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Film Scene: Savannah area screenings return in full force after Irma’s interruption

 

Film Scene: Savannah area screenings return in full force after Irma’s interruption

20 Sep 2017

Welcome back, friends. I hope Hurricane Irma treated all local Film Scene readers (and their property) with lenience. It certainly wreaked havoc on a number of alternative cinema events in our area over the past couple of weeks, as some of you may have noticed.

A number of screenings had to be canceled due to the inclement weather and/or the threat of such things (which necessitated certain venues closing their doors to properly secure them in advance of Chatham County’s evacuation). Some of these events were rescheduled, and, by the time you read this column, a few will have even taken place — such as the Lucas Theatre’s presentation of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour’s historic live concert in the Roman Amphitheatre of Pompeii.

Others, such as CinemaSavannah’s exclusive area engagement of South Korean director Kogonda’s debut full-length narrative feature “Columbus,” will have new dates announced soon, so keep your eyes peeled in future issues of Do for all the details as we receive them.

Looking ahead to the next seven days, there’s a bounty of notable films being shown around these parts outside of the confines of corporate multiplexes. As always, admission prices for each film can be found in the adjacent sidebar listings.

Get weepy

First up, on Sept. 21, Tybee Post Theater’s ongoing Girls’ Night Out series of weepy, relationship-driven popcorn flicks continues with a one-night-only engagement of director Rob “Stand By Me” Reiner’s 1989 dramedy “When Harry Met Sally,” starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as lifelong best friends who can’t seem to figure out if they’re destined for a strictly platonic pairing or if they should attempt to be romantic partners. Written by Nora Ephron (“Silkwood,” “Sleepless in Seattle”) and openly based on elements of Reiner’s own life, it is a sentimental favorite of all sorts of people. The American Film Institute ranked it the 23rd best comedy motion picture ever made in this country. Admission to this 7 p.m. show includes a glass of wine (if you’re of age) and a pack of tissues for the inevitable weeping.

National Theatre Live

In downtown Savannah at that exact same time, the Lucas Theatre’s high-def digital series of filmed dramatic stage productions from Great Britain’s National Theatre Company features “Yerma,” written by Simon Stone and based on the three-act opera by Heitor Villa-Lobos (which was itself based on the 1934 “tragic poem” by Federico García Lorca). It stars Billie Piper (Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful”) as a young woman driven to unspeakable acts in her twisted desire to bear a child. Set in contemporary London, this “radical” reworking of the play was hailed as “an extraordinary theatrical triumph” by the British press. Fans of intense stagecraft will not want to miss this rare opportunity to see some of the U.K.’s top talents on the big screen.

The Lucas’ National Theatre Live series continues Sept. 24 with a 7 p.m. screening of “Obsession,” a recent stage adaptation of the 1943 Italian feature film of the same name, directed by the great Luchino Visconti. That dark crime-romance was Visconti’s directorial debut and was heavily inspired by the James Cain crime novel “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” It is considered by many to be the first example of neorealist cinema. Directed by Ivo van Hove, this play centers around a charismatic drifter (played by “Cold Mountain” star Jude Law) who finds himself in a torrid affair with a married woman that leads to an insidious murder plot. It’s a time-honored tale that has been repurposed many times, but one that never gets old, when handled properly.

A look at the Avetts

Two nights later, Sept. 26 is the make-up date for the Lucas’ special showing of the new Americana music documentary “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers,” which had to be rescheduled due to the storm. Co-directed by famed comedic filmmaker Judd Apatow (TV’s “Freaks and Geeks”), this “deeply intimate and revealing” look at North Carolina’s Grammy-nominated folk-rock band was shot over a two-year period. Its 7 p.m. screening serves as the launch of the Lucas’ new Arthouse Series of first-run, critically acclaimed indie and foreign features.

Cinema Circle returns

A few nights earlier, on Sept. 22, the Trustees Theater (around the corner from the Lucas on Broughton Street) finds SCAD’s Cinema Circle back in action. This continuing series of notable feature films from around the globe finds a rotating cast of SCAD faculty members and area film historians introducing classic and/or beloved movies, and then moderating post-show audience discussions for each title. This time around, they present director Brad (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) Bird’s debut feature: 1999’s “The Iron Giant.”

Set during the late-’50s, it’s the Cold War tale of a massive robot of alien origin and a young boy’s efforts to hide him from the U.S. military (who are hellbent on its destruction). A minor masterpiece of sci-fi and dramedy that blends both retro hand-drawn animation and CGI, this tearjerker was considered a financial flop when first released to theaters, despite earning fistfuls of industry awards for its exemplary technical prowess and emotional storytelling. It has since developed an exceedingly loyal worldwide cult following. This rare public screening will be presented by SCAD professor Brian Schindler, who served as the film’s technical director, and has since worked behind the scenes on such smash features as “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” 7 p.m. showtime.

Sci-fi fantasy animation

Fathom Events, which offers high-def specialty programming to a network of cinemas nationwide, presents another installment of its “Studio Ghibli Fest 2017” at the Cinemark in nearby Bluffton, S.C., on Sept. 24, 25 and 27. They’ll celebrate visionary, Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki’s iconic Japanese animation studio with a very rare screening of what many believe to be his masterwork: the epic 1984 sci-fi fantasy flick “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,” based on the comic book series of the same name. For the 12:55 p.m. matinee Sept. 24, as well as the 7 p.m. show Sept. 27, the English dubbed version will be shown, whereas purists can rest easy knowing the 7 p.m. show Sept. 25 will be heard in the original spoken Japanese, with English subtitles.

Get greedy with ‘Wall Street’

On Sept. 24 and 27 at that same venue, as well as Savannah’s Regal Stadium 10, Fathom offers a 30th anniversary screening of controversial director Oliver Stone’s 1987 high-finance drama “Wall Street,” starring Michael Douglas in an unscrupulous role that earned him the Oscar for Best Actor and Daryl Hannah in a role that earned her a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress. For this special event, the film will be accompanied by a new short retrospective documentary on the film, called “Greed is Good.” It shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on both days.

Spanish Film Fest

On Sept.27, Armstrong State University kicks off its second annual Spanish Film Festival with a free screening of “Neruda,” the 2016 Chilean-made biopic about the real-life poet and Communist Senator Pablo Neruda. It was selected as Chile’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, and was previously shown here by local film organization CinemaSavannah. That day at 1 p.m., it will be screened in the school’s Liberty Center, and the following night, there will be an encore presentation at 6 p.m. in the school’s Ogeechee Theatre.

Also, at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 28, the Ogeechee Theatre will be the setting for a screening of the 2012 Costa Rican drama “The Return,” about a man’s attempts to reconcile his troubled past. It won Best International Feature at the 2011 New York Latino Film Festival. All of the films in the school’s Spanish Film Fest are free and open to the public, and will be shown with English subtitles.

Psychotronic back in action

Last but certainly not least, the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah’s long-running Wednesday night series of overlooked and/or underappreciated motion pictures returns to The Sentient Bean on Sept. 27 after a brief absence. That night they’ll pay tribute to the dashing, flamboyant man of mystery, British film and TV actor Peter Wyngarde, with one of his most memorable feature film roles. Though little-known in the states, Wyngarde is a highly regarded cult figure in the U.K. and is perhaps best known for his star-making television role as a randy, dandy super-sleuth in two guilty-pleasure mystery-action series produced by ITC Entertainment in the late 1960s and early 1970s: “Department S” and “Jason King.”

Recognizable from his supporting and guest starring spots in such unorthodox action-espionage series of the time period as “The Avengers,” “The Saint,” “I Spy” and “The Prisoner,” Wyngarde (of who precious little is verifiably known, due to his lifelong penchant for secrecy) also maintained an enviable career on the stage and in feature films, including small roles in cult gems like 1980’s “Flash Gordon” and 1961’s “The Innocents.” He also released an infamously unique (and exceedingly collectible) record album of dramatic interpretations of unorthodox spoken word pieces set to musical backing (think William Shatner’s “The Transformed Man” LP).

While the exact title of the Wyngarde film to be shown in his honor will remain a secret until showtime, it can be revealed that it’s one of his best onscreen dramatic performances and one which has stood the test of time — despite rarely being shown in the U.S. Adventurous viewers are encouraged to take a chance, buy a ticket and be pleasantly surprised. 8 p.m. showtime, with discounts on craft beer and organic wine 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.

IF YOU GO

What: “When Harry Met Sally”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 21

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10, includes glass of wine and tissues

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: “National Theatre Live: Yerma”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 21

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $5-$15 or free with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “The Iron Giant”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 22

Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.

Cost: $5-$8 or free with SCAD ID

Info: trusteestheater.com

What: Studio Ghibli Fest 2017: “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind”

When: 12:55 p.m. Sept. 24 and 7 p.m. Sept. 25 and 27

Where: Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $12.50

Info: fathomevents.com

What: “Wall Street” 30th anniversary screening

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 24 and 27

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

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

What: “National Theatre Live: Obsession”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 24

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $5-$15 or free with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 26

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $10

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: Armstrong Spanish Film Festival: “Neruda”

When: 1 p.m. Sept. 27 and 6 p.m. Sept. 28

Where: Liberty Center and Ogeechee Theatre, Armstrong State University

Cost: Free

Info: armstrong.edu

What: Peter Wyngarde Birthday Salute

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 27

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

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

What: Armstrong Spanish Film Festival: “The Return”

When: 12:30 p.m. Sept. 28

Where: Ogeechee Theatre, Armstrong State University

Cost: Free

Info: armstrong.edu

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