Journey with Michael Powell to Ultima Thule — The Edge of the World — 35mm Screening on July 18 at NEIU

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, July 18 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Michael Powell • 1937
“When the Roman fleet first sailed round Britain they saw from the Orkneys a distant island, like a blue haze across a hundred miles of sea. They called it —ULTIMA THULE, The Edge of the World.” After apprenticing for Rex Ingram in the silent era, Michael Powell graduated to directing in the 1930s, turning out disposable “quota quickies,” so named because English law demanded a minimum annual number of domestic productions that were effectively audience-proof. The Edge of the World was Powell’s first opportunity to make a film of his choosing, a lovely and mystical film that fuses Scottish folklore, sternly tactile landscapes, and a low-key romance between Belle Chrystall and Niall MacGinnis. Set and shot on the isle of Foula, an isolated land grown barren, The Edge of the World is the kind of film where political disputes about evacuating to the mainland are settled by a race up the cliffside — a touch that would play like extravagant whimsy if not for the life-or-death stakes. As Roger Ebert observed, “The cliff-climbing scenes are especially dramatic, and, watching them, I realized that in most climbing scenes the climbers seem heroic. Here they seem tiny and endangered. It is the cliff that seems heroic, and that is probably the right way around.” (KW)
74 min • Rock Productions • 35mm from Milestone Films
Short: “An Airman’s Letter to His Mother” (Michael Powell, 1941) – 5 min – 35mm


And coming later this week …

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 •  Advance Tickets Here

Saturday, July 21 @ 11:30 AM 
Live Organ Accompaniment by Dennis Scott
THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS (Gardiens de phare)
Directed by Jean Grémillon • 1929
French intertitles with English subtitles
The director Jean Grémillon came to cinema through music; he became intoxicated with the form while accompanying silent films and his sense of rhythm remained intact when he put down the violin and took up the camera. Initially training as a documentary filmmaker and later dabbling in the avant-garde, Gremillon transitioned to narrative features at the very end of the silent era. His second, The Lighthouse Keepers, was shot in a studio, but retains the flavor of Grémillon’s native Brittany, where the story is set. A father (Paul Fromet) tends a remote lighthouse with his son (Geymond Vital), who longs to be reunited with his fiancée (Genica Athanasiou). Unbeknownst to the father, the son was recently bitten by a rabid dog and finds himself slowly going insane and turning violent. Adapted by Jacques Feyder from a one-act play from the infamous Théâtre du Grand-Guignol, The Lighthouse Keepers is notable for its expressionistic distortions and masterful editing, continually finding new ways to represent abnormal psychological realms. The French answer to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Lighthouse Keepers provides an unforgettable climax to the visual invention of the silent era. (KW)
73 min • Société des Films du Grand Guignol • 35mm from National Film Archive of Japan, courtesy of National Film Center, Tokyo
Short: Billie Bletcher in “The Fresh Lobster” (c. 1920s) – 7 min – 16mm

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