Friday, February 13, 2009

Breadlines & Champagne! UPDATED. TWICE.

by Ryland Walker Knight


To counter our chill with a laugh (and a hug?), Film Forum has programmed the Breadlines and Champagne series, a month-long celebration of Great Depression cinema. The fun begins this weekend with an opening night screening of Wesley Ruggles' 1933 film, I'm No Angel, which stars Mae West and Cary Grant and costs a mere 35 cents (or a quarter for members). The weekend continues with two Franks: Borzage's Hooverville classic, Man's Castle, and Capra's punchy American Madness. I was lucky enough to catch a screening of the new print of the Borzage and wrote up some quick thoughts for The Auteurs' Notebook, which you will be able to read shortly in that webspace by clicking here. The short of it goes something like this: Borzage smears the frame with light to point beyond it, back at the world, and beyond that, too, to the skies we see and seek, where we are free to dream and project our wishes. (Shhh: at bottom, the film is interested in the freedom the cinema can offer, the uplift possible, and our capacities as agents even in the dark!)

But don't stop there. Scroll down that page and you'll see all kinds of fun double bills, all at a 2-for-1 discount, including one helluva Valentine's Day, programmed by Bruce Goldstein to pair My Man Godfrey (service would save the day, wouldn't it) with Easy Living (perhaps most famous now for its early Sturges screenplay). If that kind of night out (complimented by a meal and drinks, if not flowers, I trust) does not warm the soul, I cannot imagine what will. Of course, two days earlier there's a new print of Young Mister Lincoln screening with The Tall Target, if your soul needs that kind of uplift. Night Nurse plays Feb 17, Hawks' Scarface on the 21st and King Kong helps close the month before five more double bills to start March. I'm going to try to enjoy as many as my meager wallet and my stuffed social calendar will allow. (And if that's not enough for you, there's something called The Human Condition coming back by popular demand April 8th. That one might tell you some things.) [x-posted at the curator corner]

stop. think about it.

UPDATE: My piece on Man's Castle is available over here, and I've left a comment below the "essay" that furthers my thought a bit, or questions what I've written, in an inviting way (I hope).

UPDATE THE SECOND: My first piece published at SpoutBlog can be found through this link. It's called "Valentine's and Breadlines: Love in the Depression" and it concerns a few of the romantic comedies I've seen in the past week at the Film Forum. Please, read it. Please, tell me things. Please, enjoy your Saturday.

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