New Scenes from America

Director: Jørgen Leth

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


In New Scenes from America, the Danish documentarian, social critic, bike-racing enthusiast, and raconteur Jorgen Leth revisits the theme and poetic style of an earlier film—66 Scenes from America—and finds in the faces, skylines, and roadside attractions of the United States a perfect post-September 11 salute to what makes the country great: not ideologies or flag waving, but eccentricity, idiosyncrasy, and individuality. A prolific and highly personal filmmaker, Leth's miniportraits—ranging from a bartender at Sardi's taking us step-by-step through the construction of a whiskey sour to John Ashbery reading a poem—essentially reveal the large picture through the odd detail. What New Scenes says, ultimately, is that symphonies are made of small notes, and that the sum in not just more than the parts but the end result of alchemy.

— Diane Weyermann

Screening Details

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