"Method Acting" - The 2023 Retrospective

Our retrospective this year is dedicated to the acting technique "Method Acting"

This year we dedicate our retrospective to the acting technique "Method Acting". We have selected twelve films from the years between 1947 and 1980 that break with the screen theatricality that prevailed until then and practice a new, revolutionary naturalism that decisively shaped the New Hollywood of the late 1960s and 1970s. We thus focus on the psychological and physical work of actors such as Marilyn Monroe, Sally Field, Joanne Woodward, Kim Stanley, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Sidney Poitier, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

Hannes Brühwiler, who has curated the retrospective, says: “Two particularly physical method acting performances frame our retrospective. We begin with the boxing film ›Body and Soul‹ (1947) by Robert Rossen, in which John Garfield, now considered the first method actor in film, plays a Jewish boxer from New York’s Lower East Side who, against incredible odds, manages to carve out a fabulous career. This visually innovative motion picture inspired our closing film, Martin Scorsese’s ›Raging Bull‹ (1980). Robert De Niro delivers one of the defining acting performances of the 20th century in his portrayal of the Italian-American middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta. To embody LaMotta’s downfall, De Niro gained 26 kilograms and took method acting to extremes that had never been seen before.”

In this space is the work of a whole generation of young, progressive actors who built on the ideas of the Russian actor and director Konstantin Stansislavsky. Their method: to reinvent the way they can embody their characters on stage and in front of the camera, drawing from self-experienced experiences and emotions. Their goal: a truthfulness of feelings and physicality.

The films in chronological order:

Body and Soul (USA 1947)

A Place in the Sun (USA 1951)

On the Waterfront (USA 1954)

The Defiant Ones (USA 1958)

The Misfits (USA 1961)

The Pawnbroker (USA 1964)

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (GB 1964)

Rachel, Rachel (USA 1968)

Wanda (USA 1970)

The Godfather Part II (USA 1974)

Norma Rae (USA 1979)

Raging Bull (USA 1980)

For more information on the films, see our 2023 Retrospective press release.

About the IFFMH
The IFFMH has been a unique platform for cultural, social and political dialogue via the art of film since 1952, making it the longest-running film festival in Germany after the Berlinale. The central aim of the IFFMH is discovering and promoting talented young film professionals from all over the world. The 72nd IFFMH will be held in Mannheim and Heidelberg from 16 to 26 November 2023. The complete festival schedule will be announced in late October.