Harpur Cinema to explore the power of money
August 24, 2010Tweet
Harpur Cinema will help movie fans make sense out of dollars this fall, as the film series offers eight titles with a money theme.
“The theme is on everyone’s mind right now and there are so many great films about money - money-making, winning money, looking for money, stealing money - that I thought it would be a good time to address this issue directly,” said Joyce Jesionowski, a lecturer in the Cinema Department and series programmer of Harpur Cinema.
Jesionowski, who took over the former Harpur Film Society with the fall 2009 series, began developing the money series after seeing the 1954 film Touchez pas au grisbi. In the French movie, a gangster commits what he considers to be his ultimate and final heist, but things do not turn out as expected.
“It’s the expression of the idea of theft and the bank heist,” said Jesionowski, who compared the film to the Oceans 11 series. “It’s a noir: very dark and cold.”
Touchez pas au grisbi will be featured Oct. 29 and 31. All films in the series will be held at 7:30 p.m. in LH-6. Admission is $4; a season subscription is $22 for the general public, $20 for students and senior citizens.
The series begins Oct. 1 with Wall Street, the 1987 Academy Award-winning film from Oliver Stone about the greed and excess of the mid-1980s. The film will be shown a week after the Hollywood release of its sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, in which Michael Douglas reprises his role as Gordon Gekko.
For Jesionowski, Wall Street makes for an “explosive” beginning of the series; its date was meant to coincide with the sequel’s release.
“I really wanted to put those two together so people could see the before and after of that saga,” she said.
One of Jesionowski’s favorite films in the series is Ken Loach’s Raining Stones. The 1993 British movie, about a father who is determined to buy a new First Communion dress for his daughter, will be shown Oct. 15 and 17.
“It’s a film a lot of people don’t know,” Jesionowski said. “I’m happy to introduce Ken Loach to American audiences. I don’t think he comes to the attention of U.S. audiences very often. This is a sweet film about the endurance of poor people in the face of want. People will be surprised how much they are going to like this film.”
British cinema will be further represented by Danny Boyle’s Millions on Oct. 22 and 24. Boyle, the Slumdog Millionaire director who will serve as artistic director of the 2012 London Olympic Games, made the film in 2004. Harpur Cinema’s family film of the series, “Millions” tells the story of two young brothers who have to decide what to do with a bag of money they have found.
Le Million (Oct. 8 and 10) is the oldest film in the series. The 1931 musical/comedy by René Clair is about an artist who has lost his coat that contains a winning lottery ticket. The film also is noteworthy because it was made at the beginning of the sound era, Jesionowski said.
“It’s René Clair taking this experimental attitude toward sound in the middle of making a charming film,” she said. “I don’t think we see enough of these kinds of films.”
Harpur Cinema will again feature film introductions from faculty members in a variety of fields.
“I think that was one of our big successes last year in going to the new format,” Jesionowski said. “We reached out to the academic community and got professors to come in and give audience members a better background of the film and context for watching the film. Quite often, those were our biggest audiences.”
The Harpur Cinema fall schedule is:
Oct. 1 and 3: Wall Street (1987)
Oct. 8 and 10: Le Million (1931)
Oct. 15 and 17: Raising Stones (1993)
Oct. 22 and 24: Millions (2004)
Oct. 29 and 31: Touchez pas au grisbi (1954)
Nov. 5 and 7: High and Low (1963)
Nov. 12 and 14: Pickpocket (1959)
Nov. 19 and 21: Color of Money (1986)