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The Walker Dialogue and Retrospective Series brings together some of the most innovative and influential filmmakers of our time with leading critics, writers, and historians.

Walker Dialogue and Retrospective Series

The Walker Art Center’s Dialogue and Retrospective Series brings together some of the most innovative and influential filmmakers of our time with leading critics, writers, and historians. As we approach the 30th anniversary of this important program, we look back to the beginning. The series, which launched with support from the MacArthur Foundation from 1990–1993, was later funded by the Regis Foundation from 1994–2012 and continued with support from Myron and Anita Kunin. It provides an intimate space for directors and actors to discuss their creative process, influences, and body of work. Punctuated with film clips, anecdotes, and personal insights, these conversations take place in the state-of-the-art 340-seat Walker Cinema. In addition to the dialogue, a retrospective of the filmmaker’s work is shown, which sometimes includes screenings of rare and archival prints along with newer digital projections. Since the inaugural dialogue between Clint Eastwood and Richard Schickel in 1990, the series has hosted many guests, including international directors, American masters, independent visionaries, artists, auteurs, and leading screen actors in discussion with writers and critics who help shape the way we think about contemporary film.

Brief History

The Walker Dialogue and Retrospective Series initially emerged from the efforts of Film/Video curator Bruce Jenkins in the late 1980s to collaborate with the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Before the generous funding of the MacArthur and Regis Foundations made regular events possible, Jenkins sought to create space for critical exploration of the medium and highlight the vast diversity of contemporary, experimental, and classical filmmakers. Working with DGA, he curated a series of four dialogues with directors Stanley Donen, Sam Fuller, Miloš Forman, and Martha Coolidge to share their work with Walker audiences. As a devoted film scholar, Jenkins commissioned written pieces to accompany these events, which were also distributed in printed programs to inspire critical conversation within the cinema space and beyond. The tradition of the dialogue series has now continued for 25 years.
The Dialogue and Retrospective Series emerged from Jenkins’s early mission and programming and continues today under the leadership and vision of current senior curator Sheryl Mousley. These events are often integrated into the department’s regional premieres and community engagement programs, bringing local audiences together in the Walker Cinema and throughout the community to experience innovative filmmaking and inspire love of the medium. Béla Tarr´s 2007 visit included a master class at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and projects at the University of Minnesota. In November 2013, Walker audiences also experienced the Midwest premiere of British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave and an insightful dialogue between McQueen and Stuart Comer, MoMA’s chief curator of media and performance art. Through an archive of these recorded events on the Walker Channel have now replaced earlier pamphlets, the Dialogue and Retrospective Series continues the long tradition of community engagement, innovation, and critical discussion that is essential to the mission of the Moving Image Department and the Walker Art Center.

Past Dialogues
  • September 5, 1990
    Clint Eastwood Directs
    Dialogue: Clint Eastwood with Richard Schickel
    Regional Premiere: White Hunter, Black Heart
  • November 10, 1990
    Merchant Ivory Productions Re-viewed
    Dialogue: James Ivory with David Sterritt
    Benefit Preview: Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
  • February 23, 1991
    Jodie Foster: Growing Up on Screen
    Dialogue: Jodie Foster with B. Ruby Rich
    Regional Premiere: The Silence of the Lambs
  • April 20, 1991
    Produced by Pressman
    Dialogue: Edward R. Pressman with Julie Salamon
    Regional Premiere: Paris by Night
  • May 26, 1991
    Keith Carradine: In Retrospect
    Dialogue: Keith Carradine with Phil Anderson
    Regional Premiere: The Bachelor and The Ballad of the Sad Café
  • July 8, 1991
    John Sayles: From Alligators to Agitators
    Dialogue: John Sayles with Jay Carr
    Regional Premiere: City of Hope
  • August 6, 1991
    Ken Burns: Imagining America
    Dialogue: Ken Burns with Terrence Rafferty
    Regional Premiere: E_mpire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio_
  • December 13, 1991
    Wim Wenders: In the Course of Time
    Dialogue: Wim Wenders with J. Hoberman
    Preview Screening: Sis ans Ende der Welt (Until the End of the World)
  • February 29, 1992
    Danny Glover: In Retrospect
    Dialogue: Danny Glover with Armond White
  • April 25, 1992
    Robert Altman: An American Maverick
    Dialogue: Robert Altman with David Bordwell
    Preview Screening: The Player
  • November 5, 1992
    Marcel Ophüls: A Course in Resistance
    Dialogue: Marcel Ophüls with Phillip Lopate
    Regional Premiere: Novembertage: Stimmen und Wege (November Days)
  • February 6, 1993
    Liv Ullmann: From Actor to Auteur
    Dialogue: Liv Ullmann with Molly Haskell
    Regional Premiere: Sophie
  • June 11, 1993
    American Playhouse: A Tribute
    Dialogue: Julie Dash with Lindsay Law
  • October 18, 1993
    Chen Kaige: Fifth Generation Filmmaker
    Dialogue: Chen Kaige with Amy Taubin
    Regional Premiere: Ba wang bie ji (Farewell My Concubine)
  • February 4, 1994
    On the Road with Jim Jarmusch
    Dialogue: Jim Jarmusch with Jonathan Rosenbaum
  • February 3, 1995
    Passion in Perspective: The Films of Jane Campion
    Dialogue: Jane Campion with Richard Peña
  • June 9, 1995
    Assertions of Resistance: The Films of Haile Gerima
    Dialogue: Dialogue: Haile Gerima with Arthur Jafa
    Regional Premiere: Sankofa
  • September 29, 1995
    Agnieszka Holland: In Retrospect
    Dialogue: Agnieszka Holland with Amy Taubin
    Regional Premiere: Total Eclipse
  • February 3, 1996
    The Brothers Quay: Alchemists of Animation
    Dialogue: Timothy and Stephen Quay with Bruce Jenkins
    Regional Premiere: Institute Benjamenta
  • June 6, 1996
    Gordon Parks: In Retrospect
    Dialogue: Gordon Parks with Susan Robeson
  • October 11, 1996
    Tom Hanks: In Retrospect
    Dialogue: Tom Hanks with Richard Schickel
  • November 2, 1996
    Spike Lee: In Retrospect
    Dialogue: Spike Lee with Elvis Mitchell
  • April 30, 1997
    G Is for Greenaway
    Dialogue: Peter Greenaway with Peter Wollen
    Regional Premiere: The Pillow Book
  • October 3, 1997
    Jessica Lange: In Retrospect
    Dialogue: Jessica Lange with Molly Haskell
    Regional Premiere: Cousin Bette
  • February 27, 1998
    Abbas Kiarostami: In Retrospect
    Dialogue: Dialogue: Abbas Kiarostami with Richard Peña
    Regional Premiere: Ta’m e guilass (Taste of Cherry)
  • April 2, 1998
    À propos de Denis Retrospective: Claire Denis
    Regional Premiere: Nénette et Boni (Nénette and Boni)
  • November 5, 1998
    And Now for Something Completely Different: The Films of Terry Gilliam
    Dialogue: Terry Gilliam with Stuart Klawans
  • February 26, 1999
    Stan Brakhage: The Art of Seeing
    Dialogue: Stan Brakhage with Bruce Jenkins
    World Premiere: The Earth Song of the Cricket
    US Premiere: Birds of Paradise
  • April 30, 1999
    The Great Ecstasy of the Filmmaker Herzog
    Dialogue: Werner Herzog with Roger Ebert
    Regional Premiere: Julianes Sturz in den Dschungel (Wings of Hope)
    Special Publication: “Declaration of Minnesota Manifesto”
  • May 31, 2000
    John Waters: Shock Value
    Monologue: John Waters
  • June 29, 2000
    Léos Carax: L’amour fou
    Dialogue: Léos Carax with Kent Jones
    Regional Premiere: Pola X
  • July 15, 2000 Doris Dörrie: Straight through the Heart
    Dialogue: Doris Dörrie with Klaus Phillips
    US Premiere: Erleuchtung garantiert (Enlightenment Guaranteed)
  • February 20, 2001
    Agnès Varda, cine-writer
    Dialogue: Agnès Varda with Bérénice Reynaud
    Regional Premiere: Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (The Gleaners and I)
  • September 29, 2001
    Tales of the City: Hanif Kureishi’s Rough Guide to London
    Dialogue: Hanif Kureishi with A.O. Scott
    Regional Premiere: Intimacy
  • May 22, 2002 Filming to the Heart: Film Works by Heddy Honigmann
    Dialogue: Heddy Honigmann with Michael Tortorello
    Regional Premiere: Goede man, leve zoon (Good Husband, Dear Son)
  • February 28, 2003 Gus Van Sant: On the Road Again
    Dialogue: Gus Van Sant with Scott Macaulay
    Regional Premiere: Gerry
  • May 6, 2003
    Matthew Barney: Cremaster Cycle
    Dialogue: Matthew Barney with Richard Flood
    Regional Premiere: Cremaster Cycle
  • November 21, 2003
    Frederick Wiseman: A Sense of Place
    Dialogue: Frederick Wiseman and Jim McKay
    Regional Premiere: La dernière letter (The Last Letter)
  • February 6, 2004
    Guy Maddin: Pages from a Filmmaker’s Diary
    Dialogue: Guy Maddin and Elvis Mitchell
    Regional Premiere: The Saddest Music in the World
  • November 20, 2004
    Apichatpong Weerasethakul: New Language from Thailand
    Dialogue: Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Chuck Stephens
    Regional Premieres: Sud pralad (Tropical Malady) and Sud sanaeha (Blissfully Yours)
  • June 3, 2005
    Alexander Payne: Sideways Glance at America
    Dialogue: Alexander Payne and Kenneth Turan
  • December 13, 2005
    Ang Lee with James Schamus: East Meets West
    Dialogue: Ang Lee and James Schamus
  • February 4, 2006
    Lili Taylor: Independent Spirit
    Dialogue: Lili Taylor and B. Ruby Rich
  • November 4, 2006
    Isabella Rossellini: Illuminated
    Dialogue: Isabella Rossellini and John Anderson
  • June 23, 2007
    Michel Gondry: The Science of Dreams
    Dialogue: Michel Gondry and Jonathan Rosenbaum
    Regional Premiere: Happy-Go-Lucky
  • September 14, 2007
    Béla Tarr: Mysterious Harmonies
    Dialogue: Béla Tarr and Howard Feinstein
    Regional Premiere: The Man from London (A Londoni Ferfi)
  • April 12, 2008
    Miloš Forman: Cinema of Resistance
    Dialogue: Miloš Forman and Scott Foundas
  • October 15, 2008
    Mike Leigh: Moments
    Dialogue: Mike Leigh and Scott Foundas
  • June 26, 2009
    In & Out of Fashion: The Films of William Klein
    Dialogue: William Klein and Paulina del Paso
  • November 25, 2009
    Joel and Ethan Coen: Raising Cain
    Dialogue: Joel and Ethan Coen and Elvis Mitchell
  • May 8, 2010
    Kelly Reichardt: Off the Beaten Track
    Dialogue: Kelly Reichardt and Scott Foundas
  • October 20, 2010
    Olivier Assayas: Between Love and Terror
    Dialogue: Olivier Assayas and Kent Jones
  • March 19, 2011
    Julian Schnabel: Artist Director
    Dialogue: Julian Schnabel and Darsie Alexander
    Film Premiere: Miral
  • March 15, 2012
    Harry Belafonte: Singing His Song
    Dialogue: Harry Belafonte and Scott Foundas
  • April 14, 2012
    Lawrence Kasdan: Rugged Terrain
    Dialogue: Lawrence Kasdan and Scott Foundas
  • November 17, 2012
    Claire Denis: Unpredictable Universe
    Dialogue: Claire Denis and Eric Hynes
  • April 5, 2013
    Noah Baumbach: Visibly Human
    Dialogue: Noah Baumbach and Scott Foundas
    Regional Premiere: Frances Ha
  • November 9, 2013
    Steve McQueen: Art and Cinema
    Dialogue: Steve McQueen and Stuart Comer
    Regional Premiere: 12 Years a Slave
  • May 5, 2015
    Christopher Nolan: Moving Through Time
    Dialogue: Christopher Nolan and Scott Foundas
  • November 12, 2016
    Robert Redford: Independent/Visionary
    Dialogue: Robert Redford with Amy Taubin
  • November 8, 2017
  • Lucy Walker: Life Like Reality
    Dialogue: Lucy Walker with Scott Foundas
  • February 1, 2019
  • Luca Guadagnino: Love and Horror
    Dialogue: Luca Guadagnino with Scott Foundas