Free Films Thursdays in July

Each Thursday in July, The Parkway Theatre is presenting a landmark world-cinema film, with FREE admission to all (first come, first served)!

Daughters of the Dust – July 6, 7:30pm

Director: Julie Dash, 1991, USA, 112 minutes

The first widely released feature film by a black female filmmaker, DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST was met with wide critical acclaim and rapturous audience response when it initially opened in 1991, and continues to resonate today, most recently as a major in influence on Beyonce’s video album Lemonade.

At the dawn of the 20th century, a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina–former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions–struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots.

Restored for the first time with proper color grading overseen by cinematographer AJ Jafa, audiences will finally see the film exactly as Julie Dash intended.

“Dash’s boldly imaginative, ecstatically visionary drama … is one of the best of all American independent films.”–Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Black Girl – July 13, 7:30pm

Director: Ousmane Semaine, 1966, Senegal/France, 59 minutes, language: Wolof, French

Ousmane Sembène was one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived, as well as the most renowned African director of the twentieth century—and yet his name still deserves to be better known in the rest of the world. He made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl. Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white family and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally—into a complexly layered critique of the lingering colonialist mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by M’Bissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s. (Criterion Collection)

Fantastic Planet – July 20, 7:30pm

Director: René Laloux, 1973, France, 72 minutes

Nothing else has ever looked or felt like director René Laloux’s animated marvel Fantastic Planet, a politically minded and visually inventive work of science fiction. The film is set on a distant planet called Ygam, where enslaved humans (Oms) are the playthings of giant blue native inhabitants (Draags). After Terr, kept as a pet since infancy, escapes from his gigantic child captor, he is swept up by a band of radical fellow Oms who are resisting the Draags’ oppression and violence. With its eerie, coolly surreal cutout animation by Roland Topor; brilliant psychedelic jazz score by Alain Goraguer; and wondrous creatures and landscapes, this Cannes-awarded 1973 counterculture classic is a perennially compelling statement against conformity and violence. (Janus Films)

The Color of Pomegranates – July 27, 7:30pm

Director: Sergei Parajanov, 1969, Armenia, 73 minutes

One of the greatest masterpieces of the 20th century, Sergei Parajanov‘s, Color of Pomegranates, a biography of the Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova (King of Song) reveals the poet’s life more through his poetry than a conventional narration of important events in Sayat Nova’s life. We see the poet grow up, fall in love, enter a monastery and die, but these incidents are depicted in the context of what are images from Sergei Paradjanov’s imagination and Sayat Nova’s poems, poems that are seen and rarely heard. Sofiko Chiaureli plays 6 roles, both male and female, and Sergei Parajanov writes, directs, edits, choreographs, works on costumes, design and decor and virtually every aspect of this revolutionary work void of any dialog or camera movement.

Parajanov-Vartanov Institute worked with Martin Scorsese‘s Film Foundation on the restoration of The Color of Pomegranates after a chance meeting during the esteemed 17th Busan International Film Festival’s Sergei Paradjanov and MIkhail Vartanov film retrospective and art exhibition.

The restored Color of Pomegranates (Sayat Nova) world premiered at the 67th Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes) in France and, with Mikhail Vartanov‘s Parajanov: The Last Spring, at the 28th IL Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival in Italy where it was introduced by Olivia Harrison, the widow of The Beatles guitarist George Harrison whose foundation funded the restoration.

Martin Scorsese introduced the restored film’s North American premiere at 39th Toronto International Film Festival. Martiros M. Vartanov, who worked on the restoration with L’Immagine Ritrovata, introduced the US-premiere at The Academy at LACMA series together with his last film.

Free films at the Parkway are first come, first served. We will see you at 5 W. North Avenue!