The importance of the neighborhood arthouse cinema

Since graduating from college in 2008, I’ve lived in six different cities. Always for work. When researching a new city one of the first things I search for is the arthouse cinema. Okay, so maybe cost of living and crime are also up there but finding a community that also understands my love of film is very important to me. I currently live in Miami, Florida and I’m so grateful for Coral Gables Art Cinema.

Coral Gables Art Cinema makes me feel right at home. Not only do they play foreign and documentary films but they are also committed to showing classic movies. During my first week in Miami, the cinema was hosting a Preston Sturges week and I went to every screening. Not only did they show the films but they had an introduction by a passionate film fan. That’s nothing new but the man who introduced it was friendly, knowledgeable, and you could tell he wanted to be there. I love when passion for film just fills the room and it made being in a new city less scary.

Since then I’ve seen a 4K restoration of It Happened One Night and countless other classics, buzzed about Oscar worthy films that aren’t available in other theaters in my city, and even a Paul Henreid double feature that featured Casablanca on 35 mm where I had the opportunity to interview his daughter. There is always something interesting and unique happening at the bustling theater that’s in the heart of Miracle Mile. On March 21st, they will show a special 50th anniversary presentation of the romantic dramedy Two for the Road. This is a unique film in Audrey Hepburn’s oeuvre. Long gone is the ingenue, as Joanna Wallace, she’s an adult woman in a rocky 12-year-marriage with Albert Finney learning to cope with the growing indifferences between her and her husband.

This film is notable for its use of nonlinear storytelling. Before Pulp Fiction and Blue Valentine, Two for the Road is considered one of the first to use this method effectively. The film is directed by Stanley Donen, known for his work on numerous musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain and Funny Face as well as the ‘Hitchcock film the master of suspense didn’t direct’ Charade.  Donen is the last of the great golden age Hollywood directors. He will celebrate his 93rd birthday this year. On the surface, the film seems like a departure for both Donen and Hepburn but their charms make it work. It’s one of my favorite Hepburn performances because of her honesty. She always had it but here she uses it to add humanity to a complex woman. This may be the only character she portrayed that is both likeable and unlikeable at the same time.

This special screening of Two for the Road is an example of why I love Coral Gables Art Cinema. They’ll have sold out screenings of Casablanca but they’ll also fit lesser known classics into their schedule. I spoke with Associate Director Javier Chavez about the theater’s mission and what he told me is why I will continue to be a loyal patron.

“The interesting thing about films from the 1930s and so on is, in the same way that we talk about how foreign films aren’t so dissimilar to what we’re experiencing here in the U.S. is that their struggles are not that dissimilar to what we’re experiencing here in the present day. Many, many of those films have themes that are universal and in keeping that perspective we’re going to connect and that’s really important. Beyond that —these films laid the foundation for modern cinema. They invented new styles of editing, shooting, and acting. To not be able to show them to an audience in 2017, to not experience that on the big screen, the way they’re meant to be seen would be a tragedy. We value them for what they can teach us and we pride ourselves on being able to show them to new audiences and to ones revisiting them.”

Îf you live in Miami, you can catch Two for the Road at 7:00 pm on March 21st. You can purchase tickets here.

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