By David Nilsen
I started working for Greenville Public Library (the home of Fourth & Sycamore) in August, 2014, and as soon as I got settled in I began dreaming up plans for a classic film program at GPL. I have long wanted to curate and lead a program for screening and discussing classic films in our small town, and the management at the library was eager to let me establish just such a program and run with it. On a cold night in February, 2015, a packed room watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and took part in a lively discussion afterwards. GPL’s Third Floor Film Series had begun, and our first season concluded in November with Fritz Lang’s underappreciated film noir Scarlet Street.
For several months I’ve been planning the 2016 season for the Third Floor Film Series, and I am excited today to announce the dates and titles for the winter and spring months (the summer schedule will be posted in May).
Thursday, January 21 – Casablanca (1942). We’re starting the second season out with a bang with one of the most beloved films ever made. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman and featuring an all-star supporting cast, Casablanca is stylish, funny, wickedly clever, beautifully shot, and more than a bit sentimental (in the best way possible).
Directed by Michael Curtiz. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Peter Lorre, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, and Paul Henreid.
Thursday, February 18 – Man on a Tightrope (1953). Set in communist Czechoslovakia in 1950, this film tells the story of a deteriorating traveling circus and its leader (Fredric March) who must find a way to keep his small troupe together and hopefully lead them to safety across the border to American-occupied Bavaria. Directed by Elia Kazan, this film is tense, electric, and at times humorous.
Directed by Elia Kazan. Starring Fredric March and Gloria Grahame.
Thursday, March 24 – Ida (2013). This recent Polish film displays achingly beautiful photography with deep emotional resonance. The film tells the story of the titular nun who is informed before taking her vows she has a living relative she’s never met. She must travel to meet her long-lost aunt, and on the way family secrets are revealed and Ida opens inner rooms she has long kept locked.
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. Starring Agata Trzebuchowska.
Thursday, April 28 – Days of Heaven (1978). One of the most visually stunning films ever made marked writer and director Terrence Malick as a major American filmmaker. Set in 1916, the film focuses on an unmarried couple and the man’s young sister who travel to Texas looking for work (and trying to escape a crime he committed in Chicago). They end up harvesting wheat for a wealthy–and lonely–young man, and their relationship is strained to breaking.
Directed by Terrence Malick. Starring Richard Gere, Sam Shepard, Brooke Adams, and Linda Manz.
Thursday, May 19 – Sparrows (1926). Mary Pickford was the biggest movie star in the world in the 1920s, reaching a level of popularity not rivaled in Hollywood since. This charming film features Pickford as the oldest child living at a farm in the Florida swamps. The farm is owned by an abusive couple who steal children and sell them off. Pickford must lead the children to safety. This underrated tragicomedy is one of the best adventure films ever made.
Starring Mary Pickford.
All shows will begin at 7:00 p.m. I will lead a brief discussion after each screening, and as always there will be free popcorn, candy, pop, and coffee for all shows. The screenings will be held in the public meeting room on the third floor of the library, and the movies will be viewed on our 80″ high definition flat screen television.
I am very excited to announce these films. Each one is a movie I love and I can’t wait to share them with you. I look forward to seeing you there!