Go to the NYS Writers Institutes Home Page
Classic Film Series Logo
The Writing Semester
Classic Film Series - Spring 2004
FRIDAYS at 7:30 p.m.
(Unless otherwise noted)
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
UAlbany's Downtown Campus
January / February / March / April
Sneak Preview of Up-coming Films with Author/Director appearances:
Neil LaBute (The Company of Men), Peter Sheridan, (Borstal Boy, In the Name of the Father), Chuck Palahnuik (The Fight Club), and Roddy Doyle (The Committments)
Please check back again soon!
   January 23The Color of Money
The Color of Money
(United States, 1986, 119 minutes, color, 16mm)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Starring Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Scorsese's sequel and homage to Robert Rossen's 1961 film, The Hustler, earned Paul Newman an Academy Award for the role of aging pool shark "Fast Eddie" Felson. Richard Price's taut, streetwise script also garnered an Oscar nomination.

Author
Richard Price, who wrote the screenplay for THE COLOR OF MONEY will read from and discuss his work on Tuesday, January 27: 4:15 p.m. seminar in the Assembly Hall; 8:00 p.m. reading in the Recital Hall.

Top of Page
Film Notes

   January 30
Richard IIIRichard III
(United Kingdom and United States, 1995, 104 minutes, color, 35mm)
Directed by Richard Loncraine
Starring Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey, Jr.

This intelligent adaptation of Shakespeare's play is set in an imaginary fascist England in the 1930s. Portrayed by Ian McKellen, who also co-scripted the film, Richard seeks to take the British throne by any means possible, particularly by murdering his own brothers and nephews.

Top of Page
Film Notes


   February 6
Broken StringsBroken Strings
(United States, 1940, 85 minutes, b&w, 16mm)
Directed by Bernard B. Ray
Starring Clarence Muse, Sybil Lewis, William Washington

An African-American reinvention of The Jazz Singer (1929), Broken Strings is one of the finest "race films" of the 1930s and '40s-films made with all-black casts and marketed exclusively to black audiences. African American movie pioneer Clarence Muse, who co-wrote the screenplay, stars as a classical violinist whose son is seduced by swing.

Broken Strings will be preceded by two classic jazz shorts, including Symphony in BlackFilm Substitution:  NOT Black and Tan Fantasy (1935) with Duke Ellington and (unlisted billing) Billie Holliday, and Rhapsody in Black and Blue (1932) with Louis Armstrong.

Top of Page
Film Notes

   February 20
Seven SamuraiThe Seven Samurai
(Japan, 1954, 203 minutes, b&w, DVD)
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Starring Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Yoshio Inaba
In Japanese with English subtitles
NOTE: 7:00 p.m. Start Time

Set in the 16th century, Kurosawa's masterpiece recounts the adventures of seven warriors hired to protect a Japanese village from bandits. One of the most widely imitated movies of all time, The Seven Samurai provided a model for countless American war, heist and western films.

Top of Page
Film Notes

   February 27
A Streetcar Named DesireA Streetcar Named Desire
(United States, 1951, 122 minutes, b&w, 16mm)
Directed by Elia Kazan
Starring Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

Elia Kazan's brilliant adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play earned Oscars for Leigh, Hunter and Malden, but Brando's performance established the character of Stanley Kowalski as a pop icon of the 1950s.

Top of Page
Film Notes

   March 5
gleaners-2000.gif - 10613 BytesThe Gleaners and I
(France, 2000, 82 minutes, color, 35mm)
Directed by Agnès Varda
Starring Bodan Litnanski, Agnès Varda, François Wertheimer
In French with English subtitles

This striking documentary introduces us to a variety of individuals, from rural vagrants to urban garbage-pickers, who make their living by gathering what others leave behind. Agnès Varda, a director who helped to define French New Wave cinema, also features herself as a gleaner of sorts--gathering images with her camera.

Top of Page
Film Notes

   March 12
Cul-de-Sac
(United Kingdom, 1966, 109 minutes, b&w, 16mm)
Directed by Roman Polanski
Starring Donald Pleasance, Lionel Stander, Francoise Dorleac

A pair of escaped Beckett-esque criminals terrorize a mild-mannered Englishman and his beautiful French wife in their private island home. Polanski's typical obsessions with themes of perversity, humiliation and fear are showcased in this strange and stylish thriller.

Top of Page
Film Notes

March 16 (Tuesday)
Haitian Film Series - Bitter Can
(Haiti, 1983, 75 minutes, color, video)
Directed by Kim Ives and Jacques Arcelin
Six years in the making and filmed clandestinely under the Duvalier dictatorship, Bitter Cane examines the exploitation and foreign domination of the Haitian people. The film takes the viewer on a journey through Haitian history, from the 1804 revolution, the the occupation by U.S. Marines, to the repressive Duvalier regimes of "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc." Bitter Cane won awards at the Cannes, Antwerp and Chicago film festivals, among others.
Director Kim Ives will talk about the making of the film. He is a filmmaker who has worked on several films about Haiti including Bitter Cane, Haiti: Killing the Dream, and Rezistans. He is also a journalist and editor with Haïti Progrès, the largest Haitian weekly.

   March 19
Wuthering HeightsAbismos de Pasión (Wuthering Heights)
(Mexico, 1954, 91 minutes, b&w, 35mm)
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Starring Irasema Dilian, Jorge Mistral, Lilia Prado
In Spanish with English subtitles

More so than other filmed versions of Emily Brontë's classic novel, Buñuel's dark adaptation of Wuthering Heights emphasizes tortured emotions and abnormal family relationships. The melodrama unfolds against a bleak and eerie Mexican landscape.

Top of Page
Film Notes

March 23 (Tuesday)
Haitian Film Series - Haitian Pilgrimage and Breaking Leaves
Haitian Pilgrimage
(1995, 29 minutes, color, video)
Produced and directed by Robin Lloyd
A Haitian-American family takes a three-week journey to a church and waterfall shrine at Saut E'Eau in Central Haiti, joining thousands of Haitians who make the annual pilgrimage.
Breaking Leaves
(1988, 30 minutes, video)
Produced and directed by Karen Kramer
A journey through the Haitian countryside with traditional healers provides a view of the country's long tradition of holistic healing.
Director Karen Kramer will talk about filmmaking in Haiti and her observations of traditional religion and healing.

   March 26
Halving the BonesHalving the Bones
(United States, 1995, 70 minutes, color and b&w, video)
Directed by Ruth Ozeki

After attending her grandmother's funeral in a Tokyo suburb, filmmaker and novelist Ruth Ozeki is asked (as a "nice gesture") to bring half of her grandmother's bones back to Connecticut to her estranged mother who missed the funeral. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, this playful documentary is a marvelous exploration of Japanese-American identity.

Filmmaker and fiction writer
Ruth Ozeki will read from and discuss her work on Thursday, April 1: 4:15 p.m. seminar in the Assembly Hall; 8:00 p.m. reading in the Recital Hall.

Top of Page
Film Notes

April 13 (Tuesday)
Haitian Film Series - The Man by the Shore
(France/Canada, 1993, 106 minutes, color, video, in Haitian w/English subtitles)
Directed by Raoul Peck
Set in "Papa Doc's" Haiti, circa 1960s, this is the story of eight-year-old Sarah's intuitive struggle for survival in the malevolent political and social environment of dictatorship. Sarah's parents, forced to leave Haiti by the vicious tonton macoutes, leave Sarah behind under the precarious protection of her grandmother.
Top of Page

   April 16
OrpheusOrpheus
(France, 1949, 95 minutes, b&w, DVD)
Directed by Jean Cocteau
Starring Jean Marais, María Casares, François Périer, Marie Déa
In French with English subtitles

A unique, poetic and enchanting adaptation of the Orpheus myth, Cocteau's film presents a modern poet who falls in love with the Princess of Death who, in turn, arranges the death of the poet's wife in order to draw him into the Underworld. The film features a variety of simple special effects, dazzling in their own day and still effective today.

Top of Page

April 20 (Tuesday)
Haitian Film Series - A Pig's Tal
(1997, 52 minutes, color, video)
Produced and directed by Leah Gordon and Anne Pariso

Twelve years after the U.S. AID program eliminated Haiti's native black pig, the mainstay of the peasant economy, in an effort to combat African Swine Fever, Edgar the voodoo priest, and Juste, a Haitian Rasta from Brooklyn, go in search of the few remaining pigs rumored to have survived the slaughter.

   April 23
The Hunchback of Notre DameThe Hunchback of Notre Dame
(United States, 1923, 120 minutes, b&w, 16mm, silent)
Directed by Wallace Worsley
Starring Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry, Kate Lester
LIVE PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT PROVIDED BY MIKE SCHIFFER

One of the biggest productions of the silent era, this adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel features a cast of thousands, excellent period atmospherics, and a remarkable reproduction of the Notre Dame Cathedral built on a Universal Studios backlot.

Top of Page
Film Notes

   April 30
The Wild PartyThe Wild Party
(United States, 1929, 76 minutes, b&w, 16mm)
Directed by Dorothy Arzner
Starring Clara Bow, Fredric March, Shirley O'Hara, Marceline Day

This rare early film by a female director features silent starlet Clara Bow in her first "talkie" role. Set on a coed college campus, The Wild Party is a clumsy but fascinating, and often side-splittingly funny, study of gender attitudes at the end of the "Roaring Twenties."

Top of Page
Film Notes

DCSIMG