Angel Wagenstein: Art is a Weapon

Dir. Andrea Simon
(84 min, BulgariaUnited States, 2017)
English German Russian Bulgarian with English subtitles
Mid-Atlantic Premiere

Free To Attend!

As a teenager in wartime Bulgaria, Wagenstein commanded a daredevil Jewish partisan brigade, surviving capture and torture by fascist police.  When post-war dreams of a socialist utopia turned to dust, his films became a kind of covert resistance against the brutality of the Stalinist era.  This is one of the great untold stories of world cinema: at 94, Wagenstein is still a man of massive charm and ferocious intelligence, a passionate witness to history and influential voice in the debate on Europe’s rocky post-communist future. Intimate conversations, excerpts from his films, and rare archive materials inform this visually striking and provocative documentary on a remarkable artist.

Get better acquainted with Wagenstein’s major artistic contributions with the WJFF Classics screening of Stars. (Special Jury Prize, Cannes, 1959)

Co-presented by Embassy of Bulgaria


Thursday, May 18, 7:00 pm
AFI Silver Theatre
8633 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, MD

Saturday, May 20, 12:00 pm
New date
National Gallery of Art
4th & Constitution NW
Washington, DC

Reservations are not required for the May 20 screening of this film.


Thursday, May 18 screening followed by a conversation with film director and producer Andrea Simon.

Andrea Simon is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has explored the interaction between politics, culture, and religion in a variety of times and places. Praised as both visually striking and intellectually provocative, her films include many museum commissions (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the National Gallery of Art, and The Jewish Museum) as well as the wryly subversive ethnographic chronicle Koriam’s Law (Grand Prize at Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival), PBS arts specials Destination Mozart: A Night At The Opera With Peter Sellars (Grand Prize, Montreal Festival of Films on Art), Tales From The Shadow World, and Talk to Me: Americans in Conversation, her populist film-essay on American identity.  As Senior Producer of  Bloomberg TV’s arts show MUSE, Andrea profiled 110 major artists including Laurie Anderson, Leonard Cohen, Umberto Eco, Philip Glass, Günter Grass, Philip Roth, and Kehinde Wiley.


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Reservations are not required for the National Gallery of Art screening on May 21.

This event finished on May 22, 2017.