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Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (April 23-25, 2015)

My stint as guest programmer continues with a film made in my hometown of Baton Rouge, my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie, and a rather jaundiced view of professional football.

Thursday, April 23 (7:30 pm)
sex, lies, and videotape (Miramax, 1989, *R-rated)
It’s a matter of conjecture to pinpoint the beginnings of the American independent film movement, but sex, lies, and videotape has as good a claim as you’re likely to find. First time director-writer Steven Soderbergh’s mesmerizing tale of sexual frustration and release was a surprising sensation, winning the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Audience Award at Sundance. Its influence on American cinema–then emerging from a rather tepid 1980s–was outsized, and it was named to the National Film Registry in 2006.

I was initially intrigued by sex,lies, and videotape not only because of the astonishing amount of press it received in the wake of its festival triumphs, but more parochially because it was filmed in Baton Rouge, where Soderbergh’s father was a professor at my alma mater Louisiana State University. So while I don’t recall that Baton Rouge is ever specifically named, to natives it’s unmistakeable. I’m especially fond of the scenes set in The Bayou, a wonderful dive right off campus on Chimes Street, where Laura San Giacomo tends bar and where I spent a regrettable (in hindsight) amount of time my first few semesters.
* No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.

Notorious (RKO, 1946)

Friday, April 24 (7:30 pm)
Notorious (RKO, 1946)
Alfred Hitchcock–renowned for his meticulous pre-planning and storyboarding practices–once claimed that the most boring part of filmmaking was actually shooting the film. Perhaps more than any other director, he understood the grammar of film, the multitude of ways in which visual imagery and their juxtaposition via editing impacts the viewer experience (another great Hitchcock quote: “If it’s a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on”). Notorious, an exquisitely plotted tale of intrigue and romance, is a case in point. And the cast–Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains–isn’t too shabby either.

 

 

 

North Dallas Forty (Paramount, 1979)

Saturday, April 25 (7:30 pm)
North Dallas Forty (Paramount, 1979, *R-rated)
Based on former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Peter Gent’s semi-autobiographical novel, North Dallas Forty is a riotously grim, serio-comic satire of professional football, making the National Football League seem less a sports concern and more a delivery vehicle for sex and drugs…especially drugs. Still, few films have so convincingly portrayed the profit-driven and soul-destroying side of professional sports as this film. Nick Nolte stars as the bedraggled wide receiver trying to coax his pain-wracked body through one more season, while singer-songwriter Mac Davis is a revelation–yes, he’s that good–as the hard partying quarterback.
* No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.

For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.

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