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Film series moves to Amherst Theatre


Published August 21, 2014

“We’re happy that our friends at Dipson’s Amherst Theatre have offered us a new home. We hope to see you at the movies in the fall.”
Bruce Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture
Department of English

The Buffalo Film Seminars will open its 29th season in a new home.

The popular, semester-long series of film screenings and discussions hosted by UB faculty members Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson will move from the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center in downtown Buffalo — where it has been for the past 15 years — to the Dipson Amherst Theatre, across Main Street from the South Campus.

The series is moving, says Jackson, because Buffalo City Hall has put the building on the market and has blocked attempts by the Buffalo Common Council to buy the digital projectors the theater needs to show current films.

“We hate abandoning downtown. We wish City Hall gave a hoot for the arts — but it doesn’t, so we’re moving,” says Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture in the Department of English. “We’ve loved doing this series in the heart of town, and we wish City Hall wanted to keep us, the UB students who come downtown for the screenings (many of them for the first time in the heart of the city) and the hundreds of community folks who join us week after week to talk about great movies. But they don’t,” he says.

“If the new owners of the Market Arcade, whoever they turn out to be, create an environment in which it seems viable for us to move back downtown, we’ll be happy to do that. But as of now, City Hall has driven the Buffalo Film Seminars out of town. We’re happy that our friends at Dipson’s Amherst Theatre have offered us a new home. We hope to see you at the movies in the fall.”

He adds that the Amherst “has lots of free parking, handicapped parking close to the theater, the same popcorn, and is on the city metro and UB bus circuit.”

Each session of the series will begin at 7 p.m., beginning Aug. 26 and running through Dec. 2, at the Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St. in the University Plaza. Jackson and Christian, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of English, will introduce each film. Following a short break at the end of each film, they will lead a discussion of the film. The screenings are part of “Film Directors” (Eng 438), an undergraduate course being taught by the pair. Students enrolled in the course are admitted free; others may attend at the theater’s regular admission prices of $9.50 for adults, $7.50 for students and $7 for seniors. Season tickets are available any time at a 15 percent reduction for the cost of the remaining films.

“Goldenrod handouts” — four-to-eight-page notes on each film — will be posted on the seminar’s website the day before each screening and will be available in the theater lobby 45 minutes before each session.

The series will open on Aug. 26 with a screening of “Broken Blossoms,” the 1919 silent film directed by D.W. Griffith, considered among the most important figures in the history of cinema. Philip Carli will accompany the film on the piano. In the film, Lillian Gish plays a young girl, abused by her prizefighter father, who is befriended by a kind-hearted Chinese immigrant, with tragic consequences.

Sept. 2: “M,” 1931, directed by Fritz Lang. When police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join the manhunt.

Sept. 9: “Things to Come,” 1936, directed by William Cameron Menzies. A British science fiction film that is based on the novel by H.G. Wells that sets out a future history from 1940 to 2036.

Sept.16: “Red River,” 1948, directed by Howard Hawks. A Western that gives a fictional account of the first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas along the Chisolm Trail.

Sept. 23: “Pickpocket,” 1959, directed by Robert Bresson. A young man is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

Sept. 30: “Viridiana,” 1961, directed by Luis Buñuel. A young nun who is about to take her final vows pays a visit to her widowed uncle at the request of her Mother Superior.

Oct. 7: “Cleo from 5 to 7,” 1962, directed by Agnès Varda. A French singer, who is afraid of getting the result of a test from her doctor, believes that she has cancer and will die of the disease.

Oct. 14: “Red Beard,” 1965, directed by Akira Kurosawa. In 19th century Japan, a rough tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern.

Oct. 21: “Performance,” 1970, directed by Nicolas Roeg. A violent and psychotic East London gangster needs a place to lie low after a hit that should never have been carried out.

Oct. 28: “The Spirit of the Beehive,” 1973, directed by Víctor Erice. A sensitive seven-year-old girl living a small village in 1940 rural Spain is traumatized after viewing James Whale's "Frankenstein" and drifts into her own fantasy world.

Nov. 4: “Tess,” 1979, directed by Roman Polanski. A strong-willed, shy and innocent young peasant girl becomes the object of two men’s affection.

Nov. 11: “Tootsie,” 1982, directed by Sydney Pollack. An unemployed actor with a reputation for being difficult disguises himself as a woman to get a role in a soap opera.

Nov. 18: “Fargo,” 1996, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. A man’s inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of a pregnant police officer.

Nov. 25: “Insomnia,” 1997, directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg. A Swedish homicide detective is dispatched to a Norwegian town where the sun doesn't set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

Dec. 2: “Charlie Wilson’s War,” 2007, directed by Mike Nichols. A drama based on a Texas congressman’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

For further information, visit the Buffalo Film Seminars’ web site.