BAMcinématek presents retrospective tribute to Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn

Burstyn to Appear for a Q&A After Scorsese’s ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’

April 11, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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From Wednesday, April 30 through Tuesday, May 6, BAMcinématek will present Ellen Burstyn, a retrospective of the legendary actress. In a remarkable six-decade (and counting) career, Burstyn has gone from leading light of New American Cinema to one of the grandest dames of Hollywood, scooping up every major award (Oscar, Tony, and Emmy) along the way. Her complex, fully lived-in characters are models of superbly judged, wholly committed screen acting. After appearing in Matthew Barney’s “River of Fundament” at BAM this spring, Burstyn returns to Brooklyn for this nine-film tribute.

Opening the series on Wednesday, April 30 is William Friedkin’s groundbreaking horror classic “The Exorcist” (1973—April 30), which earned 10 Oscar nominations and became one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Burstyn beat out Jane Fonda, Audrey Hepburn, and Anne Bancroft for the role of Chris, a Hollywood actress who discovers her daughter is possessed by a demon. Burstyn got her breakout role just two years prior in Peter Bogdanovich’s New American Cinema masterwork “The Last Picture Show” (1971—May 2), and following the overwhelming success of “The Exorcist,” was given creative control of her next project. 

Impressed with his work on “Mean Streets,” Burstyn hired Martin Scorsese to helm “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (1974—May 3). Playing a New Mexico housewife who goes on the road to chase her dream of becoming a singer, Burstyn was praised as “appealing, tough, intelligent, funny, and bereft, all at the same moment” (Vincent Canby, The New York Times), and won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance. Burstyn will appear in person for a Q&A following the 7:30 p.m. screening. Burstyn has earned a staggering six Academy Award nominations in her
remarkable career (all represented in this series), most recently for Darren Aronofsky’s harrowing portrait of drug addiction “Requiem for a Dream” (2000—May 5), featuring Burstyn as a Coney Island widow with an amphetamine dependence. 

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Also screening are the late Alain Resnais’ debut English film “Providence” (1977—May 4), a hallucinatory glimpse into the consciousness of writing and a major influence on David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” and “Mulholland Drive”; Jules Dassin’s rarely-screened contemporary reconstruction of Euripides’ “Medea,” “A Dream of Passion” (1978—May 5), featuring a powerful turn by Burstyn as a woman incarcerated for infanticide; Daniel Petrie’s “Resurrection” (1980—May 1), in which a near-death experience helps a woman discover her supernatural powers; Bob Rafelson’s moody character study “The King of Marvin Gardens” (1972—May 4), with Burstyn as an aging beauty queen; and Robert Mulligan’s Broadway adaptation “Same Time, Next Year” (1978—May 6), a quick-witted throwback to classic Hollywood romances starring Burstyn and Alan Alda. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

The Ellen Burstyn retrospective is made possible by The Corinthian Foundation, David Berley, and friends. The retrospective is dedicated to the memory of Charles Greenman—a true friend of BAM and the arts.

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