Join us at SLFS in April 2023 for a retrospective series featuring the films of P.T. Anderson and Wes Anderson every weekend on Friday and Saturday starting March 31st.
Paul Thomas Anderson (known as P.T.) grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the ’70s and 80’s. At an early age, he decided that directing was all he wanted to do and started making short films with his friends. As a senior in high school he wrote, produced, and directed a 30 minute short film “The Dirk Diggler Story”. (This became the basis for his film Boogie Nights.) While at the Sundance Feature Film program he developed the film “Sydney” which became the acclaimed film Hard Eight. After struggles with his distributor, he took his own version of “Sydney” to Cannes where it screened in the Un Certain Regard section. Eventually “Sydney” was released as Hard Eight in 1996, of which film critic Roger Ebert wrote “Movies like Hard Eight remind me of what original, compelling characters the movies can sometimes give us.”
Wes Anderson was born in Houston, Texas in 1969. Also at a young age he was driven to become a filmmaker making silent films with his brothers and friends. Later working as a projectionist at the University of Texas at Austin he met writer/actor Owen Wilson who he collaborated with in his early films such as Bottle Rocket. His signature post-modern style and subversion of main-stream storytelling stands out amidst commercial filmmaking today. Big star-studded casts, fast paced humor, and a nostalgia mark his films which are never quite what you expected.
These popular directors, who happen to share a last name, represent a new wave of stylistic directing that always surprises. Their way of telling stories is unique in a world of short attention spans and easy endings.
Love and romantic relationships have always held a special place in the world of visual storytelling, from the earliest on-stage stories of Shakespeare, to the romantic (and romantic-comedy) films that populate the world of cinema. With Valentine’s Day, the holiday of courtship and romance, right around the corner, what better way for Salt Lake Film Society to celebrate the power of love and film (and honor Saint Valentine) than discussing our favorite romantic/romantic-comedy films?
While these films are often more entertaining and absurd than they are true to the real-life relationships we celebrate on Valentine’s Day, the drama of romance and the often-happy endings they portray always seem to inject us with a bit of hope and optimism about our own lives, romantic or otherwise.
As Jason Sudeikis’s character remarks in the hit Apple TV series Ted Lasso, he believes in “rom-communism”. “If all those attractive people can go through some light-hearted struggles and still end up happy, then so can we! Believing in rom-communism is all about believing that everything’s gonna work out in the end.” So take a look at what the SLFS Staff picked for their favorite romantic films, and see what stories make us believe that everything will (or won’t) work out in the end.
Our Staff Picks for This Valentine’s Day
CITY LIGHTS (1931) – Tori Baker, President/CEO
“The last shot of City Lights is simply one of the most heartbreaking film shots of any love story. The last line “Yes, I can see now?” and its complex meaning makes the shot a masterpiece. The hilarious journey of the Tramp falling in love with a blind flower girl — who believes he’s a wealthy patron — is a “must” in the staple of unusual romance stories. This one takes us on a journey that both affirms the best of humanity, and also slaps us with the complexities of our social strata in America.”
ADDICTED TO LOVE (1997) – Stephen Simmons, Associate Director of Production
“‘90’s Roms Coms are my guilty pleasure (my runner up was HIGH FIDELITY). The one that stands out most is ADDICTED TO LOVE. Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick are the perfect anti-heroes in this neurotic love story. Have you ever had your heart broken? Have you ever wanted to get revenge? This playful and hilarious black comedy pushes the boundaries of what one might do for love (or lack of). This is one of those films that is a comfort if you are down in the dumps. or just got dumped. If you have any symptoms of a broken heart, this might be your Valentine’s cure.”
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) – Rachel Getts, Associate Director of Digital Content
“IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT has everything: Enemies to lovers? Check. Rich vs. poor? Check. Witty sexy banter? Check. This ’30s classic has just the right mixture of humor and romance. Gable and Colbert are such a killer pairing. From their first meeting it is without a doubt that these two are made for each other-if they could just get out of their own way. A must-watch every year.”
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) – Marcie Collett, Associate Director of Development
“I actually love watching romances fail more than succeed, especially if a woman is mostly in charge, as Barbara Stanwyck is in DOUBLE INDEMNITY, or Joan Crawford in MILDRED PIERCE, or Bette Davis in THE LITTLE FOXES. I do enjoy the romantic success of Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis in SOME LIKE IT HOT, but really I’m happy for Jack Lemmon as he finds the most understanding lover who in the end tells him, “Nobody’s perfect.” Also Cher and Nicholas Cage in MOONSTRUCK have the most iconic romantic slap and line, “Snap out of it!” Finally, I just love Kyle in TERMINATOR when he says “I came across time for you, Sarah. I love you. I always have.”
HITCH (2005) – Jesse Sindelar, Development Manager
“For many film fans, the “rom-com” is a guilty pleasure, a bit of corny junk food to supplement the larger film palette. When it comes to HITCH though, for me there’s no guilt involved. It has all the rom-com tropes executed to stylish perfection: beautiful and charming people who struggle to make it work as they learn more about each other, slight miscommunications that hold the entire plot together, quality physical comedy between Will Smith and Kevin James, and a happy, heartfelt ending that makes all the corn and self-sabotaging failures worth it. This film makes you actually believe that love is right around the corner if you just try hard enough, or if you give a well-timed and passionate monologue full of emotional truths and clever metaphors. Plus, seeing Will Smith drunk on Benadryl is a wish I never knew I had.”
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004) – Susan Tive, Head of Philanthropy
“Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry teamed up to create one of my favorite romantic comedies. Released in 2004, Eternal Sunshine stars Jim Carey and Kate Winslet playing Joel and Clementine, lovers who break up and attempt to make that final by erasing each other from their memories through a new scientific procedure. While they hope that a spotless mind will eliminate the past and thus the painful moments of their relationship, the film shows us that love, and its associated moments and memories become essential parts of who we are and that what connects us to one another remains indelible whether we choose to pay attention to it or not.”
Art House Films in Salt Lake City – SLFS
At Salt Lake Film Society, we love a good story on the big screen, whether it’s a love story or not. The emotion that films make us feel sits at the heart of what makes us human, and love is one of the most powerful emotions of them all. While these staff selections might not all have the happy endings or light-hearted, positive emotions you want out of a love story, we hope they offer some interesting insight into the wide variety of romantic (and romantically-comedic) films out there, and maybe even provide a good movie to watch for your Valentine’s Day celebration.
Find some Valentine’s Day cards for your favorite movie-goer from SLFS here.
To see a list of our upcoming films and events, click here. To join our Red Carpet Club, or to learn more about RCC levels, discounts, and benefits, click here.
At Salt Lake Film Society, we take a lot of pride in providing access to the movie theater experience. For many films and visual stories, the very nature of their production and exhibition is designed to be watched on the big screen, shared in a movie theater with others. In our blog this week, we hear from Landon Adams, Theater Manager at Broadway Centre Cinemas, and how his experience watching White Noise was enhanced through the movie theater experience.
“Watching a film in a theater is a profound sensory experience. We become entranced by both the screen in front of us, and the audience surrounding us. In Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, characters speak of the supermarket as a spiritual haven, a temple broadcasting soothing psychic data composed of words, images, colors and sounds. The cinema’s function is the very same.
The plot of the film concerns the exploits of the blended Gladney family. The main protagonist, J.A.K. Gladney (played by Adam Driver), is a professor of Hitler studies, who in an early scene waxes poetically to a group of wide-eyed college students about the allure of the crowd. They hang onto his every word on topics ranging from “deathward” plots, to mob mentality and the power of the collective. Their awe feeds into Jack’s sense of immortality in an unwitting ritual that summons the dark cloud of Jack’s tentative demise and sets the wheels of our story in motion.
It’s in the aforementioned lecture that Jack, pointing out into the lecture hall, singles out a terrified student as a member of the future dead. We see this moment in a POV shot, from the viewpoint of the student. Jack Gladney points directly into the camera, pointing at both the student, and projected overhead on a 45 foot screen, pointing into the theater at us. If we were watching this on TV, we might miss that throughout the film Jack is aware of us, speaks to us, asking us in states between wakefulness and dreaming, “Who are you?” So attuned to the crowd, he senses us even when alone in his room in the dead of night.
For the duration of the movie we are invited into various crowded scenes: An overstuffed home, a bustling campus, evacuation camps, supermarkets, even roadways; traffic stretching out past the horizon toward infinity. The characters’ relation to these crowds is ever-shifting. Sometimes they are leaders, sometimes members. They often look to these crowds to measure themselves and source how they should feel, or how they should act. They find comfort in crowds, a sense of subconscious immortality borne out of an esoteric reinforcement, the comfort from “the collective”.
The film opens with a monologue over a montage of car crash stunts. The monologue asserts that these crashes are a highlight reel, representing innovation and optimism. This opening contextualizes what happens later in the film while Jack is driving down the highway. In the midst of a crisis our cast witnesses an accident, or at least the children do. When it happens, Jack is looking away.
Again we see the action as a POV shot, this time inhabiting the viewpoint of Jack’s children. A car rushes into the frame, overturning in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, and when it occurs, Jack is looking away, into the camera, as if watching for our reaction, to determine from us, the audience, how he should feel.
The movie theater provides a communal experience, often complex and of multi-dimensions. We gather under the flashing lights of the big screen and allow ourselves to sink into the story, letting our worries fall away across a paltry runtime. Sharing this with an audience makes the spell all the more potent. The people surrounding us help transform the experience by virtue of their presence and individual experiences.
It’s these fellow movie-goers, these crowds of eager enthusiasts, who breathe life into a film, and ground us in the experience. It’s our physical presence with others that creates and completes this unwitting ritual, just as in the film. Acting as kindred travelers on the cinematic highway, we escape down reality’s off-ramp toward the open-road comfort of the surreal, where together we are immortal beneath the silver screen of the theater.”
Presenting Black Cinema is a series curated by specialty guest programmer Saidah Russell to spotlight the unique and varied experience of black cinema.
Saidah Russell currently works as a Film Programmer for Rooftop Films, helping to curate their Summer Series and assisting with administering their Filmmakers Fund annually. She is also a Shorts Programmer at the Sundance Film Festival. She has experience working on screening committees for several festivals, including Tribeca Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, and Indie Memphis Film Festival. She has also been on review committees for AT&T Presents: Untold stories, Athena Film Festival’s Writers Lab, Black Public Media’s Open Call, and the HamptonsFilm Screenwriters Lab. She is the Director of Programming for the TIDE Film Festival, an emerging Brooklyn-based festival dedicated to showcasing work by filmmakers of color.
Each weekend we have films that are paired into specialized categories: Musicals, Afro-Futurism, Southern Gothic/Horror, and Contemporary Black Directors.
Check out the schedule below. Showtimes May Vary. Tickets will be on sale soon at www.slfstix.org.
Hello independent film fanatics, and congratulations on making it through another year! As we all worked our hardest to make it through the days, months, and year of 2022 whole, many of us found support and solace in film, and the incredible visual stories that we are engaged in. Whether exploring the multiverse to appreciate the true value of life and kindness in Everything Everywhere All at Once, or enjoying a quirky couple’s love for volcanoes and each other in Fire of Love, or learning more about those who are hearing-impaired and the beautiful burden of family in CODA, we have screened many beautiful and breathtaking stories at the Broadway in 2022.
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
FIRE OF LOVE
Perhaps you got one of the last tickets to a Rocky Horror Picture Show accompanied by live performers, or maybe you were the only one in the theater to see a captivating, foreign independent film on a Tuesday afternoon; Salt Lake Film Society is proud and privileged to exhibit all kinds of incredible stories for the Salt Lake City community, all supported by dedicated patrons like you.
Supporting Independent Film in 2023 With SLFS
If you’ve enjoyed your experiences at the Broadway, and if you value the type and quality of films you see with SLFS, please consider supporting us! Join the Red Carpet Club, or make a donation online right now at SLFS.org, or at the theater the next time you see a film; even better, make a donation before Sunday and reduce your taxable income for the coming year! Every dollar supports our mission to exhibit, engage, and educate the Salt Lake City community through independent film. We couldn’t do it without you.
From our Salt Lake Film Society family to yours, thank you for engaging with diverse stories and supporting independent cinema in Salt Lake City, and we look forward to seeing you all in 2023!
In Salt Lake City, the holiday season is a time of joy, compassion, and nostalgia. Whether you are spending time with family and friends, or enjoying the snowy slopes and warm drinks, this time of year is about loving traditions and memories as well as making new ones. Whether it’s the holiday movie you watched every year as a family, or going out to your local theater on Christmas Day, film has a special place in many of our hearts during this festive period.
At Salt Lake Film Society, our staff also have a special place for movies in their hearts during the holiday season. From all-time holiday classics, to obscure independent films, to the never-ending debate on whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie, our love of film and cinema doesn’t take time off for the holidays. Check out the wide variety of picks and preferences that SLFS staff enjoy during this time of year and who knows, maybe you will find a new title to add to your family holiday movie tradition!
TOKYO GODFATHERS (2003) – Tori Baker, President/CEO
“Consider starting a tradition of viewing the masterwork Tokyo Godfathers, a tale that will take you on a sentimental journey that might just also break your heart in the best way possible—the way that makes you want to pursue more understanding of humanity and it’s complexities.”
AUNTIE MAME (1958) – Marcie Collett, Associate Director of Development
“During holidays – or whenever I’m in need of inspiration on abundance and fabulousness – I treat myself to Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame. Mame’s memoir is Live, Live, Live!, and her motto is: “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving.”
GREMLINS (1984) – Rachel Getts, Associate Director of Digital Content
“A classic funny alternative holiday movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The gremlin bar scene alone is a bizarre surreal hilarious mess. Wouldn’t change a thing.”
SCROOGED (1988) – Stephen Simmons, Associate Director of Production
“I watch this film every year. It never gets old. It’s got everything. The cast is a 90’s comedy dream team. It’s spooky, sarcastic and filled with Christmas spirit(s). The speech Frank Cross (Murray) gives at the end makes me tear up…..every damn time.”
CAROL (2015) – Ally Lantz, Theater Operations Manager
“One of my favorite films that is altogether beautiful and heartbreaking (and also happens to have a Christmas road trip involved). In other words, be sad, do gay, and Merry Christmas.”
A PISTOL FOR RINGO (1965) – Landon Adams, Theater Operations Manager
“Have you ever watched a spaghetti western and thought “This would be improved with a Christmas theme?” Well A PISTOL FOR RINGO exists anyway. It opens with two men meeting in the center of town at high noon, hands near their gun belts. One moves fast, offering his hand: “Merry Christmas, Jack”.”
RECKLESS (1995) – Brandon Suisse, Associate Director of Development
“A bizarre and largely forgotten dark comedy for anyone who has ever been overwhelmed by the relentless giddiness of the holiday season. While the satire may not feel scalding (or coherent) enough for some, it ultimately arrives somewhere that’s unexpectedly un-pessimistic. This unpolished gem of a movie is a must-see for Grinches everywhere–if you can find a copy.”
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) – Jesse Sindelar, Development Manager
“An established holiday tradition for many, it’s also the blueprint for most holiday movie storylines: not appreciating what you have until it’s gone. I’ve cried at the end of every watch, and I’ll keep on crying in the future. Merry Christmas you wonderful old Building and Loan!”
SLEEPER (1973) – Susan Tive, Head of Development
“As a child, my Jewish family’s Christmas tradition was dinner at a Chinese restaurant followed by a movie. In 1973, it was SLEEPER, Woody Allen’s dystopian comedy which became for me one of those cinematic treasures I summon again and again and when I do, I’m still a kid too young to get the punchlines but not yet too old to delight in the memories of my parents’ laughter.”
THE FAMILY STONE (2005)– Amy Beth Aste, Head of Theater Operations
“The actors alone make me nostalgic, Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes, Craig T. Nelson, Paul Schneider, all actors I loved in the 90’s! They come together in one story of a family that deserves your suspension of disbelief and will make you laugh, cry, and want to learn sign language.”
TANGERINE (2015) – Daniel de Santiago, Front of House Staff
“My love for this holiday film goes not just towards its hilarious dialogue, but how the film was captured. Sean Baker is amazing in how he documents his scenes, they feel more like a documentary then a scripted film, it’s excellent directing. Plus, the first line in this film is “Merry Christmas B***H”.”
POLAR EXPRESS (2014) – Sophie Nielsen, Front of House Staff
“All aboard, and hold on TIGHTLY! I make my family watch POLAR EXPRESS every Christmas. Everything about it is magical: the scenery, the music, the friendship, the actual magic, and the fact that they only had to hire one voice actor (Tom Hanks).”
BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)– Patrick Charles, Theater Operations Manager
“An amazing proto-slasher movie directed by Bob Clark that mixes tons of laughs with extremely dark Christmas-themed mayhem. Clark would go on to direct, A CHRISTMAS STORY, which is quite similar to BLACK CHRISTMAS, minus the obscene phone calls and murders.”
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1984) – Guy Wheatley, Head Projectionist
“When it comes to epitomizing the character, George C. Scott *is* Ebenezer Scrooge. You believe his every caustic remark about Christmas, and his redemption is the most poignantly reminiscent of Scott’s own career. This Christmas Carol is the only Dickens you need.”
JUST FRIENDS (2005) – Abby Derrick, Front of House Staff
“Reminds me of long winter nights spent with my sisters. Every Christmas Eve, we’d stay up all night watching this over and over, the jokes getting funnier with every watch. It’s the perfectly funny movie to ring in the new year.”
MIXED NUTS (1994) – Zoey Wiltsey, Event Manager
“For me, the holiday season doesn’t really start until I’ve watched Mixed Nuts. It’s been a tradition since early adolescence. I love Nora Ephron’s dark sense of humor and I find the 90’s sensibilities very comforting around this time of year.”
Holiday Films at SLFS
We hope the variety of seasonal movies and personal experiences shared by our staff add some cinematic perspective to your holiday season (and maybe even some inspiration for the next holiday movie night!).
At Salt Lake Film Society, we can’t think of a better present for the people you love then the gift of cinema. Consider sharing and supporting access to quality independent film this holiday season, with a gift membership to our Red Carpet Club!
Looking for an alternative to the usual holiday fare? SLFS is here for you. During the month of December we are going to be screening some holiday films with a mix of fun and terror. We are calling it Tower Of Terror: Holiday Edition.