Posted by: Necci – Feb 10, 2012
40 years ago, on February 11, 1972, The Biograph Theatre, located on W. Grace St. in The Fan, opened its doors for the first time. To celebrate that theatre's 15-year run, the James River Film Society will be holding a 40th Anniversary Party and Film Screening tomorrow night at the VCU Grace Street Theatre, at 934 W. Grace St. The building which housed the Biograph Theatre still stands at 814 W. Grace St. It is unoccupied and unusable in its present condition, so the 40th anniversary event is being held at the Grace Street Theatre, which is one block west of what was the Biograph's location (1972-87). The event will consist of a double feature presenting two classics of cinema art, Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (1960) and David Miller's Lonely Are The Brave (1962).
At 7 p.m.: Breathless (1960): B&W. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg. Note: An opportunistic car thief on the run becomes irresistible to a pretty American journalism student in Paris. Uh-oh, the guy is dangerous. How long can their star-crossed tryst last?
At 9:20 p.m.: Lonely Are the Brave (1962): B&W. Directed by David Miller. Cast: Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau. Note: To help his friend, a free-spirited cowboy flings himself recklessly at the hobbling effects of modernity … then tries desperately to escape the trap he set for himself.
Breathless did much to launch the French New Wave. In part, it was inspired by American low budget film noir pictures from the 1940’s and ’50s. Lonely Are the Brave, with its screenplay by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, was an apt American reaction to the artsy European films of that era; Hollywood’s better angels, perhaps.
Why, you might ask, does the James River Film Society care to celebrate a 40-year-old movie theater that's been closed longer than it was open? The answer is simple: community. During its run, the Biograph was at the epicenter of Richmond culture – film, art, music and community. In this age of Netflix streaming and watching movies on iPhones and tablets, film seems more accessible. That said, it can be difficult to find the films that have an original voice, a differing viewpoint, something to say, or a new way to say it.
Admission to the event is $20. Advance tickets are available at the Harrison Street Coffee Shop, Plan 9 Music and the Video Fan. Tickets can also be purchsed online HERE.