A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
MICHAEL POWELL, EMERIC PRESSBURGER | UK | 1946 | 104 MIN | PG
A daring, strange, and beautiful masterpiece, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (originally released in the USA as STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN) is a crowning achievement of famed British filmmaking duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (THE RED SHOES, BLACK NARCISSUS). With its daring blend of wartime drama and metaphysical fantasy, the film tells the story of English pilot Peter (David Niven), who makes an intense connection with American ground controller June (Kim Hunter) in the moments before his plane crashes. Peter miraculously survives, and a celestial emissary (Maurice Goring) is sent to bring him back to Heaven, where a tribunal convenes to decide whether Peter should be allowed to remain on Earth with his new love. Powell and Pressburger conjure two distinctive worlds: Earth (filmed in lush Technicolor), and Heaven (lensed in black and white, with some of the greatest production design ever captured on film).
This 4K restoration will be presented with a special introduction filmed at New York City’s Film Forum with Thelma Schoomaker, famed film editor (RAGING BULL, THE AVIATOR, THE DEPARTED) and widow of Michael Powell.
Cast: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote, Roger Livesey
“One of the most audacious films ever made.” –Roger Ebert