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2009 Fall Cinema Series

September 2nd - December 9th

September 2:  CINEMA PARADISO

Guisseppe Tornatore, 1989, Italy

Provoked by the death of his childhood mentor, a filmmaker reminisces about his youth during the Golden Age of Italian movies.  Beautifully designed and well acted, this beloved Italian nuovo classic won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1990. 155 min.

 

 

September 9: AMERICAN BEAUTY

Sam Mendes, 1999, USA

Winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Sam Mendes’ directorial debut follows Lester, a suburban family man facing a midlife crisis whose zest for life is reinvigorated when he becomes infatuated with a high school cheerleader. Visually stylish and symbolically rich, American Beauty explores the meanings of beauty, desire, and the American Dream. 122 min.

 

 

September 16:  DEAD MAN

 Jim Jarmusch, 1995, USA

Jim Jarmusch’s minimalist epic Dead Man, starring the always watchable Johnny Depp as William Blake, is easily one of the most stylish and thought-provoking films of the 90s. While complex in theme and meaning, Dead Man manages to remain amazingly simple in its aesthetic design. Employing his own sense of pacing and rhythm, Jarmusch has earned an international reputation as one of America’s great visual poets. 121 min.

 

 

September 23:  MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO

 Gus Van Sant, 1991, USA

Director Gus Van Sant’s strikingly original and intimate film combines metaphors and montage with Shakespeare and street hustlers to examine the social ills of America in the 90s.  River Phoenix, in the greatest performance of his career, joins Keanu Reeves in a physical and emotional odyssey that exemplifies the best of American independent film. 104 min.

 

 

September 30:  SUNRISE

F.W. Murnau, 1927, USA

Relive the climax of the silent era with Sunrise, the 1929 Academy Award winner for cinematography, best actress (Janet Gaynor), and unique and artistic production. Legendary German filmmaker F.W. Murnau combines highly stylized lighting and set design with masterful command of the “unchained camera” to depict a dark story of infidelity within the imaginative, visually rich world of German Expressionism. Featuring live piano accompaniment by Petaluma Pete. 

 

 

October 7:  THE GRADUATE

Mike Nichols, 1967, USA

Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft star in movie history’s most famous love affair between an older woman and a young college graduate confused about his future. With masterful cinematography and a legendary soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel, The Graduate is fully deserving of its prominent place in film history.  The film was nominated for 7 Oscars including a win for director Mike Nichols. 95 min.

 

 

October 14:  STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

Alfred Hitchcock, 1951, USA

The grand master of suspense delivers this Oscar-nominated tale of murderous intrigue and heart-pounding action about a chance meeting on a train between famed tennis star Guy Haines and an obsessive psychopath named Bruno Antony. Captivating cinematography and compelling suspense drive this classic thriller based on the Patricia Highsmith novel. 101 min.

 

 

October 21:  PARIS JE T’AIME

Various, 2006, France

Twenty world-class filmmakers, including the Coen brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, Walter Salles, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant, Wes Craven, and Alexander Payne, individually craft a series of brief encounters in the twenty arrondissements of Paris.  The sum is greater than the parts in this captivating collection of shorts featuring a wide range  of cinematic styles. 120 min.

 

 

October 28:  LITTLE OTIK

 Jan Svankmajer, 2001, Czech Republic

Surrealist master Jan Svankmajer brings a famous Czech legend eerily to life in this dark and hilarious tale.  When an ordinary couple is unable to conceive, the husband digs up a tree root as a substitute to ease his wife’s pain but something goes horribly awry.  Svankmajer brilliantly mixes his wicked humor, subversive politics, and love of mythology into a stunning live-action fable for our times. 132 min.

 

 

November 4:  SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN

Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen, 1952, USA

Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s incredible 1952 collaboration has become perhaps the greatest movie musical ever made. Documenting the transition from silent films to sound, Singin’ in the Rain is sure to fill you with that glorious feeling of the Golden Age.  Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor join Gene Kelly in this American classic. 103 min.  The film will be preceded by a live tap performance by Tapestry at 6:00pm.

 

 

November 11:  THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES

William Wyler, 1946, USA

Celebrate Veterans Day with the moving story of three WWII veterans returning home to discover that their lives will never be the same. Beautifully shot by veteran cinematographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane, Grapes of Wrath), the film is strikingly modern in its tone and design. A passion project for producer Samuel Goldwyn, he allegedly said, “I don’t care if the film doesn’t make a nickel. I just want every man, woman, and child in America to see it.” The film became one of the highest grossing films of the year and earned 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. 172 min.

 

 

November 18:  THE CELEBRATION 

Thomas Vinterberg, 1998, Denmark

Vinterberg’s stripped down, intensely emotional tour-de-force portrays a family gathering in which disturbing truths emerge about the respected family patriarch.  Winner of the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, The Celebration introduced the world to the Dogme 95 film movement and incited a global revolution in digital filmmaking. 105 min.

 

 

November 25:  PERSONA

Ingmar Bergman, 1966, Sweden

Celebrated Swedish director Ingmar Bergman’s true masterpiece tells the story of an accomplished actress who refuses to speak and her enigmatic relationship to the nurse employed in her care. Gorgeously photographed in stunning black and white, Bergman explores the psychological connections between the two women in a manner that is mysterious, complex, and wholly engrossing. 85 min.

 

 

December 2:  SUNSET BOULEVARD

Billy Wilder, 1950, USA

Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard has become one of the great classics of film noir.  Gloria Swanson gives her greatest performance as silent star Norma Desmond, an aging movie actress dreaming of a comeback.  William Holden, who plays a screenwriter on the lam, is hired to develop a script that will re-ignite her career.  Erich von Stroheim also turns in a phenomenal performance as Norma’s faithful butler Max. 110 min.

 

 

December 9:  HAROLD & MAUDE 

Hal Ashby, 1971, USA

A sleeper when first released, Harold & Maude has gained a strong cult following since its 1971 debut.  Marked with a memorable Cat Stevens score, the film follows the exploits of a death-obsessed teen who learns about life from his 80-year-old mentor. Produced during an era of unprecedented directorial freedom, Hal Ashby crafted a remarkable dark comedy that exemplifies the best of 1970s cinema. 91 min.