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CAT PEOPLE (1942, USA, 73 min., 16mm) Jacques Tourneur / Producer: Val Lewton THE LEOPARD MAN (1943, USA, 66 min., 35mm) Jacques Tourneur / Producer: Val Lewton In the 1940s, writer-producer Val Lewton oversaw a series of darkly poetic low-budget horror films at RKO studios that have come to be appreciated for their shadowy aesthetic and psychological themes, rather than the visible monstrosities produced by Universal, such as The Wolf Man (1941). After what is perceived as the classic period of the 1930s, with such film as Frankenstein and Dracula (both from 1931), much of the output of 1940s American horror has been disparaged in scholarship and by critics as degenerating into parodies and multiple-monster films dubbed “monster rallies.” However, the films produced by Lewton, who was called the “man in the shadows,” were given elevated status as “terror” films based on their emphasis on dread and the unseen over the supposedly more upfront and visceral “horror” aesthetic. The Lewton productions have come to be understood as the “sophisticated” side of the 1940s horror. The term Lewtonesque has come to be used to describe the eponymous genre named after his cherished oeuvre. The two films presented, Cat People (1942) and The Leopard Man (1943), both directed by Jacques Tourneur, have often been discussed by critics in terms of their astonishingly beautiful chiaroscuro visuals. However, I will discuss the films’ sound design by the unknown and uncredited James G. Stewart, who came to RKO in the late-1920s and became one of the most important sound innovators in Hollywood, working with Orson Welles on both Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). The Lewton/Tourneur/Stewart collaboration can be credited with creating one of the first jump scares in the history of the horror film. And while sound continues to be relegated to a level below visuals in mainstream cinema theory and journalism, any horror fan would agree that sound design is central to the experience of the horror film. Sound design is part of the spectacle of horror, the genre’s attractions, and central to all the films Val Lewton produced in the “snake pit” (the basement) of RKO. The shadowy aesthetic of the Lewtonesque is a feast both visual and aural. Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare Guest speaker : Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare teaches courses in genre cinema, grotesque traditions, cinematic embodiment, and monster ethics in the Humanities department at John Abbott College in Montréal. He has recently published articles on the Grand-Guignol and cinema in the journal Horror Studies (5.1), and in the book, Recovering 1940s Horror Cinema: Traces of a Lost Decade (2015), for which he is a co-editor. He also has an article on Jean Rollin in the book, Global Fear: International Horror Directors (Intellect, 2016), on Joe D’Amato in Intensities, 2017, and on Lucio Fulci in Monstrum (2018). Also, he has a chapter on the episode “The Body” (S5E16) in an anthology entitled Joss Whedon vs. the Horror Tradition: The Production of Genre in Buffy and Beyond (2019). Billets / Tickets: 8$, 6$ (Étudiants / Students, 65+), sur place seulement, argent comptant / At the doors, cash only
(1927 USA, 94 min., 16mm, English intertitles) F.W. Murnau Winner of the first ever Oscar for Best Picture, Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans remains one of the finest love stories ever told. In both direction and visual effects it brought the art form to a higher level and was made right before The Jazz Singer, the first film that could talk. Over the years, academics and critics have come to realize that Sunrise was just as transformative as The Jazz Singer, pioneering ideas of space, illusion and superimposition that continue to be used today. There will always be viewers who stubbornly say, “That’s a silent movie. I have no desire to watch it.” But they’re missing out. Sunrise is without a doubt one of the finest movie experiences ever. And there’s no better way to view this beautiful masterpiece of the silent era than on the big screen in a stunning old gothic church with live musicians on piano, organ, string and wind instruments. Our previous screenings there have been hugely popular so please arrive early whether you buy your tickets in advance or at the door. (General admission. Doors open at 6:30pm) W.P. United Church, 4695 de Maisonneuve O. (Vendôme metro) $16, $11(students, 65+) at the door (cash only) or on-line: www.lavitrine.com from April 1st. Snacks, popcorn and drinks will be available.
(1964, United Kingdom/USA, 102 min., 35mm) Blake Edwards From its colourfully animated hilarious opening credits by George Dunning of YELLOW SUBMARINE fame, the viewer is drawn into this screwball comedy, arguably the best in the long-running series of films featuring the character of Inspector Clouseau of the French Sûreté. And no one has rendered him better, by far, than Peter Sellers, a master of characterization and comic timing. His interactions with the environment he is in, not to mention his personal relationships, create one of the greatest comic dynamics in history. The film also introduces Herbert Lom as his long-suffering boss, Commissioner Dreyfus, and Burt Kwouk as his stalwart servant Cato, both of whom would become series regulars. Clouseau’s female accomplice throughout the film (Elke Sommer) is not only the sex icon, but is always ominous as to whether she will become something of a Femme Fatale, acting as what could be considered as a catalyst for Sellers’ humour. She also keeps the identity of the murderer ambiguous which leads the audience to actively speculate who it is. Laugh out loud funny, it was directed by comedy wizard Blake Edwards, who co-scripted with William Peter Blatty of EXORCIST fame (?!) Peter Bogdanovich, the filmmaker (LAST PICTURE SHOW), critic and essayist came up with an interesting theory about comic cinema after much research: ‘‘… it takes at least 100 people to get a decent laugh in a movie — smaller audiences are just not given to letting go’’ Why not test that out with us in a real movie theatre with a restored version 35mm print? And just for you, there’s an added treat from our archives; a 35mm print of a Pink Panther cartoon that was screened regularly in the 1970s at a Drive-In just south of the border in upstate New York. Please drop in for a night of fun! Billets / Tickets: 8$, 6$ (Étudiants / Students, 65+), sur place seulement, argent comptant / At the doors, cash only
(120 min., 16mm + 35mm) Various directors Amongst the 5000 reels of film to be found in the CFS archives are hundreds of animated films spanning a century and originating from many nations. From Lotte Reiniger to Chuck Jones. From Walt Disney to Jiri Trinka. From the era of pencils to the era of pixels. In an age of having too much choice, it’s nice to simply allow someone else to decide what’s on the menu for a change especially if it includes some nice surprises that would never have popped up in your on-line algorithm-based universe. With that in mind, rest assured that we have selected the best of the best to entertain you (and frankly, blow your mind) Presented mostly on 16mm and 35mm formats, much of it can’t even be found on-line and some are the only prints to be found anywhere. Because the program is so packed with diverse talent and is our last screening of the season, it truly is a celebration! Billets / Tickets: 8$, 6$ (Étudiants / Students, 65+), sur place seulement, argent comptant / At the doors, cash only