You know how librarians and literature professors are always coming up with lists of the books you must have read to be a well-rounded, literate individual?
Well, the Kansas City Public Library is doing the same thing for movie literacy.
“Movies That Matter” is a 20-film free film series featuring masterpieces of world cinema. They will be presented at 1:30 p.m. on Sundays from September 2012 to May 2013 in the Truman Forum, a 220-seat auditorium in the basement level of the Plaza Branch Library at 4801 Main Street.
The movies range from silent comedies to hard-hitting dramas, samurai flicks, existential Swedish costume epics, Hollywood screwball hilarity, an MGM musical and the first-ever animated feature.
“Movies That Matter” was programmed by yours truly. I’ll also be doing five-minute illustrated introductions before each film and a recap after each screening.
I’ll admit up front that this is a very personal, subjective list of movies. These are films that, above all, matter to me. Mo matter how often I see them, they remain entertaining, thought provoking, deeply moving.
A few of them, I believe, have actually changed my life…or at least the way I look at life.
Great filmmakers – like great painters or poets or composers – use their art to share with us their perceptions of existence. When all the pieces come together (and in the complex and collaborative world of film it doesn’t happen all that often), the results can lift us out of ourselves and transport us to brave new worlds.
These movies matter precisely because of their ability to open up our eyes, our ears, our minds, and our emotions. Each has its own personality, and these personalities are as unique as those of our friends and family members.
Once you’ve met them, they don’t go away. They’re with you forever.
| Robert W. Butler
The greatness of Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” comes at the viewer from every direction.
Technically it is a masterpiece of inventive filmmaking, employing dramatic lighting and sound effects, seemingly impossible camera angles and movements, deep focus, and more special effects than any Hollywood picture up to that time.
Narratively “Kane” is a puzzle, depicting the life of a famous and powerful man through the often-contradictory memories of those who loved or despised him.
It offers Orson Welles – only 24 when he co-wrote, starred in, and directed the movie – in the performance of a lifetime, playing a character from the age of 25 to nearly 80.
And the story of the film’s creation – and its near destruction by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, whose career and private life inspired the character of Charles Foster Kane – is one of the great behind-the-scenes tales in all of Hollywood history.
THE GENERAL (USA: 1926) Sunday, September 16, 2012
Upon its release Buster Keaton’s “The General” was dismissed as a critical and commercial failure. (more…)