With Film Essentials at the Philadelphia Film Center, PFS is giving audiences the chance to experience some of cinema’s greatest treasures as they were meant to be seen: on vivid 35mm and on the biggest screen in Center City!
KASI LEMMONS | USA | 1997 | 110 MIN | R
January 30 | 7:00 PM | Philadelphia Film Center
Magic and restless spirits drift through the sticky swamps and aging mansions of Louisiana in the remarkable Southern Gothic directorial debut of Kasi Lemmons (Harriet, PFF28). Centered around the home of the well-to-do Batiste family, headed by esteemed local doctor Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and charming socialite Roz (Lynn Whitfield), the film depicts a hot, tumultuous summer through the eyes of the family’s youngest daughter, Eve (the sensational Jurnee Smollett). Coolly admitting to killing her father in the film’s very first scene, the film reflects upon the malleability of Eve’s memories, which are filled with secrets, shocking discoveries, and mysticism. Supported by a stunning performance from Debbi Morgan as Louis’ troubled psychic sister Mozelle, Eve’s Bayou marked a defining moment in 90s American cinema.
SPIKE LEE | USA | 1992 | 201 MIN | PG-13
February 12 | 7:00 PM | Philadelphia Film Center
Spike Lee’s extraordinary telling of the life of Malcolm X has lost none of its power and relevance since its 1992 release. Based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the film dramatizes the American icon’s transition through many lives: from young hustler Malcolm Little to Malcolm X, radical human rights activist and eventual martyr. Malcolm’s revolutionary thinking evolves with each new conflict, with the specter of a father murdered by the Klan always looming in his mind. Anchored by a career-best performance from Denzel Washington, Lee’s epic transcends the biopic form with life and vitality, cutting to the core of the civil rights leader’s power and complexity.
A DRY WHITE SEASON
EUZHAN PALCY | USA | 1989 | 106 MIN | R
March 18 | 7:00 PM | Philadelphia Film Center
The first Hollywood studio-released film by a black woman, Euzhan Palcy’s A Dry White Season is a searing dramatization of South African lives in the grip of apartheid. While white school teacher Ben Du Toit (Donald Sutherland) raises his family in comfort, black South Africans must fight for their basic human rights in the face of racism and violent government oppression. Only when a series of increasingly brutal fates befall his gardener Gordon (Winston Ntshona) does Ben begin to understand and fight back against the of the state’s injustices. Featuring an Oscar-nominated performance by Marlon Brando as an eccentric, principled lawyer, A Dry White Season is a skillfully made, blisteringly angry exposé of a shameful era in South Africa’s history.