Thursday, February 2, 2012
Reading Cinema deserves kudos for trying to bring some innovative programming to San Diego. They consistently bring foreign and independent films that no one runs, they have hosted film retrospectives sponsored by Fox Searchlight, and they program film series like the ongoing Forty Foot Films that bring classics back to the big screen where they belong. Last month I had the exquisite pleasure of seeing "The Maltese Falcon" on the big screen at Reading's Gaslamp Stadium Theaters. Tonight I cannot wait to see Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 "The Godfather" on the 40 foot screen.
"The Godfather" belongs on the big screen for multiple reasons. It has a grand scale as it covers the saga of the Corleone mob family and it boasts a visual style that can only truly be appreciated in a darkened theater. A cinematographer friend correctly pointed out that you can't appreciate Coppola's and cinematographer Gordon Willis' use of shadow and darkness if you are watching at home. And those rich, deep shadows help define the mood and tone of the film.
In addition, "The Godfather" is a beautifully crafted film that showcases Coppola's skills as a cinematic storyteller and his meticulous attention to detail (you even get a recipe for spaghetti). He mixes tender scenes of the family with some of the most effectively brutal acts of violence. At its center is a flawless and carefully nuanced performance by AL Pacino as Michael, the youngest of the Corleone sons and the one who goes through the greatest transformation. Throw in one of the greatest acting ensembles of all time and you have a film to be savored. Based on Mario Puzo's novel about a fictional Mafia family in the 1940s, the film romanticized the mob with its depiction of the strong ties that bind the Corleone family together. Coppola went on to make "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) and "The Godfather, Part III" (1990).
Here's the trailer for the first film to whet your appetite.
I hope you will join me tonight in order to prove that there is an audience for classics on the big screen.