On March 20, 2010, I had the privilege and pleasure to attend the opening session of the Detroit Film Theatre’s new series on significant films in the long history of that art form—DFT 101. This Saturday afternoon series premiered with a screening of the famous 1924 German silent film, The Last Laugh. It included opening remarks by Elliott Wilhelm, the curator of film for the Detroit Institute of Arts who also gives commentary on classic films for public television.
Archive for the ‘Detroit Film Theatre’ Category
When I first heard that the Detroit Film Theatre would open its Winter 2010 season with a 4 1/2-hour movie, I had mixed feelings about committing so much time to one film. But when the 271 minutes of Red Cliff – The Complete Director’s Cut ended on January 17, 2010, I was glad I’d come down to the DFT for this dramatic and moving film from China.
Many times before or after a movie at the Detroit Film Theatre, I’ve taken a pleasant walk around the Cultural Center. As you can see in the following pictures, it’s one of the most beautiful parts of Detroit.
Here’s the parking lot where I always park for free, thanks to the parking pass that comes with each DFT ticket. My anticipation for that day’s film is always enhanced by the views of the different Cultural Center buildings as I walk towards the DFT auditorium.
The late afternoon sunlight streamed through the high, vertical, arched windows of the Crystal Gallery Café of the Detroit Film Theatre. About 30-40 people had gathered to participate in a discussion led by Wayne State University professor Karen McDevitt about a powerful new French film that they had just watched in the DFT auditorium on July 12, 2009. The ornate vaulted ceilings enhanced the feeling of understanding that spread throughout the café as the discussion proceeded.
The Detroit Film Theatre has forged such a strong identity for itself that it’s easy to forget that it’s also one of many activities presented by the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DFT screens films in the DIA auditorium, which was part of the original 1927 construction of the building and which also hosts activities like the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.
As I watched the magnificently restored Lola Montès at the Detroit Film Theatre on Jan. 16, 2009, I thought about all of the silent films that are lost forever. Before the 7 p.m. showing of this 1955 French/German film, DFT Film Curator Elliot Wilhelm talked about the long journey that this movie traveled to be restored to the original vision of director Max Ophüls, who died in 1957, perhaps in part because of the mutilation of his last film.