Ed Davin loved movies. He was so enthusiastic about sharing this interest he organized the Staten Island Film Society. Every alternate Wednesday he showed a film preceeded by a short film. Short films get much less circulation and are often better than the film choices available in most theaters today. There were at least 8 seasons on Film Society showings. Here is a list of some of the films that made the cut.
The Icicle Theif 1989 Italy The director Maurizio Nichetti is invited by a TV studio to introduce a screening of his best-known film, the neo-realist classic 'Ladri di saponette'. But Nichetti is horrified to discover that his black-and-white tale of life in poverty is constantly interrupted by garish colour commercials, and even more horrified when a power cut in the studio causes film and commercials to be mixed up -a glamorous model finds herself in the arms of an unemployed pauper, while his wife finds herself in consumer heaven. So Nichetti has to break into the film to try to sort everything out
Songcatcher 2000 After being denied a promotion at the university where she teaches, Doctor Lily Penleric, a brilliant musicologist, impulsively visits her sister, who runs a struggling rural school in Appalachia. There she stumbles upon the discovery of her life - a treasure trove of ancient Scots-Irish ballads, songs that have been handed down from generation to generation, preserved intact by the seclusion of the mountains. With the goal of securing her promotion, Lily ventures into the most isolated areas of the mountains to collect the songs and finds herself increasingly enchanted - not only by the rugged purity of the music, but also by the raw courage and endurance of the local people as they carve out meaningful lives against the harshest conditions. It is not, however, until she meets Tom - a handsome, hardened war veteran and talented musician - that she's forced to examine her motivations. Is the "Songcatcher," as Tom insists, no better than the men who exploit the people and extort their land?
I'm All Right Jack 1959 UK Naive Stanley Windrush returns from the war, his mind set on a successful career in business. Much to his own dismay, he soon finds he has to start from the bottom and work his way up, and also that the management as well as the trade union use him as a tool in their fight for power.
Tagget 1991 John Tagget is a severely injured Vietnam vet who begins having traumatic memories of his time in combat. Delving into the reasons why John finds his life in danger but Yuri, a Russian spy, helps him find the truth.
Ordet 1955 Denmark How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Widowed Patriarch Borgen, who's rather prominent in his community, has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, Johannes, who believes he is Jesus, and Anders, young, slight, in love with the tailor's daughter. The fundamentalist sect of the girl's father is anathema to Borgen's traditional Lutheranism; he opposes the marriage until the tailor forbids it, then Borgen's pride demands that it happen. Unexpectedly, Inger, who is the family's sweetness and light, has problems with her pregnancy. The rational doctor arrives, and a long night brings sharp focus to at least four views of faith.
Ulysses 1967 USA/Ireland Dublin; June 16, 1904. Stephen Dedalus, who fancies himself as a poet, embarks on a day of wandering about the city during which he finds friendship and a father figure in Leopold Bloom, a middle-aged Jew. Meanwhile, Bloom's day, illuminated by a funeral and an evening of drinking and revelry that stirs paternal feelings toward Stephen, ends with a rapprochement with Molly, his earthy wife.
The Buena Vista Social Club 1999 Cuba/Germany A group of legendary Cuban musicians, some as old as their nineties, were brought together by Ry Cooder to record a CD. In this film, we see and hear some of the songs being recorded in Havana. There is also footage from concerts in Amsterdam and New York City's Carnegie Hall. In addition, many of the individual musicians talk about their lives in Cuba and about how they got started in music.
Burnt by the Sun 1994 Russia Russia, 1936: revolutionary hero Colonel Kotov is spending an idyllic summer in his village with his young wife and six-year-old daughter Nadia and other assorted family and friends. Things change dramatically with the unheralded arrival of Cousin Dmitri from Moscow, who charms the women and little Nadia with his games and pianistic bravura. But Kotov isn't fooled: this is the time of Stalin's repression, with telephone calls in the middle of the night spelling doom - and he knows that Dmitri isn't paying a social call...