We’d like to begin by acknowledging what members of the Wesleyan Film Community have already dubbed the “Dheepan Disaster.” We in the audience were just as flabbergasted as you to learn that the lack of subtitles in the movie’s first 20 minutes was not so much an artistic decision as a technical difficulty.
This misstep brings to our minds the other Film Series Fiascos that have shaken the foundations of the Goldsmith. Who could forget the “Manila Mixup,” wherein, after we wired cash across the Atlantic, our Italian contact gifted us a faulty Digital Cinema Package of “Manila in the Claws of Light.” When the film refused to start, impassioned Brocka fans remained up in arms for weeks until we were able to reschedule the film for a later date. Our spines still tingle when we think back on the “Cabiria Calamity,” when a decade-old DVD of Fellini’s treasured “Nights of Cabiria” sputtered out midway through the film, prompting a sit-in until everyone’s favorite Big Red Bird, the Cardinal itself, was enlisted to help clear the theater before returning to its back-row roost.
These unsavory experiences are exceptions to the rule, as members of the Film Series Event Staff work tirelessly to ensure that, even when harsh winds rise, they’re able to keep the S.S. Goldsmith afloat. People still talk about the valiant actions taken to prevent the “Wild Tales Terror,” when quick thinking by the projectionist prompted a hard reset of the DCP after it was projected at the wrong aspect ratio. We break into sweats thinking back to the “Philadelphia Phire,” when the fragile celluloid foundation of Cukor’s classic “The Philadelphia Story” combusted in media res. Rather than abandoning ship, the projectionist remained in the booth with the melting media, making the difficult decision to move on to the next reel as the audience sat on the edge of their seats, struggling to erase the image of Jimmy Stewart’s melting mug from their minds.
These are only a few of the Film Series Fiascos that continue to test the resolve of our trusty staff and theater (anyone remember the “Hard Day’s Fright”?). And yet, we continue to program 96 movies every year, willing to weather storms like these for the love of the art.
We’ve done our homework writing this column. Now it’s time for you to do yours.
Wednesday, September 14. 8pm. Free.
Coppola’s bombastic reimagining of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” relocates the story to Cambodia in the early 1970s, where Cpt. Ben Willard (Sheen) is sent to neutralize the rogue Colonel Kurtz (Brando, hiding in the shadows). Produced by a cast and crew that was itself on the brink of collapse for much of the film’s shoot. “Apocalypse Now” presents a hallucinatory portrait of the Vietnam War.
“My Beautiful Laundrette”
Thursday, September 15. 8pm. Free.
In the face of homophobia, Thatcherism, and interracial taboos, Omar and Johnny endeavor to keep their launderette beautiful. Frears rattles the era’s socioeconomic paradigms with deeply felt drama and trenchant social satire, crafting an indispensable work of British indy cinema.
USA. Dir. Tommy Wiseau. With Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero. 99 min.
Friday, September 16. 8pm. $5.
Tommy Wiseau directs, writes, and stars as good-hearted banker Johnny, whose life unravels as he comes to suspect that his fiancé Lisa is having an affair with his best friend Mark. Boasting an overbearing score, poorly dubbed audio, a dizzying collection of side plots, mediocre green-screen effects, an inordinate number of establishing shots of San Francisco, and lackluster performances further stilted by an inane script, Wiseau’s debut feature was quickly embraced as a cult classic of the cinema of the inept.
Saturday, September 17. 8pm. Free.
The hard-up Broadway director, the buoyant newcomer, the doting financier….The gang’s all here in this—perhaps the—definitive Depression-era backstage musical. Bolstered by some of choreography virtuoso Busby Berkeley’s downright peachiest numbers, the film’s sardonic wit and rollicking tunes will have you shuffling right off to Buffalo.