Saturday, June 18, 2022, 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Instructor: Paul Wright, Ph.D., Writing and Narrative Arts, Cabrini University
On most lists of the best American films, be they made by critics, fans, or those in the industry, Citizen Kane and The Godfather (1972) reliably take two of the top spots. This is hardly surprising, as the films have a fair amount in common. Each was nominated for numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture (though Kane did not win the top prize); each is considered to be a sterling exemplar of cinematic storytelling and a compendium of finely executed film techniques; each evoked the ire of its (perceived) real-world inspirations—William Randolph Hearst in the case of Kane and certain Italian Americans for The Godfather; and each tells a uniquely American tale of Shakespearean grandeur while painting a revealing portrait of our nation, flaws and all, complete with fleeting moments of earnest nostalgia.
Yet, unlike Orson Welles’s masterpiece, co-screenwriter/director Francis Ford Coppola’s indelible film was incredibly popular upon its release, and retains its audience appeal across demographic boundaries after 50 years. In adapting the original novel by co-screenwriter Mario Puzo, one of Coppola’s guiding instincts was to transmute the material from its pulp origins into a kind of King Lear analog with the trappings of an organized-crime tale. The result is at once a paragon of genre excellence, a cultural touchstone, and a withering commentary on the American family under capitalism. A prime example of the “New Hollywood” movement, Coppola’s film realized the potential of Hollywood cinema to be genuine yet unapologetically popular art.
This seminar will explore the epic’s cinematic, historical, and cultural significance by moving from the early days of the troubled production to the film’s uniquely enduring cultural legacy. Join us, for we’ve surely made you an offer you can’t refuse.
Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Additional showtimes can be found here.
Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those who attend the seminar on site at BMFI receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink.
Please note: There are two ways to attend in this seminar:
Please email BMFI Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.