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Coming to DPAC: “The Classic 100”

Miko Malabute | Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Beginning Tuesday night, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the Department of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) will screen “The Classic 100,” a series of 100 important films, in chronological order to showcase the silver screen history. 

Ted Barron, senior associate director at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and film professor, said the series is a hybrid of previous projects in the department.

“[The Department of Film, Television and Theatre] has offered courses in film history,” Barron said. “We have had this public exhibition program that included ‘The Classic 100’ series. So what we have done is that we have brought the two together with a course that is focused on film history as an avenue to showcase some of the major films on ‘The Classic 100’ list.”

Combining the class with the public series is a new partnership between the department and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Barron said.

“It’s a new thing for us,” Barron said. “We’re excited because it gives us a chance to have much more consistency, [allowing us] dedicated times [for classic films].” 

All the films in the lineup of The Classic 100 consist of many international films that have been noted for their historical significance. The series will open its lineup of films with “The Last Laugh (Der Ietzte Mann)” a 1924 silent film directed by German director F.W. Murnau

The film is about a nameless doorman who is demoted to a washroom attendant and is shamed into sleeping into his workplace, where only a night watchman shows any sympathy towards him as he is shamefully rejected by his own family and ridiculed by his friends. Film critic Paul Rotha praised the film as able to stylistically establish itself “as an independent medium of expression.” A live score will accompany the film screening with a piano performance by a student in the music department. 

Moviegoers will also appreciate other big name films to star in this history-of-films lineup, including as a reissue of commercially successful 1937 French war film “La Grande Illusion,” directed by Jean Renoir. “La Grande Illusion” titled after the book of the same name written by British economist Norman Angell – is the story of two French prisoners of war who find common ground with other prisoners and even with a German guard. The film is generally regarded as one of the masterpieces of French cinema, and was ranked No. 35 on Empire Magazine’s “Top 100 Best Films of World Cinema” in 2010. “La Grande Illusion” will be an exception to the regular Tuesday night screenings for The Classic 100 film series, as it will be shown as a Sunday matinee Nov. 11.

“When we selected The Classic 100, we consulted with a variety of sources including the American Film Institute, the Toronto Film Festival and the Criterion Collection,” Barron said. “We tried to represent a range of international cinema as well films made during different periods in film history.”

The series will be an effective way to accomplish the course material, Barron said, as well as an avenue to informally educate the rest of the student body on the history of film.

 “Every Tuesday night, you can come out, you can see one of the great films in history,” Barron said.  “We’re excited to work with FTT to make this open to the public.  If this works out, the hope is we continue this next semester with History of Film II.  I hope that we can make the weekly series a regular event so students and other patrons can get a deeper sense of the richness of film history, which I believe leads to a greater immersion in contemporary cinema culture,” he added. 

The Classic 100 series will premiere at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. Admission is free for all Notre Dame students. 

Contact Miko Malabute at [email protected]