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Nazi propaganda film among offerings in fall Buffalo Film Seminars

"Triumph of the Will," Leni Riefenstahl's infamous Nazi propaganda film, will be screened on Sept. 12.

By SUE WUETCHER

Published August 2, 2017

The infamous Nazi propaganda film “Triumph of the Will” and the Watergate saga “All the President’s Men” are among the films being screened in the fall 2017 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. 29 and running through Dec. 5, in the 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.

"Sunrise"

The series opens on Aug. 29 with the 1927 silent film “Sunrise,” directed by F.W. Murnau. An allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him, the film is considered by many to be the greatest film of the silent era.

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

“Little Caesar”

  • Sept. 5: “Little Caesar,” 1930, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. A small-time criminal moves to a big city to seek bigger fortune. It is often called the grandfather of the modern crime film. Stars Edward G. Robinson and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
  • Sept. 12: “Triumph of the Will,” 1935, directed by Leni Riefenstahl. The legendary propaganda/documentary chronicles the Third Reich’s 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg. The film features a cast of hundreds of thousands, as well as, of course, Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Hess, Goering and other top party officials.
  • Sept. 19: “Rocco and His Brothers,” 1960, directed by Luchino Visconti. Rocco and his four brothers move to Milan, each looking for a new way in life, until a prostitute comes between Rocco and one of his brothers.

“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”

  • Sept. 26: “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” 1964, directed by Jacques Demy. Catherine Deneuve stars as a young woman, separated from her lover by war, who faces a life-altering decision.
  • Oct. 3: “M*A*S*H,” 1970, directed by Robert Altman. The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war. Stars Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye, Elliott Gould as Trapper John and Sally Kellerman as “Hot Lips” Houlihan.

Dustin Hoffman, left, and Robert Redford in “All The President’s Men”

  • Oct. 10: “All The President’s Men,” 1976, directed by Alan J. Pakula. Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. Stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein.

“Nostalghia”

  • Oct. 17: “Nostalghia,” 1983, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Russian poet Andrei Gorchakov, accompanied by guide and translator Eugenia, is traveling through Italy researching the life of an 18th-century Russian composer. He meets the lunatic Domenico, who years earlier had imprisoned his own family in his house for seven years to save them from the evils of the world. Gorchakov becomes drawn to Domenico and in a series of dreams, the poet's nostalgia for his homeland and his longing for his wife, his ambivalent feelings for Eugenia and Italy, and his sense of kinship with Domenico become intertwined.

“Wings of Desire”

  • Oct. 24: “Wings of Desire,” 1987, directed by Wim Wenders. An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.
  • Oct. 31: “Postcards from the Edge,” 1990, directed by Mike Nichols. A substance-addicted actress tries to look on the bright side even as she is forced to move back in with her mother to avoid unemployment. From the book by Carrie Fisher, who also wrote the screenplay.
  • Nov. 7: “The Scent of Green Papaya,” 1993, directed by Tran Anh Hung. A young girl is sent to work as a servant in a home in which the mother, still mourning the death of her daughter, treats the girl as her daughter. Ten year later, the girl — now a young woman — goes to work in the home of a musician, who falls in love with her and becomes her husband.

“The Wind Rises”

  • Nov. 14: “The Wind Rises,” 2013, directed by Hayeo Miyazaki. A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.

“Leviathan”

  • Nov. 21: “Leviathan,” 2014, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house in a Russian coastal town will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man’s arrival brings more trouble for Kolya and his family.
  • Nov. 28: “Julieta,” 2016, directed by Pedro Almodóvar. After a casual encounter, a brokenhearted woman decides to confront her life and the most important events regarding her estranged daughter.

From left: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in “Some Like it Hot”

  • Dec. 5: “Some Like it Hot,” 1959, directed by Billy Wilder. When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they get out of town disguised as women in an all-female band. Complications arise as they try to keep their true identities a secret and the mobsters show up. Stars Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe.

For more information about the series, visit the BFS website.