Starting today, the Metrograph in New York will be launching an extensive series celebrating the 40th anniversary of one of the most dedicated, unsung heroes of U.S. film distribution: Icarus Films. Founded in 1978 by filmmaker Ilan Ziv and sold two years later (in exchange for a video camera) to Jonathan Miller who has run the company ever since, Icarus has become one of the leading repositories for aesthetically challenging, politically engaged documentary cinema. The two-week long series contains 56 films (out of over 1,000 in their collection) by some of the most important names in documentary film: Chantal Akerman, Jean Rouch, Peter Watkins, Chris Marker, Marcel Ophuls and Wang Bing, to name just a few.
Finding posters for a lot of these films was not easy. Many of the titles were never really theatrical material (they range in length from 44 minutes to 345) and so a theatrical poster would not have been created for them. Luckily, there are some notable exceptions—many of them from Icarus’ greatest hits—and so I’ve chosen the 15 best posters I could find which hopefully will give a hint at the breadth and variety of this extraordinary and unmissable series.
Icarus Films at 40 plays at the Metrograph through September 30. The theater is selling the Icarus Passport which gives you a ticket to every program in the series for just $50.