The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, March 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Smoke Signals (Miramax, 1998)
Native American directors are a rarity in Hollywood. After the early silent film pioneers James Young Deer and Edwin Carewe, the portrayal of Native Americans in cinema turned dark and stereotypical. These social trends started changing with motion pictures like the groundbreaking Smoke Signals, generally considered to be the first feature film written, directed and produced by Native Americans. Director Chris Eyre uses the relaxed road-movie concept to create a funny and unpretentious look at Native Americans in the nation’s cinema and culture. The mostly Native American cast features Adam Beach and Evan Adams as the two road warriors who find themselves on a hilarious adventure. Beneath the highly entertaining façade, the film acquainted non-Native American audiences with real insights into the indigenous Americans’ culture. Sherman Alexie penned the witty, droll script based his book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. This Miramax release was a hit on the independent film circuit and won numerous awards, including a Sundance Award. It was added to the National Film Registry in 2018. Rated PG-13. 35mm archival film print. 89 min.
Friday, March 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Best of the Kennedy Center Honors (1978-2014)
Renowned producer, director and writer George Stevens, Jr. will introduce a video compilation of memorable moments and performances curated from four decades of the Kennedy Center Honors broadcasts. The Kennedy Center Honors have been given annually since 1978 to performing artists for their lifetime contributions to American culture in the fields of music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures or television. Created by George Stevens Jr. and the late Nick Vanoff, the honorees are celebrated in a star-studded gala at the Kennedy Center Opera House that is broadcast on CBS during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. The programs feature short film biographies and leading artists pay tribute to the honorees. The Honors has won numerous awards including 10 Emmys for Outstanding Variety Special and the Peabody Award. The annual Honors gala is an evening without categories, without disappointments, and without competition. Mr. Stevens was producer and co-writer of the program through 2014. In 2017, he donated master elements for each broadcast to the Library of Congress and worked with the Library of Congress Video Preservation Lab to assemble this compilation of musical performances and presentations. Honorees include James Cagney, Led Zepplin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bette Davis, Billy Wilder, Loretta Lynn and Marian Anderson. Approximately 120 min.
Saturday, March 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Gigi (MGM, 1958)
Produced by Arthur Freed and directed by Vincente Minnelli, Gigi is a lush Technicolor musical from MGM that tells the story of a friendship between a playboy (Louis Jourdan) and a young girl (Leslie Caron) that turns to love. Gigi is based on a 1944 novella by Colette and received a treatment on Broadway in 1951. But it was Arthur Freed who envisioned the story as a film musical and ultimately fought to get it made. French actress and dancer Leslie Caron was cast in the title role, with Maurice Chevalier as Honoré Lachaille, a role that was expanded in the film version and helped revitalize Chevalier’s career. Gigi won numerous industry awards, including a total of nine Oscars, a record at the time, and is often considered to be one of MGM’s best musicals. It was added to the National Film Registry in 1991. 35mm archival film print. 115 min.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.