In general, my tastes in movies run towards pictures with an uplifting theme, either in their general tone or as portraits of people overcoming challenges. Occasionally though, I find it interesting to watch a film with a darker theme, like the 1943 Danish drama Day of Wrath at the Detroit Film Theatre on April 24, 2010.
Archive for the ‘Foreign Language’ Category
The Historic Auditorium of the Michigan Theater has played host to some of the most unforgettable facial images in the history of film over the last few months, as part of its World Cinema Film Series. The difference between TV and theater screenings of movies might be most pronounced in the emotion and detail that is communicated in facial closeups.
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.
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.
So there I was, sitting in the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor on May 4, 2009, watching a film set in Ashdod, Israel in which a young half Russian/half Israeli boy was trying to learn dances that originated in Spain and England. His instructor was a famous Russian dancer who was considering going to a dance competition in Stockholm, Sweden.
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.
After a whirlwind of filmgoing that took me to all three of the Detroit Movie Palaces, I have many blessings to count in this season of Thanksgiving.
As I write this, my mind and emotions are reflecting on the enjoyment and the enrichment of: a family classic (The Wizard of Oz); a newly discovered barrel of fun (3 Ring Circus); a dramatic look at an Italian family (Days and Clouds); and two skillfully nuanced and emotionally gripping films (I’ve Loved You So Long and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas).