Museum of Modern Art Department of Film Curator Jytte Jensen Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
As the Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art's 44th edition of New Directors/New Films is taking place, New York City and the film world has lost a champion of filmmakers. MoMA Department of Film Curator and longtime selection committee member Jytte Jensen died on Monday, due to cancer, at the age of 65.
When I spoke with Jytte before the 2014 New Directors/New Films kicked off, we had an informative discussion on Switzerland's Ramon Zürcher's family drama The Strange Little Cat, Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson's saga-infused Of Horses And Men, Jenny Slate's performance in Gillian Robespierre's Obvious Child, Jessica Oreck's The Vanquishing Of The Witch Baba Yaga, Talal Derki's Syrian documentary Return To Homs and the connection with Hubert Sauper's Sudan doc We Come As Friends and Bertrand Tavernier's African-set Coup De Torchon.
Jytte's enthusiasm and positive outlook for the films she curated was always in play. She had a distinguished career that included a wide range of programming for over 30 years at MoMA.
Jytte was always generous with her time to all and will be remembered for her warm smiles and integrity.
Jytte's friend and colleague, Richard Peña, Director Emeritus of the New York Film Festival and Professor of Film Studies Columbia University, who had worked together with her on the selection committee of New Directors/New Films for many years sent the following tribute:
"Jytte was a great friend, who leaves a gaping hole in the field. She lived and breathed cinema; there was hardly a subject about movies on which she couldn't hold forth, and if per chance you stumbled on something she didn't know, she'd grill you until she knew as much as you did. But beyond her obvious brilliance and stature in the profession, she was a warm, loving person who was never too busy to send a note to congratulate you on something or just to find out how you were. Thank you for everything, Jytte--you'll always be in our hearts."
True to her commitment to filmmakers whose work she participated in selecting to be in New Directors/New Films, Jytte organizsd MoMA Presents: Benedikt Erlingsson's Of Horses And Men, which was screened just last week (March 11–17).