Best Video founder Hank Paper presents 5-film series starting Tues., May 31

Best Video founder Hank Paper returns to Best Video Film & Cultural Center to present a series “5 Great Films You Might Have Missed During the Pandemic — Or Should See Again and Discuss!” (Not Executive Director Hank Hoffman, who hasn’t left yet!)

Hank Paper founded Best Video in 1985 with 500 movies he could wholeheartedly recommend. In this series—which begins on Tues., May 31, and runs for five consecutive Tuesdays—he screens 1/100th that many movies but still ones that he thinks you need to see! Each screening starts at 7:15 PM and admission is $7. (Thanks to Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic, admission for members of Temple Beth Sholom is free.)

“These are the films that affected me the most during the last couple of years,” Hank Paper says. There will be 2-3 minutes of intro followed by the film on our large screen and a brief discussion for those who wish to stay and discuss.

May 31: Woman at War

For those who always wanted to go to Iceland, here’s your chance to see it in this thrilling Icelandic film about a woman, who longs to adopt a child, but instead wages single-handed war against Iceland’s environmentally destructive aluminum industry. Iceland’s beautiful setting underscores the stakes of the story—and offers one of the cleverest endings of any film.

June 7: One Night in Miami

What do 4 Black icons talk about in a hotel room in Miami? In the aftermath of his surprising knockout of Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali meets with three friends (Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke) in a motel room to celebrate his win and discuss each’s trajectory and obligations in the crosshairs of history. Beautifully and inspiringly acted (Cooke’s songs are not only thrillingly entertaining but cleverly figure in the climax of the story), what could have been simply exploitative turns out to be thought-provoking and profound. Director Regina King’s powerful, multi-award-winning tour-de-force—a fictionalization of a real meeting, based on a 2013 play by Kemp Powers—couldn’t come at a better time. This is history written in lightning.

June 14: Sound of Metal

…is not at all about the Punk Rock scene (it actually contains a most delicately sensitive and interesting soundscape) but about love and spiritual healing and people you’ll care about. This unique film features an unforgettable Oscar-nominated performance by Riz Ahmed in a profound journey that is rarely seen in film. In our world of sensory overload, you’ll find an oasis of surcease (so come to watch and relax!)

June 21: The Last Suit

An 88-year-old tailor runs away from his family’s plans for him, deciding instead to return a suit to an old friend that, 45 years earlier, saved his life as an escapee from a concentration camp. He doesn’t know if his friend is still alive or where he lives, and vows not to arrive there by crossing Germany. How is all this possible? This film about one man’s idiosyncratic stubbornness and the kindness of strangers is unforgettable.

June 28: Pig

If “Moonstruck,” “Raising Arizona,” and his Oscar-winning starring role in “Leaving Las Vegas” didn’t make you a Nicholas Cage fan, this film will. In this unconventional love story of a man and his pig, Cage plays a hermit whose beloved truffle-foraging pig is kidnapped, forcing him to return to Portland, Oregon seeking to get him back. You might expect another throw-away Cage revenge film but—not at all. Instead, you will find yourself on a profound spiritual odyssey exploring issues of authenticity, celebrity, gourmet cuisine, and the grace of finding something you truly care about. And—instead of the realist acting style so pervasive today—you will discover, in Cage, the deep, emotional, performative acting of a latter-day Marlon Brando. This is my favorite film of the year.

Support for this series has been provided to Best Video Film & Cultural Center from Connecticut Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

The series is also sponsored by Temple Beth Sholom. TBS members may attend free.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.