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Belcourt - Nashville's Nonprofit Cinema

Living Room Film Club: Hitchcock Scholar Christina Lane

Join the Belcourt Theatre and Nashville Scene for the Living Room Film Club, where we gather from our homes to discuss films with special guest speakers. Living Room Film Club focuses on films from a variety of sources, including the Criterion Channel, other streaming platforms and new releases found on the Belcourt website.


Thu, Dec 10 at 7:00pm CST:
Join the Belcourt and the Nashville Scene for a free discussion with Christina Lane, author of Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock, moderated by Nashville Scene contributing writer Sadaf Ahsan.

In conjunction with our Living Room Film Club talk featuring Hitchcock scholar Christina Lane, Hitchcock’s SHADOW OF A DOUBT screens at the Belcourt on Wed, Dec 2, 5:20pm and 8:20pm.

Call-in information will be sent to you on the day of the event.

About the speaker:
Christina Lane is the author of several books, including Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock; Feminist Hollywood: From Born in Flames to Point Break and Magnolia; as well as articles on classical Hollywood stars, film history, and contemporary women directors. An associate professor of film studies and chair of the cinematic arts department at the University of Miami, she makes frequent speaking appearances and has provided commentary to such media outlets as NPR, the AirMail, and the Daily Mail.

About the book (Available now at Parnassus Books):
In 1933, Joan Harrison was a 26-year-old former salesgirl with a dream of escaping both her stodgy London suburb and the dreadful prospect of settling down with one of the local boys. A few short years later, she was Alfred Hitchcock's confidante and one of the Oscar-nominated screenwriters of his first American film, REBECCA. Harrison had quickly grown from being the worst secretary Hitchcock ever had to one of his closest collaborators, critically shaping his brand as the "Master of Suspense."

Forging her own public persona as the female Hitchcock, Harrison went on to produce numerous Hollywood features before becoming a television pioneer as the producer of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. A respected powerhouse, she acquired a singular reputation for running amazingly smooth productions — and defying anyone who posed an obstacle. She built most of her films and series from the ground up. She waged rough-and-tumble battles against executives and censors, and even helped to break the Hollywood blacklist. She teamed up with many of the most respected, well-known directors, writers, and actors of the 20th century. And she did it all on her own terms.

Author Christina Lane shows how this stylish, stunning woman became Hollywood's most powerful female writer-producer — one whom history has since overlooked.


PAST LIVING ROOM FILM CLUB DISCUSSIONS

Wed, Apr 1 at 8:00pm
The first film we’ll discuss is Abbas Kiarostami’s CERTIFIED COPY from Criterion’s “Starring Juliette Binoche” collection. Join us at 8pm for a conversation with Jennifer Fay, director of Cinema and Media Arts at Vanderbilt University, and Sadaf Ahsan, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene.

CERTIFIED COPY
Dir. Abbas Kiarostami | Iran/France/Italy/Belgium | 2010 | 106 min. | NR
In French, English, and Italian with English subtitles

The great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami travels to Tuscany for a luminous and provocative romance in which nothing is as it appears. What seems at first to be a straightforward tale of two people—played by Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche and opera singer William Shimell—getting to know each other over the course of an afternoon gradually reveals itself as something richer, stranger, and trickier: a mind-bending reflection on authenticity, in art as well as in relationships. Both cerebrally and emotionally engaging, CERTIFIED COPY reminds us that love itself is an enigma.


Wed, Apr 8 at 8:00pm:
Join us at 8pm to discuss Samuel Fuller’s THE STEEL HELMET with guest speaker Frank Dobson, associate dean of the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt University, and Nathan Smith, contributing film writer for the Nashville Scene.

THE STEEL HELMET
Dir. Samuel Fuller | USA | 1951 | 85 min. | NR
In English and Korean with English subtitles

THE STEEL HELMET marked Samuel Fuller's official arrival as a mighty cinematic force. Despite its relatively low budget, this portrait of Korean War soldiers dealing with moral and racial identity crises remains one of the director's most gripping, realistic depictions of the blood and guts of war—as well as a reflection of Fuller's irreducible social conscience. The film’s comments on domestic and war crimes (American bigotry, the Japanese-American WWII internment camps) were so controversial that Fuller was the target of an FBI investigation.


Wed, Apr 15 at 8:00pm:
Join us at 8pm to discuss Elaine May’s MIKEY AND NICKY with Sarah Childress, lecturer in Motion Pictures at Belmont University, and Joe Nolan, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene.

MIKEY AND NICKY
Dir. Elaine May | USA | 1976 | 119 min. | R

Elaine May crafted a gangster film like no other in the nocturnal odyssey MIKEY AND NICKY, capitalizing on the chemistry between frequent collaborators John Cassavetes and Peter Falk by casting them together as small-time mobsters whose lifelong relationship has turned sour. Set over the course of one night, this restless drama finds Nicky (Cassavetes) holed up in a hotel after the boss he stole money from puts a hit out on him. Terrified, he calls on Mikey (Falk), the one person he thinks can save him. Scripted to match the live-wire energy of its stars—alongside supporting players Ned Beatty, Joyce Van Patten and Carol Grace—and inspired by real-life characters from May’s own childhood, this unbridled portrait of male friendship turned tragic is an unsung masterpiece of American cinema.


Wed, Apr 22 at 8:00pm:
Join us to discuss Ishiro Honda’s GODZILLA with Haerin Shin, assistant professor of English, Cinema and Media Arts and Asian Studies at Vanderbilt University, and Cory Woodruff, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene.

GODZILLA
Dir. Ishiro Honda | Japan | 1954 | 96 min. | NR

GODZILLA (a.k.a. Gojira) is the roaring granddaddy of all monster movies, a thrilling, tactile spectacle that continues to be a cult phenomenon. It’s also a remarkably humane and melancholy drama, made in Japan at a time when the country was reeling from nuclear attack and H-bomb testing in the Pacific. Its rampaging radioactive beast, the poignant embodiment of an entire population’s fears, became a beloved international icon of destruction, spawning almost 30 sequels.


Wed, Apr 29 at 8:00pm:
Join us to discuss Peter Bogdanovich’s PAPER MOON with Sarah Crotzer, English instructor at Volunteer State Community College, and Sadaf Ahsan, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene. Note: PAPER MOON will be available to stream on the Criterion Channel starting Sat, Apr 25.

PAPER MOON
Dir. Peter Bogdanovich | USA | 1973 | 102 min. | PG

Peter Bogdanovich revisits the lyrical strain of bittersweet nostalgia he tapped into in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW in this 1930s-set comedy about the unlikely partnership that develops between a smooth-talking Kansas con man (Ryan O’Neal) and a young girl (Tatum O’Neal) who may or may not be his daughter. The evocative monochrome cinematography by László Kovács and a scene-stealing performance by Tatum O’Neal—who became the youngest person ever to win an Academy Award for her memorable turn opposite her real-life father—are among the pleasures of this sweetly unsentimental slice of dust-bowl Americana.


Wed, May 6 at 8:00pm:
Join us to discuss Les Blank’s A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON with Harrod Blank, executive producer, and Ron Wynn, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene.

A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON
Dir. Les Blank | USA | 1974 | 90 min. | NR

Les Blank considered this free-form feature documentary about beloved singer-songwriter Leon Russell, filmed between 1972 and 1974, to be one of his greatest accomplishments. Yet it wasn’t released until 2015. Hired by Russell to film him at his recording studio in northeastern Oklahoma, Blank ended up constructing a unique, intimate portrait of a musician and his environment. Made up of mesmerizing scenes of Russell and his band performing, both in concert and in the studio, as well as off-the-cuff moments behind the scenes, this singular film — which also features performances by Willie Nelson and George Jones — has attained legendary status over the years. It’s a work of rough beauty that serves as testament to Blank’s cinematic daring and Russell’s immense musical talents.


Thu, May 21 at 8:00pm:
Join us to discuss Kelly Reichardt’s RIVER OF GRASS with Dawn Hall, professor and gender and women's studies coordinator at Western Kentucky University and author of ReFocus: The Films of Kelly Reichardt (Edinburgh University Press), and Erica Ciccarone, culture editor for the Nashville Scene.

RIVER OF GRASS
Dir. Kelly Reichardt | USA | 1994 | 81 min | NR

Kelly Reichardt’s darkly funny debut feature brought the writer/director back to the setting of her adolescence, the suburban landscape of southern Florida, where she grew up with her detective father and narcotics agent mother. Shot on 16mm film, the story follows the misadventures of disaffected housewife "Cozy," played by Lisa Bowman, and the aimless layabout "Lee," played by up-and-comer Larry Fessenden, who also acted as a producer and the film's editor. Described by Reichardt as "a road movie without the road, a love story without the love, and a crime story without the crime," RIVER OF GRASS introduces viewers to a director already in command of her craft and defining her signature style.


Tue, Aug 25 at 8:00pm:
Join us to discuss Bert Stern’s JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY with pianist Beegie Adair and Nashville Scene contributing writer Ron Wynn. JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY is available to watch through Belcourt’s virtual cinema starting Fri, Aug 14.

JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY
Dir. Bert Stern | USA  | 1959  | 85 min. | NR

Filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island and directed by world-renowned photographer Bert Stern, JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY features intimate performances by an all-star lineup of musical legends including Louis Armstrong, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O'Day, Chuck Berry and Dinah Washington — and closes with a beautiful rendition of “The Lord's Prayer” by Mahalia Jackson at midnight to usher in Sunday morning.


Mon, Aug 31 at 8:00pm:
Join us for a conversation about the new film BACK TO NATURAL with director Gillian Scott-Ward, PhD, BLK Docs film series curator Curtis Caesar John, and natural hair blogger Candice Straughter, moderated by Nashville filmmaker Meleisha Edwards. BACK TO NATURAL is part of the BLK Docs virtual film festival.

BACK TO NATURAL
Dir. Gillian Scott-Ward, PhD | USA  | 2018  | 66 min. | NR

BACK TO NATURAL reveals the shocking truth about the intersection of hair, politics and racial identity in Black communities and beyond. Directed by New York City-based clinical psychologist Gillian Scott-Ward, and inspired both by her clinical practice work and her drive to go natural, this call for healing and exploration of the globalized policing of natural Black hair equally celebrates our history and natural styles that are taking the world by storm.

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