FALL 2007
Friday evenings, 7:30 p.m. (Unless otherwise noted)
Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., UAlbany’s Downtown Campus
visiting writers series
community writers workshops
nys summer wirters institute
nys summer young writers institute
authors theatre
nys author and poet awards
mpas and directions
film note index

September 28 (Friday)

(China, 1948, 85 minutes, b&w, DVD)
Directed by Mu Fei
Starring Chaoming Cui, Wei Li, Yu Shi, Wei Wei
In Mandarin with English subtitles

Filmed in China just prior to the Communist takeover, this celebrated work tells the delicately layered story of a woman torn between loyalty to her sick husband and the dashing doctor who was the lover of her youth. SPRING IN A SMALL TOWN has been named “the best Chinese-language film of all time” by numerous critics and organizations, including the Hong Kong Film Academy, the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, and China Now magazine.
NOTE: The film will be screened in association with the University-wide China Semester at UAlbany.
Kevin's Film Notes

October 4 (Note special Thursday screening)

(United Kingdom, 2005, 103 minutes, color, 35 mm)
Directed by Niall Johnson
Starring Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott
Thomas, Maggie Smith, Patrick Swayze

A well-crafted black comedy in the Ealing tradition, KEEPING MUM features an English vicar too preoccupied to notice his daughter’s unhealthy relationships with boys, his son’s problem with bullies, and his wife’s affair with an oversexed American golf tutor. An elderly housekeeper (Maggie Smith) moves in and takes it upon herself to put the family’s life in order. Part Mary Poppins, part Supernanny, she also happens to be criminally insane.
NOTE: Richard Russo, who co-scripted Keeping Mum, will speak at the Writers Institute on Friday, October 5. No film will be shown on that date.

October 12 (Friday)

(Mexico/United States/Canada, 1998, 88 minutes, color, DVD)
Directed by Vicky Funari
Starring Paulina Cruz Suárez
In Spanish with English subtitles

A favorite at Sundance, this moving and innovative documentary received the Grand Jury Prize at the San Francisco International Film Festival and Lifetime Television’s Vision Award. A middle-aged woman returns to her home village in Mexico to confront the family who traded her away as a child slave and mistress in exchange for land rights. The San Francisco Chronicle said, “PAULINA was ten years in the making, but its passion and energy are fresh...blending real-life and re-enactment footage with dazzling virtuosity... it has a magical glow.”
Sponsored in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month

Kevin's Film Notes

October 19 (Friday)

(Germany, 1928, 110 minutes, b/w, 35 mm)
Directed by G. W. Pabst
Starring Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer
SILENT with live piano accompaniment by Mike Schiffer

Expatriate Kansas-born actress Louise Brooks became an icon of the Jazz Age after starring in this dark tale of a sexy vaudeville performer who ignites madness and desire—and brings ruin— everywhere she goes. Pabst’s creation, based on playwright Frank Wedekind’s character Lulu, scandalized Berlin upon its release and began the clash between artistic freedom and Hollywood censorship. Today, film critics regard PANDORA’S BOX as “one of European silent cinema’s crowning achievements,” (Tom Dawson, BBC). It influenced the work of a number of filmmakers including Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, and Billy Wilder. The film also features moviedom’s first lesbian character, the Countess Geschwitz. Shown in a newly struck 2006 print.

Kevin's Film Notes

October 26 (Friday)

(Spain, 1973, 97 minutes, color, 35 mm)
Directed by Víctor Erice
Starring Fernando Fernán Gómez,Teresa Gimpera, Ana Torrent, Isabel Tellería
In Spanish with English subtitles

After watching James Whale’s 1931 horror feature FRANKENSTEIN, screened by a travelling projectionist in a Spanish village during the early years of Franco’s regime, two small girls embark on a quest to find and befriend the monster. Recently rediscovered by American critics, SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE has been called “a work of sheer, entrancing beauty” (Chicago Tribune), and “the finest and most beautifully wrought first film of the European 70s” (Village Voice). A new 2006 print will be shown.
Kevin's Film Notes

November 2 (Friday)

(United Kingdom, 1997, 94 minutes, color, 35 mm)
Directed by David Hare
Starring Mike Nichols, Miranda Richardson,David de Keyser

Wallace Shawn’s powerful, monologue-driven play about three characters trapped in a war-torn future dystopia is translated to the screen by David Hare, who also directed the original London stage production. Jack, an English professor, has become increasingly sympathetic to the fascist regime. Howard, Jack’s father-in-law, is a famous poet suspected of supporting the guerilla insurgents. Jack’s wife, Judy, is also under suspicion. The New York Times called the work an “exquisitely written dramatic lament for the decline of high culture.”
NOTE: The original show date for this film, March 16, 2007, was cancelled due to bad weather.

CleoCLEO FROM 5 TO 7 [CLEO DE 5 À 7]
November 9 (Friday)

(France, 1961, 90 minutes, b&w and color, 35 mm)
Directed by Agnès Varda
Starring Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray
In French with English subtitles

Awaiting the results of a biopsy for cancer, a pretty, pampered chanteuse spends two hours searching for meaning in the streets of Paris. The film established Agnès Varda as the preeminent female director of her generation and the grandmère of the French New Wave. Film critic Molly Haskell wrote, “the director adroitly uses the camera’s addiction to beautiful women’s faces to subtly question the consequences of that fascination....” A new print will be shown.

Kevin's Film Notes

November 16 (Friday)

(United Kingdom, 1930, 63 minutes, b&w, DVD)
Directed by Kenneth MacPherson
Starring Paul Robeson, Eslanda Robeson, Hilda Doolittle
SILENT with new jazz score

This fascinating silent work by early film theorist Kenneth MacPherson features African American actor Paul Robeson and his wife Eslanda in a tangled tale of interracial adultery and violence. MacPherson uses experimental camera techniques and narrative styles to explore the “borderlines” of racial and sexual identity. Silent filmmaker G. W. Pabst called BORDERLINE, “the only real avant-garde film.” BORDERLINE also features Hilda Doolittle (H. D.), the influential American poet, in her only movie role.

November 30 (Friday) Note 7:00 pm Start Time

(United States, 2006, 130 minutes, color, 35 mm)
Directed by Todd Field
Starring Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Connelly

This film earned cowriters Tom Perrotta and Todd Field a “Best Screenplay” Oscar nomination for the adaptation of Perrotta’s novel of the same name. LITTLE CHILDREN follows the course of an adulterous affair between a stay-at-home mom and a stay-at-home dad who meet on the playground of an affluent American town. Writing in the Guardian (UK), Philip French called it, “a sharply observed and brilliantly acted study of American suburban life.”
NOTE: Tom Perrotta who coscripted LITTLE CHILDREN, and authored the novel, will offer commentary and answer questions immediately following the screening.
Perrotta will also hold an informal seminar on screenwriting at 4:15 p.m. on Friday, November 30th in Science Library 340 on the UAlbany uptown campus.

December 7 (Friday) Note 7:00 pm Start Time

(Mali, 2006, 118 minutes, color, 35 mm)
Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
Starring Aïssa Maïga, Tiécoura Traoré, Maimouna Hélène Diarra
In Bambara and French with English subtitles

A poignant and provocative film, BAMAKO presents a group of ordinary Africans who convene an impromptu court of justice to try officials of the IMF and World Bank for crimes against Africa. Writing in the New York Times, A. O. Scott called BAMAKO, “A film that needs to be seen, argued over and seen again.... A disarmingly beautiful, fierce and unforgettable piece of political art that is also a haunting visual poem.”
NOTE: Bret Benjamin, UAlbany English professor and author of Invested Interests: Capital, Culture, and the World Bank (2007), will answer questions and offer commentary immediately after the screening.

December 14 (Friday)

(United States, 1937, 91 minutes, b/w, 35 mm)
Directed by Leo McCarey
Starring Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy

Jerry (Cary Grant) and Lucy (Irene Dunne) divorce over mutual suspicions of infidelity. Lucy becomes engaged to a rich Oklahoma oilman, while Jerry pursues a wealthy socialite. Meanwhile, each is compelled to ruin the other’s plans. A classic of the screwball comedy genre, THE AWFUL TRUTH was nominated for six major Academy Awards, and earned a “Best Director” Oscar for Leo McCarey. It will be shown in a restored 70th Anniversary print.

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