Indiana Daily Student

City Lights begins third year

After a summer of discussions, decisions and weekend film screenings, the City Lights film series begins its third year of presenting free screenings of classic and world cinema at 7 p.m. Friday with a presentation of "Steamboat Bill Jr." and "Safety Last," two silent films from the 1920s.\nAll movies are screened in Ballantine Hall's room 013 with free parking available in the Ballantine Hall parking lot. The movies are all prints on 16 millimeter film taken from campus film archives.\n"Steamboat Bill Jr." stars Buster Keaton as a college graduate who returns home to work on the family steamboat. "Safety Last" stars the less well-known Harold Lloyd and is the source of the famous image of Lloyd hanging high over a city from the hands of a clock, a stunt Lloyd did with no double and no safety net.\n"They're two of the more famous silent comedies," said Drew Todd, a graduate student and the co-founder of City Lights.\nThe rest of this semester's film schedule is: "The Conversation" (Sept. 13), a 1974 film by Francis Ford Coppola; "L'avventura/The Adventure" (Sept. 22), a 1960 Italian film; "Bringing up Baby" (Sept. 29,) a 1938 U.S. film starring Cary Grant; "A Hard Day's Night" (Oct. 6), the 1964 Beatles movie, which is being shown to commemorate John Lennon's birth and death; a Laurel and Hardy festival (Oct. 13), a screening of three comedies; "Los Olvidados" (Oct. 20), a Mexican film from 1950; a Halloween double feature (Oct. 27), of "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935) and "King Kong" (1933); "Playtime" (Nov. 3,) a 1967 French and Italian film; "Angels with Dirty Faces" (Nov. 10), a 1938 gangster movie starring Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney; "The Ballad of Narayama" (Nov. 17), a 1982 Japanese film; and an Alfred Hitchcock double feature of "The 39 Steps" and "Notorious" Dec. 1.\nThe Laurel and Hardy Festival will introduce prints from the Chester Gleim Film Collection, donated to IU film studies by the late Gleim, an audio/visual consultant for the Chicago public school system and a film collector. City Lights usually shows a surprise short film before each screening and Todd said Gleim's donation has greatly increased the collection of shorts from which to choose.\n"(Gleim's) wife is going to be at the Laurel and Hardy screening and somebody from the department is going to pay tribute to her and her husband's life," Todd said.\nCity Lights, which is sponsored by the Department of Communication and Culture, was created in 1998 by Todd and Eric Beckstrom, also a graduate student. In 1999, a board of Communication and Culture graduate students joined Todd and Beckstrom in selecting each semester's schedule of movies.\nThis summer, Todd, Beckstrom and graduate students Mary O'Shea, Lori Hitchcock, Sherra Schick and Jonathan Nichols-Pethick went through the long process of deciding what audiences will enjoy on screen this fall and spring.\n"Everything we show is pre-screened," O'Shea said. "When we got together at the beginning we had a huge list of films we wanted to show. We sat down and said, 'OK, if all the films we had to choose from were in absolutely pristine condition what would our dream list be?' We also came up with back-ups for each film because all the films we show are not in pristine condition."\nHitchcock said the board tried not to choose anything that had already been shown and also tried to bring a lot of variety to the list.\n"We call it 'classic world film' and we really try and honor that," she said. "We all have specific research interests, and we all bring those interests to the meeting, which helps diversify what we show."\nThe final list was divided up and the board went about screening each film in Ballantine 013 to make sure the picture and sound quality are good enough for audiences to hear and understand. Each film is rated either excellent, good, fair or poor. O'Shea said any film rated fair or poor isn't good enough to be screened for City Lights audiences.\n"We're looking for noticeable splices, scratches, burns, anything wrong with the print at all," she said. "In some instances we've had the horrible experience of having a great-looking print for the first hour and a half and then all of a sudden the film ends and we didn't finish the film. It's amazing what can happen to the footage."\nHigh standards for the films means saying goodbye to some films the board particularly wanted to show. Hitchcock experienced this this summer when she screened a print of the Akira Kurosawa film "Ikiru."\n"It's a classic film and a wonderful movie," she said. "The print itself was beautiful, the sound was great but the subtitles were unreadable so unless you understand Japanese, which most of our audience doesn't, the film doesn't have any meaning."\nOne of City Light's other projects is archiving and eventually gaining access to a film collection donated to the Lilly Library by the late David Bradley. \n"There's a chance that we're going to have to pay copyright fees to show those films," Todd said. "We primarily show from the film studies collection, and they've given us complete access. For the films in the Lilly, it's just a little bit of bureaucracy that needs to be ironed out. We hope to have access by fall 2001. It's an incredible collection of films."\nOne of the new features of this year's film series is a phone number, 856-FLIX, people can call to find out information on each week's screening, Todd said. \n"We're hoping that people who are maybe out of town or who live in Nashville or Columbus can call us, as well as suggest film titles they'd like to see on the big screen," Todd said.\nTodd said the film series is hoping to attract more undergraduate students to come to the screenings this year. But Schick said her ideal audience for City Lights has nothing to do with age.\n"Anyone who loves film for me is the ideal audience," Schick said. "That's why we're doing it"

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