Film series lineup one to die for
March 18, 2006
While winter is waning, and on some afternoons the snow might turn to mush, the Park City Film Series remains in full swing, and no matter how intensely the sun’s rays shine, the seats in the Santy Auditorium remain uniformly soft and plush.
But every weekend, and sometimes more frequently, a new film comes to town, offering a new perspective and a new story.
Thursday evening, the film series presented the 1944 film, "Laura" as the first installment of the new Reel Classics Series, which will present free screenings of classic films on the third Thursday of each month.
Frank Normile, the executive director of the Park City Film Series, said Reel Classics which is meant to provide an educational experience to younger viewers will start out focusing on some darker material.
"Film noir will be the first genre we study in depth," he said.
In April, the series will feature Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film, "Dial M for Murder."
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"It’s really a great film," said Normile. "I’d really like high school students to come out for this."
The movie is rated PG.
"There’s no material that’s offensive for kids," Normile noted.
In addition to the Reel Classics, the film series will present its regular slate of weekly films, beginning its new calendar this weekend with "Mrs. Henderson Presents," starring Judi Dench.
"This is really interesting because it’s a true story," said Normile.
The film follows the adventures of a rich British widow who brings a nude review to her London stage to compete with the city’s other Vaudeville-style shows.
Next weekend, March 24-26, the "The World’s Fastest Indian" will come to the Santy screen, following the experience of New Zealander Burt Munro, played by Anthony Hopkins, as he tries to set a motorcycle speed record on his 1920 Indian Scout.
"This was filmed in the Bonneville Salt Flats and it brought a lot of attention to Utah," said Normile. "It’s really a charming, charming story."
He said the film series is working with the Park City Motorcycle Club to hold a possible motorcycle rally outside the Santy Auditorium the weekend of the film’s screening.
2005 Sundance Film Festival film "The Matador" will follow March 31 through April 2.
The movie stars Pierce Brosnan as an international hit man with several flaws and more than a few problems who seeks help from Greg Kinnear and Hope Davis, an unwitting couple.
"Everyone will love this film," said Normile, who noted that Brosnan’s performance separates him from his James Bond past.
A completely different film will follow "The Matador," when, on April 6, the 2005 Sundance Film Festival documentary, "Twist of Faith" appears for free as part of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Series.
The film follows a man as he confronts his past sexual abuse by a Catholic priest. Normile said he believed the Sundance Institute is working to bring in the filmmaker for the screening.
"Capote" will screen April 7-9, featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Academy Award-winning portrayal of author Truman Capote and showing the process the author endured to write his book, "In Cold Blood."
"He nailed the character," said Normile.
"Solo Dios Sabe" will show starting the next Thursday, April 13, with a free screening opening night as part of the Kimball Art Center’s "Arte Latino" exhibition. The film will continue through the weekend at the regular film series prices.
A 2006 Sundance Film Festival film, "Solo Dios Sabe" is a love story set in Mexico and Brazil. Currently without a distributor, the Sundance Institute will contribute the film for its four screenings.
"I really want to thank the Sundance staff, particularly Jill Miller," Normile noted.
He said the filmmaker would be in town for question-and-answer sessions after each of the screenings.
After the screening of "Dial M for Murder" on March 20, the film series will continue its regular schedule with "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" April 21-23.
"The guy who wrote the screenplay is the guy who did ‘Amores Perros’ and ’21 grams,’" said Normile, "so he’s a real Mexican screenwriter."
Tommy Lee Jones’ directorial debut, the film is a border-land story of a murdered man whose friend is left to find a burial place in Mexico while avenging the killing.
"It’s a great film to be directing," said Normile. "Everyone said, this is a great film."
"The White Countess" will play the next weekend, April 28-30, closing out the current film series calendar.
"This is just a beautiful film," said Normile, "great filmmaking."
Produced by Ismael Merchant and directed by James Ivory who teamed up to make "Remains of the Day" and "Howard’s End" the film is set in 1936 Shanghai and tells the story of a blind American diplomat and his relationship with a young Russian working the streets to support her formerly aristocratic family.
Overall, Normile said the new lineup will offer a slightly lighter tone with films like "The World’s Fastest Indian" and "The Matador" than some past lineups. But he did note one dark undercurrent.
"There’s a lot of murder in this one," he said. "It’s the film noir. It’s seeping into my brain."
However, he noted, the current calendar will feature four free films and plenty of cinematic quality.
"It’s a great lineup," he said. "I’m really happy with it, and I’m happy we have so many different components."
Tickets to regular screenings at the Park City Film Series are $5 for students and seniors at $6 for adults. Ten-punch passes are available for $45. For more information about the series or any of its films, go to http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com.