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Film Scene: Stay busy with ‘Godfather’ on Tybee, Hitchcock and more

 

Film Scene: Stay busy with ‘Godfather’ on Tybee, Hitchcock and more

06 Apr 2017

Those who appreciate a broad swath of cinematic diversions may find themselves trying hard to keep up with all the interesting alternative film screenings in our area over the next seven days. There are, quite simply, too many specialty screenings going on this week to delve very deeply into any of them — but here’s a bird’s eye view of what’s being offered.

I highly encourage all Do Savannah readers to find at least one of these events that speaks to them and do their level best to support those responsible by buying a ticket and enjoying the show.

Can’t go wrong with ‘The Godfather’

First up is the Tybee Post Theater’s three-night salute to director Francis Ford Coppola’s original 1970s “Godfather Saga.” As we mentioned in last week’s Film Scene column, the Post had previously arranged to screen 1972’s “The Godfather” for one night only, but they have amended that initial plan to now include the second film in that epic saga of Italian-American organized crime, 1974’s “The Godfather: Part II.”

Adapted from and inspired by Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel detailing the trials and tribulations of an ambitious immigrant family with a knack for illegal commerce and a violent approach to business management, these two intensely dramatic motion pictures combined earned a total of no less than nine Oscars. Starring such luminaries as Marlon Brando, Talia Shire, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Lee Strasberg, Robert DeNiro, Robert Duvall and “The” Abe Vigoda, they are considered to be two of the very finest American films of their era.

At 7 p.m. April 6, the Post screens the initial feature, with the sequel shown the following night at the same time. Finally, on April 8, both films will be shown back-to-back in a massive six-plus-hour double feature, starting at 6 p.m. Admission is $7 to either of the single screenings, or just $10 for Saturday’s marathon. How can you go wrong?

The best view of ballet

The next day, April 9, is an incredibly busy one at area cinemas and DIY venues, with three very different events competing for eyeballs and eardrums.

First, at 12:55 p.m., Fathom Events will live simulcast a high-definition feed of Russia’s world-famous Bolshoi Ballet’s program “A Hero for Our Time” to two area multiplexes: the Regal Savannah Stadium 10 and the Cinemark in Bluffton, S.C. Adapted from author Mikhail Lermontov’s famed writings, this new production helmed by choreographer Yuri Possokhov interprets three separate tales of betrayal featuring the heroic figure of Pechorin. The cast of this nearly three-hour presentation includes the Bolshoi’s principal dancers, plus assorted soloists and their corps de ballet.

You can expect crystal-clear audio fidelity and breathtaking camera angles, no matter where in the theater you’re seated. In other words, for some folks, seeing a ballet like this is actually preferable to being in the audience of the recital itself. Tickets are available in advance online through Fathom’s website, but there are usually seats available at the door on the day of the show. Admission ranges from about $16 for kids and seniors to about $20 for adults.

Spring break romance

Later that same afternoon, the historic, restored Mars Theatre in Springfield (about a 40-minute drive from downtown Savannah) continues its monthly series of classic Hollywood crowd-pleasers with the 1960 romantic-comedy “Where the Boys Are,” starring an impossibly young George Hamilton (“Zorro, the Gay Blade”) and the sultry Yvette Mimieux (“Dark of the Sun”) in this G-rated, episodic tale of thrills, spills and young love between four Midwestern college girls and the hot guys they meet while on spring break in Fort Lauderdale. This ain’t no Orange Crush, folks. Showtime is 3 p.m., with $7 admission.

Best Foreign Film

And, rounding out Sunday’s options, CinemaSavannah returns to the cozy S.P.A.C.E. Gallery on Henry Street (just south of Forsyth Park) for a one-night-only, first-run engagement of the most recent winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film: Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s suspenseful 2016 drama “The Salesman.”

Described by critics as a minor masterpiece of minimalist filmmaking, this festival favorite is the story of a young Iranian couple forced to leave their apartment due to safety issues and relocate to the center of Tehran — where they soon find themselves in a tense and unpredictable living situation. Called an “exquisite, closely studied moral fable” by the Philadelphia Enquirer, it’s the latest stunning piece of filmcraft from the same man responsible for 2011’s breathtaking marital drama “A Separation” (which also won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film). In spoken Farsi and English. Two screenings only, at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., with $8 admission.

‘Facing Darkness’

The next night, at both the Regal Savannah Stadium 10 and the Carmike Wynnsong Savannah 11 multiplexes, Fathom Events presents an encore presentation of the Christian-oriented documentary, “Facing Darkness” presented by Samaritan’s Purse. This film — which posits that copious prayers on the part of the Rev. Franklin Graham’s ministry persuaded God to spare the life of one of the reverend’s own medical aid workers who contracted the Ebola virus while treating victims in West Africa (while strangely allowing more than 11,000 of those victims to die a protracted, painful and grisly death) — will screen at 7 p.m. at both venues. Tickets are $13.38 in advance at fathomevents.com.

Two nights of psychotronic films

And, looking ahead to next week, the Psychotronic Film Society offers not one, but two different screenings of notable cult classics — two nights in a row and at two different DIY venues.

First up, on April 11, the PFS hosts its first-ever event at The Space Station, the new meeting hall and concert space adjacent to Starlandia Art Supply in the increasingly popular Starland District (on Bull Street between 37th Street and Victory Drive). For this initial film event, they’ll present iconic British filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s immensely respected 1935 mystery thriller “The 39 Steps,” starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll.

The first “talkie” Hitchcock ever directed, this tale of a man and a woman thrust together by circumstance on the run from a group of evil secret agents is still as powerful today as it was almost a century ago. The prototype for a number of other Hitchcock films to follow, “The 39 Steps” firmly established Hitchcock as “the master of suspense,” and numerous sequences in this movie have been copied or adapted for an untold number of thrillers worldwide ever since. No less than the British Film Institute ranked it as the fourth best British film of the entire 20th century. Showtime is 8 p.m., with admission just $5, and a variety of snacks and drinks available for cheap.

The following evening at The Sentient Bean, the PFS’ ongoing Wednesday night series of marginalized features continues with a special screening of the insanely rare 1983 Turkish film “Vahsi Kan,” better known to underground film fans as “Turkish First Blood,” as this violent, low-budget action flick brazenly copies significant portions of the plot of 1982’s “First Blood” — better known as the initial entry in Sylvester Stallone’s four-part series of “Rambo” movies. In fact, “Vahsi Kan” actually uses parts of that Stallone film’s original soundtrack without permission or credit.

Turkish superstar Cüneyt Arkın (the most popular male actor in Turkish history) does his best Stallone impersonation in what is easily one of the most ridiculous and shamelessly exploitative rip-off flicks the PFS has ever unearthed. They will screen a fully uncut version directly from a rare Turkish VHS tape from the 1980s (with English subtitles, of course).

If you are unfamiliar with the genre of low-budget Turkish knock-off pictures, come prepared to laugh — and gasp — at the misogynistic sleaziness that apparently passed for mainstream cinema in that Eurasian country some 30 years ago. 8 p.m. showtime, with $7 admission (and discounts on organic wine and craft beer during the film).

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

Upon its initial theatrical release in 1972, “The Godfather” became the highest-grossing film of that year. Later, it even held the distinction of being the highest-grossing film of all time. The American Film Institute ranks it just behind legendary writer-director-actor Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” as the second-greatest film in the history of American cinema.

“The 39 Steps” is the second film Alfred Hitchcock directed that is centered around the concept of an innocent man thrust into extraordinary circumstances due to a case of mistaken identity. The best-known example of this is his classic 1959 thriller “North by Northwest,” which was heavily influenced by this earlier feature. In fact, “The 39 Steps” is said to be the film where most of the later hallmarks of Hitchcock’s famed directorial style first appeared. Unsurprisingly, it was one of Orson Welles’ favorite Hitchcock films.

Turkish cinema legend Cüneyt Arkın’s real name is Fahrettin Cüreklibatır. Before becoming an actor, he graduated from medical school as a licensed physician. However, he gave up a career as a doctor for the lure of celebrity. To date, he has starred in more than 250 feature films and TV series, in addition to directing and producing such endeavors, and is a beloved elder statesman of the Turkish entertainment industry.

IF YOU GO

What: “The Godfather,” “The Godfather: Part II”

When: 7 p.m. April 6 and 7

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $7

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: “The Godfather, Parts I & II” double feature

When: 6 p.m. April 8

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: “The Bolshoi Ballet: A Hero for Our Time”

When: 12:55 p.m. April 9

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

Cost: $16.05 for children/seniors, $19.26 for adults

Info: fathomevents.com

What: “Where the Boys Are”

When: 3 p.m. April 9

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

What: “The Salesman”

When: 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 9

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

Cost: $8

Info: cinesavannah@att.net

What: Samaritan’s Purse presents “Facing Darkness”

When: 7 p.m. April 10

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee Ave.; Carmike Wynnsong Savannah 11, 1150 Shawnee Ave.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

What: Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps”

When: 8 p.m. April 11

Where: The Space Station at Starlandia, 2438 Bull St.

Cost: $5

Info: twitter.com/pfssav

What: “Vahsi Kan” aka “Turkish First Blood”

When: 8 p.m. April 12

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

Cost: $7

Info: twitter.com/pfssav

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