Do Savannnah

Film Scene: ‘The Graduate’ 50th anniversary and more highlight week in cinema

 

Film Scene: ‘The Graduate’ 50th anniversary and more highlight week in cinema

19 Apr 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a great many people who eagerly await each week’s issue of Do, and either receive it along with their regular Thursday copy of the Savannah Morning News or grab one from a nearby box or rack each Thursday morning. (Here’s a tip for those who just can’t wait: those boxes actually start being filled around 9 p.m. Wednesdays.)

Still others find us online. (Here’s another tip: a handful of the features and columns in each issue — including Film Scene — are often truncated in print due to space limitations, with longer, more detailed versions available at DoSavannah.com.)

Since our coverage is geared to run from one Thursday to the next, this means many events taking place on that day of the week usually get featured in two consecutive issues. As far as one-day-only movie screenings go, I realize many readers will not see a given listing until the actual day it’s taking place, and it’s my hope they’ll still be able to squeeze in such an opportunity on what amounts to very short notice. With that in mind, please consider our first batch of alternative cinema events, all of which occur April 20.

Heyday of the Dead

At 7 p.m. that night, the Regal Savannah 10 and the Cinemark in Bluffton offer a special presentation of a restored version of 1977’s concert film/documentary “The Grateful Dead Movie.” This 2 ½-hour theatrical film was co-directed by the legendary psychedelic jam band’s own lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, and became a popular favorite on VHS in the 1980s. Combining concert footage from San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom with a revealing look at the initial heyday of Deadhead culture, it’s a potent time capsule of a lost era. These high-def screenings also include a newly made bonus documentary short about the group.

One show only

Simultaneously, out on Tybee Island, the historic Post Theater offers the 2016 Oscar-nominated dramedy “20th Century Women” for one show only. This female-centric slice-of-life period dramedy stars Annette Bening, and is set in a California boarding house in the late 1970s on the cusp of the punk rock movement. $10 admission includes a glass of wine (if you are old enough) and a package of tissues, as it’s said to be emotionally challenging.

‘The Case for Christ’

Also taking place at 7 p.m. that same night, the Mars Theatre in Springfield kicks off a three-night engagement of the newly released religious drama “The Case for Christ,” starring Frankie Faison, Faye Dunaway and Robert “The Black Hole” Forster. Set in the early 1980s, it’s the tale of a respected newspaper reporter (and atheist) who sets out to disprove his wife’s newfound fervent belief in the power of Jesus by applying traditional journalistic investigation techniques to the question of whether Christ’s fabled powers are indeed real. I’ll give you five guesses as to how this picture ends.

Anime on the big screen

And, one hour later at Trustees Theater, the SCAD Cinema Circle screens the highly influential 1988 Japanese animated gem “Akira.” This is the first time in the history of the Cinema Circle that they’ve programmed a bona fide anime feature, and they’ve chosen a stone classic that’s considered one of the greatest sci-fi features of its era, animated or otherwise. A dystopian, cyberpunk-influenced action flick based on a popular Japanese comic book series, “Akira” is a masterpiece of old-fashioned cel animation (no CGI on display here). Rarely seen on the big screen in any form, they’ll show it in the original spoken Japanese (with English subtitles, of course).

Over the next few weeks, this organization will also screen two other landmark anime features, “Princess Mononoke” and the original 1990s animated version of “Ghost in the Shell” (recently remade as a live action flop starring Scarlett Johannson). As with all their events, each film will be hosted by grad students and faculty from the school’s film, TV and cinema studies departments and their special guests, who will lead post-show discussions with the audiences.

Mountain films

The following night, around the corner from Trustees, the Lucas Theatre plays host to this year’s installment of the traveling version of Canada’s famed Banff Mountain Film Fest. It’s an action-packed collection of newly made, award-winning short films from around the world that focus on outdoor exploration and adventure. Showtime is 7 p.m., with $12 admission. For more details on this wonderful, family-oriented, one-night-only event, see my feature article elsewhere in this issue.

Live at the Met

Then on April 22, Savannah Regal Stadium 10 on the Southside and the Cinemark in Bluffton, S.C., both offer a live high-def simulcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.” This Russian work centers on — surprise — romantic difficulty and tragedy, and is a revival of the stage production originally helmed by Deborah Warner (which opened the Met’s 2013 season). It stars Anna Netrebko, Peter Mattei, Alexey Dolgov, Elena Maximova and Štefan Kocán. As with all these Live from the Met simulcasts, the cameras will go behind the scenes during the opera’s intermission for exclusive interviews with the cast and crew. In spoken Russian, with English subtitles. If you can’t make this live event, there will be an encore screening at these theaters at 6:30 p.m. April 26.

Historical thriller

That same night at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery near Forsyth Park, CinemaSavannah presents an exclusive one-night-only area engagement of acclaimed director Pablo Larraín’s Golden Globe-nominated 2016 Chilean-Argentinian historical thriller “Neruda,” starring Gael Garcia Bernal as a dogged police inspector in pursuit of famed communist poet and outlaw figure Pablo Neruda.

Hailed by critics worldwide as an incredibly inventive and unusually literate and daring alternative to a traditional biopic, “Neruda,” while based on a true story and featuring dramatized versions of real-life figures, uses that basis in fact as a jumping-off point from which to revel in the minutiae and poetic lyricism of its titular subject. The Village Voice calls it “dizzying” and “exhilarating,” while the Toronto Globe and Mail calls it a “near-perfect homage to a literary giant.” Two screenings, at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., in spoken French and Spanish with English subtitles.

50th anniversary

On April 23 at the same two venues that offered the Grateful Dead film and the Metropolitan Opera simulcast (Regal Stadium 10 and the Cinemark in Bluffton), there will be a special 50th anniversary presentation of the beloved romantic dramedy “The Graduate” starring Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross and Anne Bancroft. Directed by the late, great Mike Nichols, co-written by Buck Henry (TV’s “Get Smart”) and featuring a best-selling soundtrack of Simon & Garfunkel tunes, this seminal 1960s motion picture about the unlikely love triangle formed by a young man, his girlfriend and her mother earned six Oscar nominations and influenced untold scores of coming-of-age pictures around the globe.

A masterpiece of awkward comedic timing and bittersweet subject matter, echoes of “The Graduate” can be plainly seen and felt in such disparate later works as Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore” and Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Two screenings, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and again at the same showtimes April 26.

Martian invaders

And finally, also April 26, the Psychotronic Film Society’s ongoing Wednesday night series of underappreciated, indie, foreign and cult movies at The Sentient Bean continues with a rare public showing of the criminally unknown yet highly influential 1953 sci-fi flick “Invaders from Mars,” timed to coincide with the 64th anniversary of its initial theatrical release. Directed by William Cameron Menzies, this independently made feature was shot in the little-used SuperCinecolor process, resulting in a surreal, otherworldly look to its tale of a young boy who accidentally witnesses a flying saucer crash-land and then becomes convinced that many adults in his small town are being manipulated by aliens from Mars with sinister intentions.

An oddly ambitious and somewhat subversive film masquerading as low-brow drive-in theater quality entertainment, “Invaders from Mars” has sadly fallen through the cracks into relative obscurity, yet is well-known and well-regarded among serious sci-fi and cult movie aficionados. The PFS will show perhaps the best quality print of the original American cut of the film known to exist. Showtime is 8 p.m., with $7 admission, and discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the movie.

Until next issue, see you at the movies, be kind to those around you and don’t forget to turn off that cell phone.

Jim Reed directs Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah. Email psychotronicfilms@hotmail.com.

 

JIM’S NOTES

The international success of “Akira” is widely viewed as the key turning point in the greater acceptance of manga-based anime outside of the Japanese market. Though animated, the film has been cited as a key influence on such later live-action motion pictures and TV shows as “The Matrix,” “Looper,” “Tetsuo: The Iron Man” and “Stranger Things.” Several attempts have been made to create a live action remake of “Akira,” and major directors such as “Mad Max” creator George Miller have been attached to the project, but so far, none have materialized.

“Neruda” has won universal acclaim as one of the finest and most challenging motion pictures of 2016. Its score on the film rating website RottenTomatoes.com is a staggering 98 percent positive (out of a possible 100 percent), and it was Chile’s official entry for Best Foreign Picture in the most recent Academy Awards.

When “Invaders from Mars” was released in the U.K., its British distributor insisted on a number of substantial changes to the film. This required new scenes to be shot and edited into the picture. As the young boy at the center of the film had gone through a growth spurt in the interim, his height, weight and haircut were inconsistent throughout the British version. Other glaring continuity errors were prevalent, and European audiences also saw a completely different ending to the movie, which many consider far more straightforward and less frightening than the close of the original U.S. cut. While the American version is harder to find nowadays, serious fans consider it the definitive version of this cult film.

 

IF YOU GO

What: 40th anniversary of “The Grateful Dead Movie”

When: 7 p.m. April 20

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee Ave., and Cinemark Bluffton, 106 Buckwalter Parkway, Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “20th Century Women”

When: 7 p.m. April 20

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10, includes wine and tissues

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Akira”

When: 8 p.m. April 20

Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.

Cost: $8; $6 for seniors/military; free with SCAD ID

Info: trusteestheater.com

 

What: “The Case for Christ”

When: 7 p.m. April 20, 21, 23

Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield,

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: 2017 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

When: 7 p.m. April 21

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $12

Info: banffcentre.ca, lucastheatre.com

 

What: The Met: Live in HD “Eugene Onegin”

When: 12:55 p.m. April 22, 6:30 p.m. April 26

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee Ave., and Cinemark Bluffton, 106 Buckwalter Parkway, Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $25.68 adults; $23.54 seniors; $19.26 children

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Neruda”

When: 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 22

Where: S.P.A.C.E. Gallery, 9 W. Henry St.

Cost: $8

Info: savannahga.gov

 

What: 50th anniversary of “The Graduate”

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 23, 26

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee Ave., and Cinemark Bluffton, 106 Buckwalter Parkway, Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: 64th anniversary screening of “Invaders from Mars”

When: 8 p.m. April 26

Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.

Cost: $7

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

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