Campus News

Rare screening of ‘Pinocchio’ to open film series

Trailer image from 1940 animated Disney classic, "Pinocchio.".

The Disney animated classic "Pinocchio" will open this fall's edition of the Buffalo Film Seminars.


Published August 14, 2019

A rare screening of the 1940 animated Disney classic “Pinocchio” will open the fall 2019 edition of the Buffalo Film Seminars.

The popular, semester-long series of film screenings and discussions is hosted by UB faculty members Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson. Each session begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, beginning Aug. 27 and running through Dec. 3, in the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St. in the University Plaza, directly across the street from the South Campus.

Christian, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of English, and Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture 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 381), 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, $8 for students and $7.25 for seniors. Season tickets are available any time at a 15-percent reduction for the cost of the remaining films.

“Goldenrod handouts” — featuring production details, anecdotes and critical comments about each week’s film — are available in the theater lobby 45 minutes before each session. The handouts also are posted online one day before the screening.

The series opens on Aug. 27 with “Pinocchio,” the story of a living puppet who — with the help of a cricket as his conscience — must prove himself worthy of becoming a real boy. The film is considered by many to be one of Disney’s finest features and one of the greatest animated films of all time. It won Oscars for “Best Music, Original Song” for “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “Best Music, Original Score.”

Jackson noted that he and Christian are particularly delighted to be screening “Pinocchio” as part of the series. “Disney films are particularly hard to rent,” he told UBNow, “particularly since they started their own streaming channel. We got permission only because the primary use is for our UB class.”

The remainder of the schedule, with descriptions culled from IMDb and other sources:

Movie poster for “Metropolis,” 1927, directed by Fritz Lang.
  • Sept. 3: “Metropolis,” 1927, directed by Fritz Lang. Set in a futuristic urban dystopia, “Metropolis” follows the attempts of Freder, the wealthy son of the city master, and Maria, a saintly figure to the workers, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes in their city and bring the workers together with the city master. This silent film is regarded as a pioneering science fiction movie, among the first feature-length movies of that genre.
  • Sept. 10: “Unfaithfully Yours,” 1948, directed by Preston Sturges. This screwball comedy tells the story of a man’s failed attempt to murder his wife, who he believes has been unfaithful to him.
Movie poster for “The Asphalt Jungle,” 1950, directed by John Huston.
  • Sept. 17: “The Asphalt Jungle,” 1950, directed by John Huston. A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.
  • Sept. 24: “Umberto D.,” 1952, directed by Vittorio De Sica. An elderly man and his dog struggle to survive on his government pension in Rome.
  • Oct. 1: “The Night of the Hunter,” 1955, directed by Charles Laughton. A corrupt minister-turned-serial killer attempts to charm an unsuspecting widow and steal $10,000 hidden by her executed husband.
Scene from “Harakiri,” 1962, directed by Masaki Kobayashi.
  • Oct. 8: “Harakiri,” 1962, directed by Masaki Kobayashi. An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord’s home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him, things take an unexpected turn.
  • Oct. 15: “Don’t Look Now,” 1973. Directed by Nicholas Roeg. A married couple grieving the recent death of their young daughter are in Venice when they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom is psychic and brings a warning from beyond.
Movie poster for “Blazing Saddles,” 1974, directed by Mel Brooks.
  • Oct. 22: “Blazing Saddles,” 1974, directed by Mel Brooks. In order to ruin a western town, a corrupt politician appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary. The satirical comedy-western is ranked sixth on the American Film Institute’s “100 Years … 100 Laughs” list.
  • Oct. 29: “The Ascent,” 1977, directed by Larisa Shepitko. During World War II, two peasant soldiers, cut off from their troop, trudge through the snowy backwoods of Belarus seeking refuge among villagers. Their harrowing trek leads them on a journey of betrayal, heroism, and ultimate transcendence. Considered by many to be the finest Soviet film of its decade.
Scene from “Au Revoir les Enfants,” 1987, directed by Louis Malle.
  • Nov. 5: “Au Revoir les Enfants,” 1987, directed by Louis Malle. A French boarding school run by priests seems to be a haven from World War II until a new student arrives. He becomes the roommate of the top student in his class. Rivals at first, the roommates form a bond and share a secret.
  • Nov. 12: “To Sleep With Anger,” 1990, directed by Charles Burnett. A charismatic old acquaintance drifts into town, stirring up trouble for a mild-mannered family.
Movie poster for “Hoop Dreams,” 1994, directed by Steve James.
  • Nov. 19: “Hoop Dreams,” 1994, directed by Steve James. The documentary follows the story of two African-American high school students in Chicago and their dream of becoming professional basketball players.
  • Nov. 26: “Roma,” 2018, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. A year in the life of a live-in housekeeper of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s. The film was the first Mexican entry to win an Academy Award for best foreign language film, and also picked up Oscars for best director and best cinematography.
  • Dec. 3: “Moulin Rouge,” 2001, directed by Baz Lurhmann. A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.

For more information about the series, visit the Buffalo Film Seminars’ website.