Have you always wanted to catch some of the hottest flicks at one of the coolest summer film festivals?
Then check out the Detroit Film Theater's summer season with its lineup of festival-worthy premieres, forgotten gems, and films from around the world.
The short summer season offers plenty of intriguing choices and here are a few that sound especially interesting to me.
The DFT hosts Oscar-winning film editor Richard Chew for a series of four double features that pair examples of Chew's work with classic films that inspired his editing. Chew will introduce the films and take questions from the audience after the showings, which include: the classic Italian film The Bicycle Thief, paired with the Chew-edited One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (June 9); the influential French New Wave film Breathless, paired with the Chew-edited I Am Sam (June 11); the 1967 film The Graduate, paired with Chew-edited Risky Business (June 16); and the 1969 film Medium Cool with its then-revolutionary blending of fictional and non-fictional footage, paired with the Emilio Estevez directed and Chew-edited film about the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, Bobby (June 18).
The DFT's From England with Love series features a half-dozen premieres of edgy British films that include: Toast, the story of food writer Nigel Slater's childhood struggles, which features Helena Bonham Carter and a soundtrack of Dusty Springfield tunes (June 11-12); Third Star, in which four friends embark on a road trip to Wales to discover adventure, dignity, courage, and what friendship truly means to them (June 24-25); and Africa United, which chronicles the story of three Rwandan children who set off to walk 3,000 miles through seven countries in hopes of attending a World Cup soccer match (July 15-16).
The Man Who Fell to Earth, a 1976 film starring David Bowie, was a daring examination of alienation in modern life, but most audiences only saw an American theatrical release which gutted almost 20 minutes of crucial scenes from the film, resulting in a version that confused viewers. Fans should appreciate the DFT's showing of the fully restored director's cut of this film (August 5-7 and August 14).
The 1948 documentary, Nuremberg, film captured story of the famous trial as it happened, showing prosecutors building the case against Nazi war criminals and recording the words of the defendants as they attempted to justify or excuse their actions from the witness stand. However, the U.S. government suppressed the film and the negative of the film reportedly went missing. American audiences can finally watch a 2009 restoration of the film, which runs at the DFT August 6-7.
The Scandinavian documentary Into Eternity deals with a different sort of devastation and explores the question of what to do with nuclear waste and how to insure that it doesn't pose a threat. The film, which the DFT calls "unexpectedly timely", runs June 17-19 and June 26.
And just to end things here on a more lighthearted note, check out the DFT showing of the 1934 It's a Gift starring W.C. Fields and Baby LeRoy. The film, added to the 2011 National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, runs July 16 at the DFT.
Many of these flicks aren't available on DVD yet, and great movies are usually best on the big screen. But if you can't get to the DFT for a showing or want to own a film for encore viewing later, some of these films available on DVD include: The Bicycle Thief, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Breathless, I Am Sam, The Graduate, Risky Business, Medium Cool, Bobby, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and It's a Gift (as part of the W.C. Fields Comedy Collection).
© Dominique King 2011 All rights reserved