Arts & Leisure

Classic film club hosts spring series online

WATCH 'KON-TIKI' (1950) with the Middlebury Community Classic Film Club online using Kanopy on April 14, at 6 p.m. A discussion will be held via email following the film. For more info on how to get a Kanopy account email [email protected].

MIDDLEBURY — We are living through a unique and singularly trying time in our history that is playing itself out in its own way for each of us. Yet more than ever we share a need to find stories that entertain us while also showing us strength of character. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Middlebury Community Classic Film Club decided not to postpone its films, but rather take the spring screening series online.
“Of course, it may be a while until we can meet again at the Ilsley Library’s Community Room for a movie, but it seemed that simply postponing our get together and leaving it at that was not sufficient,” said Steve Gross, founder of the Middlebury Community Classic Film Club. “The more I thought about it, the less satisfied I was. Then it hit me, we may not be able to have our film nights at the Ilsley in the same way as usual, but we can still share movies if we use technology to help us.”
The virtual film series “Discovering the Strength Inside of Us” launched March 31 with “Charade” (1963) followed by “A Quiet Passion” (2017) on April 7. Four more films will follow. 
The films are screened using Kanopy, a film streaming site that allows for six films to be viewed each month. All Ilsley Library patrons can have a Kanopy account. For more info email [email protected].
The films may be watched whenever. Gross has put suggested viewing dates on the titles to encourage a “discussion” via the email listserv that he uses to connect with film club enthusiasts.
The six films selected for this series come from widely different times, circumstances and formats. Some are mysteries, some biographies, some dramas, some adventures, and yes, some are comic because we certainly need that as well. But more than a distraction, they offer wonderful lessons in how we might delve into our own reservoir to discover something powerful inside of us we may not have known was there. 
Upcoming films:
“Kon-Tiki” (1950)
Suggested viewing April 14, at 6 p.m. 
 In 1947, Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl set out to test a hypothesis. Could pre-Columbian South Americans have sailed west to populate Polynesia? He and his fellow crewmembers risked their lives in this epic 100 day voyage aboard a balsa raft. This is certainly an expedition worth following and a story of creativity matched with courage. 
“Florence Foster Jenkins” (2016)
Suggested viewing April 21, at 6 p.m. 
Meryl Streep portrays a New York socialite who believes that she can become an opera star. The problem is she has a dreadful voice. But is her heartfelt approach to life the real gift she has to share with her audience and the wider world? Hugh Grant costars in this charming and moving account of what really makes us human. 
“Loving Vincent” (2017)
Suggested viewing April 28, at 6 p.m. 
The iconic paintings of Vincent Van Gogh not only define a period of art history, they speak deeply to our attempts to see and understand our world. But beyond the obvious struggles that this artistic genius faced, what do we understand about his life’s journey? Just as revolutionary as its subject, this painted animation gives us insight into Van Gogh’s artwork and the passion that made it possible.
“Is Paris Burning?” (1966)
Suggested viewing May 5, at 6 p.m. 
Just as the allies are about to liberate Paris in 1944, Hitler orders the city to be destroyed. How will this tragedy be averted? With writers including Gore Vidal and Francis Ford Coppola and an international cast featuring Simone Signoret, Kirk Douglas, Leslie Caron, Charles Boyer, and Orson Welles, this is truly a powerful, compelling drama. 

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