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Film Club features ‘courage’ in spring series

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Community Classic Film Club is excited to start their second season. This spring the group’s theme is “Courage.” The screenings are free and open to the public and will be shown on Thursdays Jan.-June, from 6-8:30 p.m., at the Ilsley Library’s Community Meeting Room.
Last spring the club started off with a series on “Politics Around the World.” The films were as diverse as Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the Indonesian drama “The Year of Living Dangerously,” the Greta Garbo classic “Queen Christina,” and the political thriller “All the King’s Men.”
The fall 2018 theme, “Immigration and Migration,” was just as successful and diverse. Fall films included: “Amistad” based on the famous Supreme Court trial of 1841, “The Emigrants,” a dramatic account of Swedish immigration, the 1982 contemporary film “El Norte,” and the classic “West Side Story.”
“Each film is followed by a remarkable discussion,” wrote Steve Gross, the film club’s creator, in a recent press release. “It’s wonderful to learn from one another’s perspectives and experiences. At these times we are building a sense of community.”
Wondering why the Middlebury Community Classic Film Club chose the theme of “Courage” this spring?
“With all of the drama and challenge facing us both near and far, it seems we could all use a bit more courage these days,” Gross said. “As we put together the list of films, we tried hard to show courage in different forms. At times we are looking at physical courage but at other times, courage takes the form of a quiet determination to stand up to the harshest challenges that life can make. We think that our series on courage will inspire us to some terrific discussions, insights and a greater appreciation of what we can do in our own lives here and now.”
Mark your calendars to attend the spring films in this series, and don’t forget to stay for discussion.
Thursday, Jan. 31
“The Emigrants” (part 2). This is the second half of the film that we saw in October and will round out our series on “Immigration and Migration.” This award winning 1971 film starring Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow tells the story of 19th century Swedes desperate to escape the poverty of their homeland.
Thursday, Feb. 28
“High Noon” will be our first film in our new series on courage. This 1952 Western classic pits an honest marshal against a criminal gang out to take over the town. When no one will stand with him, what will he do? Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly and a wonderful supporting cast create great drama as the moment of truth arrives and courage is called for.
Thursday, March 28
“The Color Purple” is the quietly powerful story of a different kind of courage. It is the inspiring account of an African American woman who struggles against racism and abuse to finally prevail. It is also the story of a community facing those same challenges. Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey, bring Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize winning novel vividly to the screen.
Thursday, May 9
“On the Waterfront,” our third film this spring, pits the power of a violent organization against one imperfect man. Can this lone dockworker stand up to the crushing force of a corrupt union boss and his gang? This is a story of love, power, ethics and personal crisis starring the young Marlon Brando. Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb and Karl Malden make career-defining performances bringing this 1954 drama to life.
Thursday, June 13
“The African Queen” (1951) is our final film this spring. Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn need courage just to contemplate their dangerous river journey during World War I. But it’s Hepburn’s strength that makes all of the difference as she pursues a seemingly impossible mission. The relationship between these outstanding actors blends drama, romance and even comedy to make this a fitting conclusion to our series.
The Middlebury Community Classic Film Club looks forward to seeing old friends and new ones this spring. As usual there will be good coffee, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, along with great films, interesting discussions and community spirit.

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