Secret Cinema @ American Philosophical Society

After several hundred years, the American Philosophical Society has recreated itself as very innovative scientific institution. And they didn’t amputate their name or dumb down their mission to do it. Echoing the themes of their UNDAUNTED: Five American Explorers, 1760-2006 program, they are teaming up with Secret Cinema, another innovative and quirky Philadelphia institution, to present two free films about exploration.

Jay Schwartz has been digging up and showing rare old movies at various locations in the metro area, under the Secret Cinema banner, for over 15 years. The APS has being doing their thing for over 250 years. This is an opportunity to experience two of Philadelphia’s coolest little treasures simultaneously, and for free. Two, two treasures in one!

– This week features Nanook of the North. Next week will feature The Sky Above, the Mud Below.
– Doors open at 6pm, allowing time to explore the APS exhibition about five American explorers.
– The movie starts at 7p.m.
– The movie will be followed by refreshments and a discussion moderated by Henrika Kuklick and Brett Keyser.

Wednesday, October 29: Nanook of the North, 1922
In Robert Flaherty’s famous documentary, Nanook, an Inuit hunter, and his family struggle to survive harsh conditions in the upper Hudson Bay region. Nanook of the North was the first full-length, anthropological documentary in cinematographic history and became a smash hit both in the press and at the box office. This silent film will be accompanied by live piano music played by Don Kinnier.

Wednesday, November 5: The Sky Above, the Mud Below, 1961
In 1959, documentarian/adventurer Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau organized a seven-month expedition deep into the heart of New Guinea, accompanied by six fellow explorers, four soldiers, and 60 bearers. The expedition encounters many challenges such as headhunters, cannibals, leeches, and swarms of insects while they cross the rugged landscape. During the seven-month trip three men lost their lives, eight were wounded, and 22 were felled by illness, leaving only the director and his radio engineer to complete the journey. The film won the 1962 Academy Award for “best documentary feature.”

Admission is FREE (why pay more?)

APS Museum
104 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 440-3442


Leave a comment directly on the blog

One comment

  1. UPDATE! This great news since it solves an impossible choice.

    “Tonight’s Secret Cinema screening of Nanook of the North is being postponed due to excitement over the Phillies World Series game. A new date will be set as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience, but hope you will be able to join us for the re-scheduled event, which will be announced via email as soon as possible.”


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *