Well, it's a slow week for alternative film screenings in our neck of the woods, folks.
After the craziness of the past few months - which saw oodles and kaboodles of films both new and old taking place almost every day at a wider variety of venues than usual - I must say it's a bit of a refreshing breather.
War history on the big screen
From Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, the lovely Mars Theatre in nearby Springfield has booked writer/producer/director Christopher Nolan's recent and massive box-office sensation "Dunkirk" for a special three-day run at the restored, single-screen venue. It stars One Direction singer Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh ("Hamlet"), Cillian Murphy ("28 Days Later"), Mark Rylance ("Bridge of Spies") and Tom Hardy ("Mad Max: Fury Road") and is centered around Operation Dynamo, which saw hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers evacuated from the French harbor and beaches of Dunkirk in the spring of 1940.
Shot on massive, expensive 65mm film stock, and utilizing far more practical (meaning mechanical or physical, as opposed to computer-generated or animated) special effects than is the norm in this day and age, the film has been hailed by many critics across the globe as one of the finest films about military conflict ever made, and certainly one of Nolan's finest efforts (he's also been at the helm of such acclaimed features as "Memento," "Interstellar," "Insomnia," "The Dark Knight Trilogy" and "Inception").
It has been in cinemas here in the States since July 21, but if you have yet to see it, or would simply like to see it again, what better option than to support a small, historic theater in a small town, rather than a typical corporate multiplex? As always, admission prices for all screenings mentioned in Film Scene can be found in the individual sidebar listings for each event.
Regulars of the venue should note the theater will close after Labor Day weekend to undergo an expansion project. The Mars Theatre will reopen Dec. 2 for a holiday a capella show by Eclipse 6.
Unlikely love triangle
Looking ahead to Sept. 7, the Tybee Post Theater (one of our area's other restored, single-screen historic cinemas) presents a one-show-only revival of the iconic romantic dramedy "The Graduate" starring Dustin Hoffman ("Outbreak"), Katharine Ross ("Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid") and Anne Bancroft ("The Miracle Worker"). Directed by the late, great Mike Nichols ("The Birdcage"), 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 legitimate 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." If you don't happen to live on the island, it's well worth the drive to see this one in a theatrical setting. Plus, admission price for this 7 p.m. show includes a glass of wine (if you're old enough) and a piece of chocolate. Beat that!
Now normally at this spot in each week's Film Scene column, I list the following Wednesday night installment of the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah's ongoing series of underappreciated and/or downright obscure feature films. That weekly event has been taking place for nearly 14 years now at The Sentient Bean Coffeehouse. Over that time period at a number of different venues around town, the PFS (which I founded and curate) has held close to 1,000 screenings of indie, foreign, cult and classic movies - most of which were commercially unavailable in the U.S. at the time they were showcased.
My organization eagerly continues to show everything from sneak previews of award-winning films on the festival circuit yet to be released theatrically, to one-night-only engagements of new first-run titles that were only playing in major markets (and thus would otherwise never be shown on the big screen in this town), to insanely rare presentations of unjustly forgotten or "lost" films which had fallen through the cracks and could only be found in the private archives of diehard film collectors.
Along the way, I'm happy and honored to say the PFS has collected more local awards and kudos than any other independent cinema organization. While other independent film organizations and festivals have come and gone over that time period, we've stuck around as best we could, navigating the peaks and valleys that are part and parcel of such a quirky, grassroots endeavor.
Now, there won't be a Psychotronic Film Society event at The Bean on Sept. 6, as the eatery will be closed that night for a private function. And the following Wednesday, Sept. 13, the PFS is hosting its first Psychotronic Field Trip.
Our friends at the Lucas Theatre scored a rather remarkable feat in arranging for the only digital simulcast for more than 200 miles of the highly anticipated "Live at Pompeii" concert by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour (in which the guitarist/frontman and his road band perform his solo material alongside classic Pink Floyd tunes in the legendary Roman Amphitheatre where Floyd's own "Live at Pompeii "concert film was shot 45 years ago). So we're simply encouraging everyone to join us instead at the Lucas and enjoy this beautiful high-def musical cinema event in glorious, state-of-the-art 4K resolution on one of the biggest screens in the area.
However, as some of you may have read on social media over the last few weeks, the PFS recently suffered two devastating setbacks that threatened the continued existence of the organization.
In separate and unrelated robberies over the past six months, more than 1,000 rare (and in some cases irreplaceable) DVDs, Blu-Rays, digital hard drives and specialized audio/visual equipment belonging to the society were stolen. This amounted to about 90 percent of our celebrated archives of rare and unreleased feature films, as well as our DLP projector.
After numerous requests by kind and generous PFS audience members and supporters, we have recently launched an online fundraising campaign designed to not only help replace the stolen electronic equipment and begin rebuilding the archive, but also to cover the legal costs associated with rebooting the society as a federally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable arts organization. This will allow the PFS to not only survive, but also to thrive and expand. The goal is to host even more screenings of adventurous cinema throughout the greater Savannah area, and to make more of those screenings completely free to the public.
If any Film Scene readers would like to learn more about this opportunity to help rebuild and strengthen one of the city's most unique cultural options, please consider visiting our fundraising page at gofundme.com/save-the-psychotronic-film-society, and sharing it with any friends you feel would be interested in such a cause.
There are a number of cool movie-related "thank you gifts" for those who donate, and we have already met 25 percent of our goal. If you are able to support the PFS in this manner, you have my sincerest thanks in advance. We'd love to see the society continue for another 14 years at the least!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
When: 7 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 2; noon Sept. 1
Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield
What: "The Graduate"
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 7
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.
Cost: $10, includes glass of wine