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BY SCOTT STIFFLER | ORDINARY MIRACLES: THE PHOTO LEAGUE’S NEW YORK Director Nina Rosenblum’s documentary film pays tribute to an influential group of artists and socially progressive truth-seekers working in the medium of still photography. From 1936-1951, The Photo League functioned as the center of the documentary movement in American photography. Young and idealistic, League members took their cameras into the streets to capture images meant to expose social problems and achieve social justice. For that, they were branded as Communists and blacklisted — forcing the League to disband.
Decades later, in addition to several of its members, the work survives — providing a panoramic view of New York City during the thirties and forties (the El train, May Day rallies in Union Square, cutting contests at the Savoy Ballroom, automats and Lower East Side street life).
Among those documenting the LES: the filmmaker’s father, Walter Rosenblum, and Rebecca Lepkoff — whose work is included in “The Radical Camera,” a Photo League exhibit on view through March 25, at the Jewish Museum (her own exhibit, “Life on the Lower East Side,” can be seen at the Tenement Museum, through April). Lepkoff, along with several other Photo League members and Miriam Grossman Cohen (wife of League founder Sid Grossman) will attend the screening of “Ordinary Miracles,” and participate in a Q&A.
Thurs., March 29, 8pm. At IFC Center (323 Sixth Ave., at W. Third St.). For info, 212-924-7771. Visit daedalus.tv, thephotoleaguefilm.com and ifccenter.com, tenement.org and thejewishmuseum.org.
THE SVA/BBC DESIGN FILM FESTIVAL Concentrating on design, advertising and book-related films, this film festival (presented by the School of Visual Arts and the BBC) gives Yanks the unique opportunity to see groundbreaking BBC films that have never been screened in the America. Fans of “Mad Men” will want to catch “Selling the Sixties: How Madison Avenue Dreamed the Decade” — which tells the real-life stories of the ad men, and women, behind the fictional TV series. Gay Talese and advertising legend George Lois (famous for his Esquire covers, Xerox ads, work with Andy Warhol and Muhammad Ali and his reinvention of MTV) are among those providing a window on consumerism, 1960s-style. Lois will take your questions after the screening.
Sat., March 24, 1-9pm, at the SVA Theatre (333 W. 23rd St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). $15 pass includes entry to all screenings. For a full schedule, visit sva.edu.