May 17, 2019
Grand Illusion and Independent Filmmaker Nick Macdonald Come to Pothole Pictures on May 17 & 18
Shelburne Falls, MA —The Pothole Pictures movie series in Shelburne Falls will feature a special two day event on May 17 & 18 as we approach Memorial Day, commemorating the recently passed centenniel of WWI - the "war to end all wars" - and the anti-war activism against the endless warfare since. On Friday, May 17, local anti-war activist, Randy Kehler, will introduce his friend and college classmate - independent film maker and film scholar Nick Macdonald -- who will show four of his short personal and political films from the 1970s. These are No More Leadershit, Break Out, The Liberal War and Still Attica Remains.
The four films in Friday night’s program are from Macdonald’s “personal truth” short 1970s films exploring Vietnam, Attica and other topics. His film on Vietnam is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the films have been shown at MoMA, the Whitney Museum, the University of Chicago, Brooklyn Academy of Music and many other venues. Macdonald will introduce the films and hold a Q & A discussion afterward. The four films total 77 minutes.
On Saturday, May 18, Macdonald, who is also a film scholar, will introduce Grand Illusion, one of the great anti-war films of all time, directed by Jean Renoir, one of the great directors of all time. He will also take questions after the screening. In addition to his film making, Macdonald is the author of In Search of La Grande Illusion, a study of the great Renoir film being shown on Saturday night. Grand Illusion (1937) a prisoner-of-war escape movie, has been copied, but never equaled, by many later films. It is also a film masterpiece about war, peace, social class, prejudice and the meaning of friendship. Its stars include one of France’s greatest actors, Jean Gabin, as well as silent film director Erich Von Stroheim, who plays the aristocratic commandant of the German's prisoner camp. Grand Illusion has been called one of the 50 best films of world cinema, is listed as one of Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” and is included in 1001 Movies You Should See Before You Die. Orson Welles described it as one of two movies he would take with him on the ark — he didn’t name the second film.
Two more films remain in the Pothole Pictures spring season. Caddyshack, the immortal guilty pleasure comedy, featuring Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield, will be shown June 7-8. The final film of the series, on June 21-22, will be Finding Vivian Maier, a documentary about a woman who worked as a nanny and whose thousands of photographs were discovered — and became famous — only after her death. The film will be paired with a panel discussion by local photographers and a photo exhibit at the Mocha Maya’s coffee shop in Shelburne Falls.
Pothole Pictures is an ongoing community film series, offering classic and local-interest films to the community for over 20 years. It is a part of the organization promoting cultural and artistic events in historic Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls.
There will be free music each night starting at 7 pm, with the film at 7:30. On Friday night, the Kensington String Quartet will perform two short pieces by Haydn. On Saturday night, Dan Hale and the Frost Heaves will perform. Pothole Pictures films are shown in Memorial Hall (Town Hall) at 51 Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls. The historic 400-seat theater is heated, cooled and handicap accessible. Popcorn is still sold at the 1995 price of $1 per bag.