Werner Herzog, Fitzcarraldo (still), 1982; photo: courtesy of New World Pictures/Photofest


Film is everybody’s art; we all know how to go to the movies. Films invite and entertain, but they also challenge and haunt. There’s something about the big screen that mirrors, or directs, our dreams.

Frank Smigiel
Associate Curator of Performance and Film

SFMOMA is committed to exhibiting film as an essential medium of modern and contemporary art. We strive to bring a new dimension to cinema as a multifaceted social and educational experience. With state-of-the-art upgrades to the Phyllis Wattis Theater, the expanded museum will be a key venue for film in the Bay Area.

Co-curated with the San Francisco Film Society, our Modern Cinema program features in-depth explorations of works by key figures in the history of filmmaking. The program presents screenings, related talks, and live cinema productions that shed new light on historical masterpieces. In addition to this collaboration, we present projected-image work, including artist-based films and nonnarrative cinema.

SFMOMA has always been a pioneer in the presentation of film. Our first cinema program, Development of the Motion Picture, launched in 1937, shortly after the museum opened. Throughout our history, we’ve explored film in relation to populism and experimentation. We’ve shown everything from Walt Disney to F. W. Murnau. We’re proud to complement the wide-ranging film culture of the Bay Area. There is nothing like seeing moving images in the dark.

Modern Cinema

Claire Denis: Seeing Is Believing

February 1–18, 2018

For the fifth season of Modern Cinema, SFMOMA and SFFILM present the films of multi award-winning director Claire Denis, including her latest, Let the Sunshine In, alongside work that has inspired or invigorated her.