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Living Room Film Club

Until we meet again in the Belcourt lobby, let’s keep our film talk going! Join the Belcourt Theatre and Nashville Scene for the Living Room Film Club, where we gather from our homes to discuss films from the Criterion Channel. Each meeting, we’ll focus on a collection from the Criterion Channel, with one film as the spotlight. Watch the spotlight film on your own, explore other films in the collection, and join our guest speakers for a 30-minute discussion. For best results, watch the film just before the 8pm meeting time.


Thu, Jun 4 at 8:00pm:
Join us to discuss Jean-Luc Godard’s BAND OF OUTSIDERS, with Amy Bertram, lecturer in motion pictures at Belmont University, and Nathan Smith, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene.

We recommend that you join the video call at 7:50pm to get comfortable with the platform.

BAND OF OUTSIDERS
Dir. Jean-Luc Godard | France | 1964 | 97 min | NR

Four years after BREATHLESS, Jean-Luc Godard reimagined the gangster film even more radically with BAND OF OUTSIDERS. In it, two restless young men (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of both their fancies (Anna Karina) to help them commit a robbery—in her own home. This audacious and wildly entertaining French New Wave gem is at once sentimental and insouciant, effervescently romantic and melancholy, and it features some of Godard’s most memorable set pieces, including the headlong race through the Louvre and the unshakably cool Madison dance sequence.


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.

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