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DIA exterior at night
DIA exterior at night

Detroit Film Theatre at Detroit Institute of Arts Launches “DFT 101” Series - Classics of world cinema to be shown on select Saturday afternoons

Thursday, December 23, 2010

(Detroit)—The Detroit Film Theatre (DFT) at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) launches a new “DFT 101” film series on Jan. 15, 2011. The movies are essential classics of world cinema, presented on the big screen as their directors intended them to be seen. The matinees are at 4 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) and are free for DIA members, free with museum admission, and $5 for all others. The Detroit Film Theatre is sponsored by JP Morgan Chase.

Most movies will be introduced by DFT Curator Elliot Wilhelm, who places them in both an historic and aesthetic context. “The films shown in this ongoing series constitute many of the basic building blocks of the evolution of motion pictures,” says Wilhelm. “Seeing them together with the newer films that are presented at the DFT allows audiences to more fully appreciate the manner in which the language of cinema—which many of us have come to take for granted—continues to reinvent itself.”

Schedule for DFT 101
January 15 – F for Fake
(France/West Germany/Iran, 1973)
A perfect companion to the DIA’s Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries exhibition, Orson Welles’ dizzying, free-form documentary examines the thin, often invisible line between art and illusion, as well as the very nature of fakery. Centering on the “celebrated” art forger Elmyr de Hory and Clifford Irving, the debunked Howard Hughes biographer, Welles stuffs his cinematic grand illusion with ingeniously conceived diversions and digressions about the very nature of cinema and what it really means to “believe our own eyes.” This late work by Welles (a self-described "charlatan") will be introduced by Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA associate curator of European Paintings.

February 19 – Lust for Life (USA, 1956)
In his Oscar®-nominated performance, Kirk Douglas is physically and emotionally uncanny as the tormented Vincent van Gogh, whose life is chronicled from his ill-fated stint as a preacher to his artistic awakening, stormy friendship with Paul Gauguin (Anthony Quinn), commercial failure and subsequent psychological descent leading to his suicide in 1890. Director Vincente Minnelli brought vitality and intelligence to this project, using then-innovative camera techniques and a rich, appropriate color palate to vividly recreate van Gogh's paintings, and filming at the Dutch and French locations where van Gogh lived and worked. Presented in conjunction with the DIA’s Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries exhibition, the film is introduced by Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA associate curator of European Paintings.

March 19 – The Cameraman (USA/1928)
Perhaps the greatest physical comedian in film history, Buster Keaton reached a brilliant pinnacle with one of his last silent films and unquestionably one of his best. The plot involves a tintype photographer (Keaton) who gets into the newsreel business in pursuit of an attractive girl. The fact that complications compound fast and furious goes without saying. Watching the hilarious action happen everywhere from Chinatown to Yankee Stadium (a classic and memorable sequence) makes this brilliant marriage of visual invention and sheer slapstick one of silent cinema’s purest pleasures.

March 26 – The Battleship Potemkin (USSR, 1925)
This brilliant depiction of a 1905 mutiny over intolerable shipboard conditions—one that sparked many more uprisings, culminating in the Russian Revolution—virtually reinvented the art of film editing and redefined its power to overwhelm audiences. For the first time in decades, a definitive restoration of this classic can be seen on the big screen, complete with dozens of restored shots and title cards, as well a newly recorded version of Edmund Meisel’s rich, original orchestral score.

April 2 – Children of Paradise (France, 1945) 3 p.m.
Poetic realism reaches sublime heights with this witty tale of a woman loved by four men. Deftly entwining theater, literature, music, and design, the film resurrects the tumultuous world of 19th-century Paris, teeming with hucksters and aristocrats, thieves and courtesans, pimps and seers, as well as the seductive spectacle of the streets themselves. An incredible undertaking under any circumstances, this physically magnificent was filmed almost entirely in secret, practically under the noses of France’s Nazi occupiers. In French with English subtitles.

April 16 – Wings of Desire (Germany, 1987)
Damiel, an angel perched atop buildings high over Berlin, can hear the thoughts—fears, hopes, dreams—of the people living below. But when he falls in love with a beautiful trapeze artist, he is willing to give up his immortality and come back to earth to be with her, and to experience human sensations. Made shortly before the fall of the Berlin wall, this stunning tapestry of sounds and images, shot in shimmering black and white and color, is cinematic poetry of the highest order. In English, French and German with English subtitles.

April 23 – Tokyo Story (Japan/1953)
Tokyo Story follows an aging couple, Tomi and Sukichi, on their journey from their rural village to visit their two married children in bustling, postwar Tokyo. Their reception is disappointing: too busy to entertain them, their children send them off to a health spa. After Tomi falls ill, she and Sukichi return home, while the children, grief-stricken, hasten to be with her. From a simple tale unfolds one of the greatest of all Japanese films. In Japanese with English subtitles.

April 30 – Wooden Crosses (France, 1932)
This masterwork was hailed by the New York Times on its Paris release as “one of the great films in motion picture history.” Wooden Crosses, France’s answer to All Quiet on the Western Front, still stuns with its depiction of the travails of one French regiment during World War I. Using a masterful arsenal of film techniques, from haunting background images to jarring and revolutionary documentary-like camerawork in the film’s battle sequences, the movie is a pacifist work of enormous empathy and chilling power. In French with English subtitles.

For a complete schedule of the new DFT season, visit

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. For membership information call 313-833-7971.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. As the DIA celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2010, it does so with renewed commitment to its visitor-centered experience and to its mission of creating opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.
Programs are made possible in part with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Detroit.

Contact: Pamela Marcil 313-833-7899