“Babette’s Feast” and “The Dead,”
acclaimed director John Huston’s last film, are among the
offerings in the spring 2014 edition of the Buffalo Film Seminars,
the popular, semester-long series of film screenings and
discussions hosted by UB faculty members Diane Christian and Bruce
Each session of the Buffalo Film Seminars (BFS) will begin at 7
p.m. on Tuesdays, beginning Jan. 28 and running through May 6, in
the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center, 639 Main St. in downtown
There is no screening on March 18 due to spring break.
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
438), an undergraduate course being taught by the pair. Students
enrolled in the course are admitted free; others may attend at the
Market Arcade’s regular admission prices of $9 for adults, $7
for students and $6.50 for seniors. Season tickets are available
any time at a 15 percent reduction for the cost of the remaining
Free parking is available in the M&T fenced lot opposite the
theater’s Washington Street entrance. The ticket clerk in the
theater will reimburse patrons the $3 parking fee.
“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 Market
Arcade lobby 45 minutes before each session.
The series will open on Jan. 28 with Josef von Sternberg’s
classic gangster film “Underworld.” Philip Carli will
accompany the movie on the electronic piano. The 1927 film, which
won an Academy Award for screenwriter Ben Hecht, presents the
romantic triangle between a boisterous gangster, his girlfriend and
the alcoholic lawyer the gangster helps rehabilitate.
The remainder of the BFS schedule, with descriptions culled from
the IMDb online movie database:
- Feb. 4: “Orpheus,” 1950, directed by Jean Cocteau.
Orphee is a poet who becomes obsessed with Death (the Princess).
They fall in love. Orphee’s wife, Eurydice, is killed by the
Princess’ henchmen and Orphee goes after her into the
Underworld. Although they have become dangerously entangled, the
Princess sends Orphee back out of the Underworld, to carry on his
life with Eurydice.
- Feb. 11: “The Life of Oharu,” 1952, directed by
Kenji Mizoguchi. The story of the daughter of a 17 century
- Feb. 18: “Charulata,” 1964, directed by Satyajit
Ray. The lonely wife of a newspaper editor in 1870s India falls in
love with her visiting brother-in-law, who shares her love for
- Feb. 25: “Dry Summer,” 1964, directed by Metin
Erksan. A Turkish tobacco farmer dams a river to irrigate his own
property and run his competitors.
- March 4: “Two-Lane Blacktop,” 1971, directed by
Monte Hellman. The story of two men drag racing across the country
in a ‘55 Chevy. Dennis Wilson is the mechanic; James Taylor
is the driver.
- March 11: “Killing of a Chinese Bookie,” 1976,
directed by John Cassavetes. A proud strip club owner must come to
terms with himself as a man when his gambling addiction gets him
into hot water with the mob.
- March 25: “Vagabond,” 1985, directed by Agnes
Varda. The film traces the final weeks of a young woman found
frozen in a ditch in the south of France.
- April 1: “Babette’s Feast,” 1987, directed by
Gabriel Axel. French refugee Babette is taken in by two sisters
living with their pastor father in an isolated 19 century Danish
village. After the father dies, Babette prepares the feast of a
lifetime to celebrate what would have been the father’s 100
birthday. Winner of the 1988 Academy Award for Best Foreign
- April 8: “Vanya on 42nd Street,” 1994, directed by
Louis Malle. New York actors rehearse Chekhov’s “Uncle
Vanya” in a rundown theater.
- April 15: “The Royal Tenenbaums,” 2001, directed by
Wes Anderson. An estranged family of former child prodigies
reunites when one of their members announces he has a terminal
illness. Stars Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Anjelica
- April 22: “The Three Burials of Melquiades
Estrada,” 2005, directed by Tommy Lee Jones. A ranch hand
looks to fulfill a promise to his recently deceased best friend by
burying him in his hometown in Mexico.
- April 29: “Elite Squad,” 2007, directed by
José Padilha. A police captain has to find someone to
replace him on the force while trying to take down drug dealers and
criminals before the pope comes to Rio de Janeiro.
- May 6: “The Dead,” 1987, directed by John Huston. A
husband and wife attend a Christmas dinner with friends at the home
of the husband’s spinster aunts, an evening that results in
an epiphany for both of them.
- For further information, visit the Buffalo Film