Directed by Michael Curtiz – at the AFI Silver

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This past weekend, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland launched a series called Directed by Michael Curtiz, running March 17-25. Alan K. Rode, author of Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film, was on hand to introduce The Breaking Point, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Wolf, and to participate in a panel discussion with Meredith Hindley (Destination Casablanca) and Noah Isenberg (We’ll Always Have Casablanca) on Casablanca. I was able to attend yesterday’s screening of The Sea Wolf, a film I saw and reviewed back in January.

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Phantom Thread (2017) Paul Thomas Anderson

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Phantom Thread (2017)
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Produced by Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison, JoAnne Sellar, Daniel Lupi
Cinematography by Paul Thomas Anderson (uncredited)
Costume design by Mark Bridges
Music by Jonny Greenwood
Edited by Dylan Tichenor
Focus Features, Universal Pictures
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center (2:10)

“Whatever you do, do it carefully.”

The same admonishment could’ve been used by Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) to one of his assistant dressmakers, or by his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) to one of her underlings, or by anyone in a position of authority over someone beneath that authority. I’m reminded of John 13:27 when Jesus spoke to Judas, “What you are going to do, do quickly,” knowing that Judas was going to betray him. It’s not quite the same as what Alma (Vicky Krieps) tells Reynolds early in the film, but the thought flashed through my mind while watching Phantom Thread: Who really holds the position of authority in this relationship?

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Noir City DC 2017: Alain Delon Double Feature

Film Noir Foundation President Eddie Muller congratulated Todd Hitchcock, the AFI Silver’s Director of Programming, for finding a 35mm print of a film Muller wanted to show at Noir City 15 back in January, Any Number Can Win (Mélodie en sous-sol), the second film in Saturday’s Alain Delon double feature. Muller treated us to a Walter Matthau double feature on Friday, so here’s an Alain Delon double feature, which caused Muller to joke, “Walter Matthau, Alain Delon… They’re like brothers, right?”

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Noir City DC 2017: Walter Matthau Double Feature

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I ask you, how many times in your life have you ever read or heard the words “Walter Matthau Double Feature”? You can’t exactly envision people lining up and down the block for such a double bill, but I’d say the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center brought in well over 100 people for both The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) and Charley Varrick (1973) last night.

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Gaslight (1944) and Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Gaslight (1944) George Cukor
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center

It was a great pleasure not only to see a wonderful film like Gaslight (1944) at the AFI Silver, but also to hear a panel discussion afterward on an important topic: domestic violence in general and “gaslighting” in particular. If “gaslighting” is an unfamiliar term, it is “a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.” (Oxford Dictionary)

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