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.
Archive for the ‘Foreign Language’ Category
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).
Notes from a movie palace weekend (March 14-16, 2008):
After enjoying the focused intimacy of the Redford Theatre (Friday, March 14, 2008) and the Detroit Film Theatre (March 15), the spaciousness of the Michigan Theater on March 16 hit me very strongly. Steven Ball’s organ playing drifted out into the Grand Foyer and the street energy of downtown Ann Arbor continued into the Michigan’s auditorium.
Africa has gotten a lot of headlines lately. U.S. President George W. Bush has been visiting the continent, helping bring more world attention to African problems like political conflict, AIDS and malaria. And one of the contenders for succeeding Bush next year has an African-born father—Barack Obama.