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Classic Film Series Spring 2005
FRIDAYS at 7:30 p.m.
(Unless otherwise noted)
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
UAlbany's Downtown Campus
January / February / March / April / May

   January 28
The Golem
(Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam)
Directed by Paul Wegener and Carl Boese
(Germany, 1920, 85 minutes, b&w, 16mm)
Starring Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Lydia Salmonova, Ernst Deutsch
Silent with live musical accompaniment

A Prague rabbi makes a monster out of clay to defend his community from persecution. As a visual creation, with its hulking, awkward monster, this German silent was a major source of inspiration for James Whale’s 1931 horror classic, FRANKENSTEIN. Likewise, many scholars believe that the medieval Golem myth provided inspiration for the novel, Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The third in a series of silent Golem films by Paul Wegener, the 1920 GOLEM is a masterpiece of German Expressionist cinema, with bizarre, off-balance sets by Hans Poelzig, and chiaroscuro photography by Karl Freund, perhaps the most influential horror cinematographer of all time.

Sponsored in conjunction with the University Libraries’ semester-long series “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature”
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Kevin's Film Notes

   February 4
Talk RadioParis Trout
Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal
(United States, 1991, 93 minutes, color, video)
Starring Dennis Hopper, Barbara Hershey, Ed Harris
Based on the novel by Peter Dexter

Set in the segregated South in the late 1940s, PARIS TROUT is the harrowing tale of a racist loanshark, a proud and powerful figure who plies his trade in a small, impoverished town. Played by Dennis Hopper, the title character lives by his own laws, kills an African-American child, and goes to trial confident of his eventual acquittal. Based on the National Book Award-winning novel by Pete Dexter, this made-for-television movie earned first-time director Stephen Gyllenhaal a prestigious Directors Guild Award. The film also garnered five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama, Actor, Actress, Writing and Sound Editing in a Miniseries or Special.

Pete Dexter

NOTE: Author Pete Dexter, whose novel the film PARIS TROUT is based on, will give a reading on February 10th at 8:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center.

"Dexter's strongest suite is his exquisite understanding of the finely meshed engines of greed, appetite and self-interest that drive a small town. . .Dexter's great accomplishment is to remind us, with lucidity and stinging frankness, the lengths to which we will go to deny our own racism and to reassure ourselves that we are innocent." - Deborah Mason, New York Times Book Review

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   February 11
Emperor JonesThe Emperor Jones
Directed by Dudley Murphy
(United States, 1933, 76 minutes, b&w, 35mm)
Starring Paul Robeson, Dudley Digges, Frank H. Wilson, Fredi Washington

Based on the play by Eugene O'Neill, THE EMPEROR JONES follows the adventures of a cunning African-American railway porter who becomes king of a Caribbean island. The film's indulgence in Black stereotyping is redeemed by the acting of Paul Robeson, who brings power and dignity to the role of Brutus Jones. The son of an escaped slave, a towering figure of the American stage, a brilliant vocalist, and an outspoken political activist, Paul Robeson was one of the most important cultural figures of the 20th century. The film will be screened in a new, difficult-to-obtain print, restored by the Library of Congress in 2003. Top of Page
Kevin's Film Note

   February 18
YeelenYeelen (Brightness)
Directed by Souleymane Cissé
(Mali/Burkina Faso, 1987, 105 min, color, 35mm, in French & Bambara w/English subtitles)
Starring Issiaka Kane, Aoua Sangare, Niamanto Sanogo, Ismaila Sarr

In YEELEN, Malian director Souleyamane Cissé, one of the best-known figures in African cinema, has created a magically beautiful film about the landscape and people of Mali. A young Bambara tribesman on a quest for spiritual enlightenment must challenge his shaman father who abandoned him and his mother years before. Winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the film has been praised for its cinematography and simple yet powerful images.

"Ravishingly beautiful...One of the great experiences of world cinema" -- Shelia Benson, The Los Angeles Times

"Conceivably the greatest African film ever made...should make George Lucas green with envy...not to be missed" -- Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader

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   February 25
Purple NoonPurple Noon (Plein Soleil)
Directed by René Clément
(France/Italy, 1960, 115 min, color, 35mm, in French w/English subtitles)
Starring Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, Marie Laforêt, Erno Crisa
Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith

PURPLE NOON is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, the first in a series of novels she wrote about the character Tom Ripley (played in the film by Alain Delon), a charming but cunning psychopath with a taste for murder. Highsmith was also the author of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, which Alfred Hitchcock adapted into one of his finest films. PURPLE NOON is an intelligent thriller with a twisted, suspenseful plot. The film, considered to be one of the greatest suspense thrillers ever made, is a benchmark in French cinema. It was recently restored under the sponsorship of Martin Scorsese. Rated PG-13 for violence and mature themes.

PURPLE NOON received the 1962 Edgar Allen Poe Award (Edgar) for best foreign mystery film.
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   March 4
Andrei RublevAndrei Rublev
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
(Russia/Italy, 1969, 182 min, b&w and color, 35mm, in Russian & Italian w/English subtitles)
Starring Anatoli Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Grinko, Nikolai Sergeyev

Based on the life of a 15th century Russian painter of religious frescoes and icons, ANDREI RUBLEV is comprised of eight acts following the painter through the political and social upheavals of medieval Russia. Rublev wanders in search of inspiration as the brutality he witnesses erodes his sense of artistic purpose. The film's stunning cinematography has led many reviewers to list ANREI RUBLEV as one of the finest films ever made. Director Andrei Tarkovsky, one of the most accomplished filmmakers of the Soviet cinema, is known for work that is intensely intimate, stunning to look at, and somewhat controversial. Soviet authorities suppressed the release of ANDREI RUBLEV and tried to prevent it from winning awards at the Cannes Film Festival by having it shown at 4 a.m. Despite their efforts the film won the International Critics Award.

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   March 11
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
(Japan, 1961, 110 minutes, b&w, 35mm, in Japanese w/English subtitles)
Starring Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa, Isuzu Yamada

Combining beautiful filmmaking with relentless action and a touch of humor, YOJIMBO ranks as one of the all-time great samurai pictures. Toshirô Mifune plays a samurai-for-hire who attempts to restore order to a town terrorized by warring bandit gangs. Conceived as a Japanese homage to the American Western, YOJIMBO has, in turn, inspired a number of notable gunslinger movies, including Sergio Leone's A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964), starring Clint Eastwood in the Mifune role. Indeed, many critics argue that Mifune's cool-headed, efficient and resourceful samurai provides the original model for Eastwood's lifelong onscreen persona. The screening will feature a newly restored 35mm print.

"I was about 19 when I first saw Yojimbo, and I remember being immediately struck by how beautifully graphic it was. . .everything is set up purely with images." - Director John Sayles, in an interview with Sarah Donaldson, London Daily Telegraph
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   April 1
The Hour of the StarThe Hour of the Star (A Hora Da Estrela)
Directed by Suzana Amaral
(Brazil, 1985, 96 minutes, color, 35mm, in Portuguese w/English subtitles)
Starring Marcelia Cartaxo, Jose Dumont, Tamara Taxman

THE HOUR OF THE STAR is the story of Macabéa, a shy, unattractive, uneducated, and--from a conventional point of view--uninteresting 19-year-old woman, an orphan from rural northern Brazil, who attempts to make a new life as a typist in the big city of São Paolo. A haunting example of cinema verité, the film was compared by many critics to the best work of the Italian Neorealists, including De Sica and Rossellini. Brazilian director Suzana Amaral raised nine children before graduating from NYU Film School and making this, her debut feature, at the age of 52. The film is based on a 1977 novella by Clarice Lispector, one of the most original and influential Brazilian writers of the last century.

"A profound testament to our time." - Andrew Sarris, The Village Voice
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   April 8
The Remains of the DayRemains of the Day
Directed by James Ivory
(United Kingdom/United States, 1993, 134 minutes, color, 35mm)
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Reeve, Emma Thompson
Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro

Based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, and set on a baronial estate in the days leading up to the Second World War, THE REMAINS OF THE DAY is a product of one of the most admired teams in art cinema-director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and scriptwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. The film explores the recollections of an English head butler of the old school, a monk-like man loyal to his master and devoted to the rules of his profession, who encounters two important threats to his carefully ordered world: the romantic overtures of a new housekeeper, and his master's friendships with Nazi sympathizers. A blockbuster by arthouse standards, the film received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Music.

Kazuo Ishiguro

NOTE: Author Kazuo Ishiguro, whose novel the film REMAINS OF THE DAY is based on, will give a reading on April 21st at 8:00 p.m. in the Clark Auditorium in the Cultural Education Center. Earlier in the day he will conduct a 4:15 p.m. seminar in the Campus Center Assembly Hall.

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   April 15
A Raisin in the SunA Raisin in the Sun
Directed by Daniel Petrie
(United States, 1961, 128 minutes, b&w, 35mm)
Starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands

Lorraine Hansberry wrote this screen adaptation of her award-winning play of the same name. The film was made with the same magnificent cast who performed the play on Broadway. An African American family in Chicago clashes over the best way to spend money from a life insurance policy to improve their lives in this moving drama of race, gender, class, and generational conflicts.

Ruby Dee

NOTE: Actress Ruby Dee, who stars in A RAISIN IN THE SUN, will present the 9th Annual Burian Lecture Thursday May 5th (THIS EVENT WAS RESCHEDULED FROM 4/19/05), 8:00 p.m. at Page Hall, 135 Western Ave, Albany. She will also hold a 4:15 p.m. Seminar that day in the Recital Hall, PAC.

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   April 22
Beat the DevilBeat the Devil
Directed by John Huston
(United Kingdom/U.S./Italy, 1953, 100 min, b&w, 35mm, in English & Italian)
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Robert Morley, Peter Lorre
Based on the novel by James Helvick

A commercial failure when it was originally released, this comedic cult classic was based on the novel by James Helvick and written by then 28-year-old Truman Capote. The rather thin plot creates a vehicle for some of Hollywood's best character actors to upstage the film's stars. In southern Italy, a group of shady misfits hatch a get-rich-quick scheme involving uranium in British East Africa. They travel there on board a ship along with an eccentric British couple. With free-wheeling performances, the film is filled with sharp, witty dialogue, indelible caricatures, and the hint of an adulterous partner swap, quite risqué for the era.

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   April 29
Talk RadioTalk Radio
Directed by Oliver Stone
(United States, 1988, 110 minutes, color, 35mm)
Starring Eric Bogosian, Ellen Greene, Leslie Hope, Alec Baldwin
Based on the play by Eric Bogosian

TALK RADIO is based on author/actor Eric Bogosian’s play and Stephen Singular’s book Talked to Death, which dealt with the 1984 assassination of Denver talk-show host Alan Berg. In the film, Bogosian plays Barry Champlain, the host of a late-night call-in radio show. The show’s open mic format attracts uncensored rants of bigotry, rage, pathologies, loneliness, and lunacy and Champlain’s cynical, abusive style leads to death threats against him. Bogosian, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, earned a Silver Bear for Single Achievement at the Berlin International Film Festival for his performance and for screenwriting. Rated R for abusive language, violence, and adult situations.

Eric Bogosian

NOTE: Actor/author Eric Bogosian, wrote the play and stars in the movie TALK RADIO will conduct a 4:15 pm afternoon seminar and an 8:00 pm evening reading on Tuesday, May 3rd. Both are in the Recital Hall, PAC

Kevin's Film Notes
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   May 6
Directed by Mitchell Leisen
(United States, 1939, 94 minutes, b&w, 16mm)
Starring Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, Mary Astor

With script work by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, MIDNIGHT is a neglected classic of the 1930s screwball comedy genre. A penniless American girl in Paris is persuaded by a Hungarian count to pose as his mistress in order to arouse the jealousy of his unfaithful wife. As if this weren't complicated enough, her jealous lover shows up, and she tries to prove him insane in order to keep him from interfering with the plan. The sparkling cast includes Claudette Colbert as the gold digger, John Barrymore as the foreign aristocrat, and Don Ameche as the taxi driver who believes that love is more valuable than money.

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Kevin's Film Notes