Loew’s Jersey Theatre Presents 3 Classic Dystopian Films – May 19-20
Sleeper — On The Beach — Brazil
“The Future” is a concept that is often imbued with optimism. America’s good fortune in our 230-year history has tended to endow us with the expectation that tomorrow will be a better day. But if we let our imaginations stray into our darkest fears, wallow in our baser tendencies, and peruse not the triumphs but the horrors of the past as prelude, The Future can seem a very dark shadow indeed. Though the movies have often been criticized for looking at the worlds — including The Future — with rose-tinted glasses, certain films have gone in the opposite direction, vividly and unforgettably depicting the most dystopian possibilities for tomorrow. Amazingly, some of these films have even wrung black humor from the subject.
“Sleeper” — Fri., May 19 at 8PM
Starring Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, John Beck, Mary Gregory. Directed by Woody Allen. (1973 — 88mins. — Rated PG)
Woody Allen goes to the hospital for a routine procedure, dies on the table, is cryogenically frozen, and awakens 200 years later into a Brave New World of deadening conformity ruled with an iron fist by a never-seen omnipotent Leader. So begins one of the goofiest yet insightful dystopian films ever made. Four years before his Oscar-winning breakthrough with Annie Hall, Woody Allen was still deep in absurdist humor. While the comedy is broad, it’s hardly unintelligent, delving into political and social commentary. Allen may have made more personal and moving films later in his career, but on a laugh-out-loud scale, Sleeper is one of the most enjoyable works he’s ever produced.
“On the Beach” — Sat., May 20 at 3PM
Starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins.
(1959 — 135mins. — Not Rated, but not recommended for children.)
Although there had been “doomsday dramas” before it, Stanley Kramer’s On the Beach was considered the first “significant” entry into the genre. Released in 1959, the story was set in the then-future of 1964, when most life on Earth has just been destroyed by radioactive fall out. The population Australia is still alive, but only until the fallout inevitably drifts “down under.” Much of the population resigns itself to doom or goes mad, while some desperately try to figure out how to survive. The film captures the now half-forgotten fear of inevitable, if not imminent nuclear holocaust that gripped the
civilized world in the late 1950s and ‘60s, and is a harrowing experience.
“Brazil” — Sat., May 20 at 7:15PM
Starring Jonathan Pryce, Michael Palin, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro.
Directed by Terry Gilliam. (1985 — Rated R.)
In 1985, director Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame) concocted this comedic fantasy-nightmare about a world where which life seems to go on routinely, except that fear of nameless, faceless terrorists is the excuse for government bureaucracies to seize citizens, force confessions from them, and kill them — even in cases of mistaken identity. From our post-9/11 vantage, we can only hope any resemblance to our world is an eerie coincidence and not frightening prescience. Rather than diminishing the film’s coherence and emotional impact, Gilliam’s intermixing of humor actually makes the characters and situations seem more human. When it was first released, Brazil’s American distributor forced Gilliam to change the ending to something “happier.” Fortunately, when new prints were struck a year ago, the original ending was restored. Brazil will be screened at the Loew’s in this restored original ending.
Each screening is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors & children 12 years old and younger. Combo discounts for two or more screenings are available.
The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre screens movies on our 50 ft wide x 25 ft high screen, using carbon arc illumination for the brightest, whitest light.
The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, located at 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, NJ 07306, is directly across J.F. Kennedy Boulevard from the JSQ PATH Center, is minutes from the N.J. Turnpike and is easily reached by car or mass transit from throughout the Metropolitan Area.
Half-price off-street parking is available in Square Ramp Garage adjoining the Loew’s. Patrons present a coupon to garage attendant when they leave. Coupon is available at our box office.
For directions or more information, visit www.loewsjersey.org
Classic Film Weekends are presented by Friends of the Loew’s, Inc., which operates the Loew’s Jersey as a not-for-profit arts center.