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DIRECTOR RETROSPECTIVE ~ THE GREAT HAL ASHBY

All screenings take place in the Wilkinson Public Library Program Room at 6PM. Snacks included, FREE TO ALL.

For more information, please contact erika@telluridefilmfestival.org.

Monday, November 12, 2018

HAL

HAL (2018, 90 minutes)

Having screened in 2018 at the 45th Telluride Film Festival, we are pleased to announce an encore presentation of this masterful documentary about the great director Hal Ashby.  “In one nine-year span, Hal Ashby conceptualized, helped write, directed and edited the deepest filmography of the 1970s. His seven films, including HAROLD AND MAUDE, COMING HOME and BEING THERE, each demonstrate a soulfulness, emotional sophistication, social awareness and sense of humor. Amy Scott explores Ashby’s glorious explosion of creative expression, investigating his tragic youth, his indoctrination into cinema (he won an Oscar for editing IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT), his on-set egalitarianism (even a production assistant might have a good idea) and his remarkable strength of will, which allowed him to fight for control with studio heads and win … until he didn’t. Filled with fantastic clips and heartfelt interviews, this is an essential addition to our film history.” – Jason Silverman, Telluride Film Festival



Monday, December 3, 2018

LANDLORD

 

• THE LANDLORD (1970, 112 minutes, Rated R)

A Hal Ashby great, and his first foray into his burgeoning role as Director (formerly an editor), The Landlord revolutionized the way racism was portrayed in American cinema:  with honesty.  “Instead of staying on that safe, predictable level, it begins to dig into the awkwardness and hypocrisy of our commonly shared attitudes about race,” wrote Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times.  Elger Winthrop Enders (Beau Bridges) is a rich society kid approaching his 30th birthday.  He decides it is time to move away from his parents’ home and purchases a tenement house in a Brooklyn ghetto because (as he says while relaxing beside the family pool), “everyone wants a home of his own, you know.”  Upon its 1970 release, The New York Times called the film, “a wondrously wise, sad and hilarious comedy.”  In another article published by The NY Times 37 years later, journalist Mike Hale wrote an article called “Before Gentrification Was Cool, It Was a Movie.” He praised the film for tackling racial tension head on and wrote in surprise how the film, “…would disappear after its 1970 release – rarely shown and just as rarely discussed.” (Wikipedia)  One of Ashby’s most important works. With Beau Bridges, Louis Gossett, Jr., Pearl Bailey, Lee Grant and Diana Sands.



Monday, January 7, 2019

 

• HAROLD AND MAUDE (1971, 91 minutes, Rated PG)

“Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude, about the love between a suicidal young man of about twenty and an almost eighty-year-old widow, is timeless in part because it never quite belonged to its own time. Conceived in the late 1960s, at the height of the counterculture, it was released in 1971, when the political narrative of peaceful rebels versus the jackbooted establishment had lost what little mainstream appeal it had briefly enjoyed. In the popular imagination, the March on Washington and the Summer of Love had been displaced by Woodstock, Altamont, Kent State, and a string of assassinations and riots. Richard Nixon had ridden into office in 1968 on a wave of law-and-order sentiment and was about to cakewalk into a second term (and unprecedented shame). The counterculture was in retreat…But the movement’s ideals lived on, in a disguised and ultimately more daring form, in Harold and Maude, which took values that had been expressed by youthful rebels and dropouts in the late 1960s—peace, love, understanding, distrust of authority, a determination to march to the beat of a different drummer—and put them in the mouth of an old woman embroiled in one of the oddest and most original love stories ever filmed.” – The Criterion Collection



Monday, February 4, 2019

BEING THERE

 

• BEING THERE (1979, 130 minutes, Rated PG)

Academy Award-winning film Being There made Roger Ebert’s list of “Great Movies.”  Ebert wrote, “There’s an exhilaration in seeing artists at the very top of their form: It almost doesn’t matter what the art form is, if they’re pushing their limits and going for broke and it’s working. We can sense their joy of achievement – and even more so if the project in question is a risky, off-the-wall idea that could just as easily have ended disastrously.  Hal Ashby’s Being There is a movie that inspires those feelings.”  Based on the novel by Jerzy Kosiński, the film follows the middle-aged and simple-minded Chance (the great Peter Sellers) who lives in the townhouse of an old, wealthy man in Washington, D.C., where he spent his entire life gardening and watching television and has never left the property.  After a chance encounter with Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), wealthy wife of a D.C business mogul and an unexpected turn of events, this simple, humble man finds himself advising the President of the United States, attending important dinners and consorting with the Soviet ambassador. The New York Times wrote, “Hal Ashby directs Being There at an unruffled, elegant pace, the better to let Mr. Sellers’s double-edged mannerisms make their full impression upon the audience. Mr. Sellers never strikes a false note.”


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