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Number Our Days  /  Testament

February 2, 2019 - 7:30 pm
writer-director Lynne Littman.

Number Our Days  (1976)

Based on the book by anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff, this Academy Award-winning short documentary offers a tender portrait of a community of elderly yet resilient Jews living, loving, and at times struggling, in Venice, California. From everyday trials to traditional celebrations, this compassionate portrayal of Eastern European survivors cuts straight to the heart of every viewer and reminds us of the joys and realities of long life.

Preserved by the Academy Film Archive. 16mm, color, 29 min. Director: Lynne Littman. Screenwriter: Lynne Littman, Barbara Myerhoff.

Testament  (1983)

Life is tranquil for the Wetherly family in their small Northern California town—until, one evening, their television program is interrupted for an announcement that the United States has sustained a nuclear attack. While the event has seemingly minimal local impact, the severed connection with nearby San Francisco leads to dashed morale and a community’s swift decline into total isolation and despair. A horror film for those who understand the banality of real-life terror. In the 1970s Lynne Littman was a producer/reporter/director for Los Angeles’ public television station, KCET, where she won multiple Emmy awards for her weekly segments. By the end of the decade she and a small group of women members of the Directors Guild, today known as the “Original Six,” radicalized the Guild and the film and television industry by calling attention to the rampant discrimination experienced by female directors. Testament was Littman’s first theatrical feature film, and although the picture took on the difficult topic of nuclear apocalypse, the experience was an exceptional one for the filmmaker. “The process of directing is like sequentially giving your heart… If it works, it’s a wonderful creation, and it worked all the way through Testament.”

Print courtesy of the Lynne Littman Collection at the Academy Film Archive. 35mm, color, 90 min. Director: Lynne Littman. Screenwriter: John Sacret Young. Cast: Jane Alexander, William Devane, Ross Harris, Lukas Haas.