the World’s Fair. Stalked (1968) masterfully employs metaphor, voice-over, haunting close-ups and plenty of non-actors to depict a spiritual crisis of wax museums, desolate airports and flaming calliopes. A precursor to Silent Running, the post-apocalyptic environmentalism of Ark (1970) resonates to this day. These are not the films you’d expect to see at church; don your Sunday best for an evening of ecumenical ephemera that taps into a universal cinematic truth. Rolf Forsberg will join us in person for a career-spanning Q&A and a screening of his greatest shorts from original 16mm prints, courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive!
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