Published January 22, 2018
Recent Golden Globe winner “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” will be joined by such classic films as “Casablanca,” “Mildred Pierce,” “High Noon” and “Singin’ in the Rain” for the spring 2018 edition of the Buffalo Film Seminars.
Bruce Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture in the Department of English, hosts the popular, semester-long series of film screenings and discussions with Diane Christian, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of English. While the series usually does not screen recently released films, Jackson says he and Christian changed the lineup at the last minute to include “Three Billboards” at the recommendation of several friends.
“We went to see it. It is an astonishing film,” he says. “The script and acting are superb. Every character in it is more complex than you at first think.”
Jackson notes that for many years the series never repeated any films — more than 500 different films have been screened so far, he says. “Every so often, we remember that we’ve been doing this for 18 years, which means most of our audience has not been to a BFS presentation of a lot of great films,” he explains. “When that happens, we visit the screening schedules for the first decade and look for films that are as good or are better than other films we might select from the same time period.”
The classic titles “Casablanca,” “Mildred Pierce,” “High Noon” and “Singin’ in the Rain” “fit that bill,” he says, adding that “a film that works one year might work for a very different reason another year.”
Each session of the Buffalo Film Seminars begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, beginning Jan. 30 and running through May 8, in the Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St. in the University Plaza, directly across the street from the South Campus.
Christian and Jackson will introduce each film. Following a short break at the end of each film, they will lead a discussion of the film. The screenings are part of “Film Directors” (Eng 381), an undergraduate course being taught by the pair. Students enrolled in the course are admitted free; others may attend at the theater’s regular admission prices of $9.50 for adults, $8 for students and $7.25 for seniors. Season tickets are available any time at a 15 percent reduction for the cost of the remaining films.
“Goldenrod handouts” — featuring production details, anecdotes and critical comments about each week’s film — are available in the theater lobby 45 minutes before each session. The handouts also are posted online one day before each screening.
The 36th edition of the series opens on Jan. 30 with the 1933 musical “Gold Diggers of 1933,” directed by Mervyn LeRoy and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. The film, based on a play that ran on Broadway in 1919 and 1920, tells the story of a wealthy composer who rescues unemployed Broadway performers with a new play. It was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2003.
The remainder of the schedule, with descriptions culled from IMDb and other sources:
For more information about the Buffalo Film Seminars, visit the series’ website.