Morris Engel’s unreleased film I NEED A RIDE TO CALIFORNIA—which he started filming in 1968—will screen this week at MOMA, followed by a conversation with Anne Morra, Mary Engel—director of Orkin/Engel Film and Photo Archive—and Jake Perlin, artistic and programming director at the Metrograph.
Inspired by day-glo psychedelia, societal upheaval, and sexual liberation, Engel crafts the story of Lilly, a naïve, lonely young Californian who finds herself in New York City. Lilly embraces the flower child movement, right down to the bare feet and a ring of daisies in her blond hair. But the city, and Lilly’s circle of acquaintances, are not as compassionate as she hoped they would be. I NEED A RIDE TO CALIFORNIA is a complex, sometimes raw portrait of the era, with Lilly as a fragile voyager in Greenwich Village’s tempestuous counter culture scene. While Engel’s prior feature films explored idyllic, nostalgic moments shared by children, I NEED A RIDE TO CALIFORNIA marks his mature aesthetic engagement with the unsettled social and political landscape of American in the late 1960s.*
Wednesday, October 23, at 7 pm.
Museum of Modern Art
Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2
11 West 53rd Street, New York City.
Morris Engel, I Need a Ride to California (1968). Images courtesy and © the Orkin/Engel Film and Photo Archive.