Mark Schenker continues “How to Read a Film” series on screwball comedies with “The Awful Truth” on Sun., Nov. 17, at 2 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns this time to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

The second lecture with film in this series will be on Sun., Nov. 17. The series skips Nov. 24 and winds up on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series continues on Nov. 17 with the 1937 movie “The Awful Truth.” (The series began with the 1934 “It Happened One Night” on Nov. 10.)

Schenker will consider three such films from the “classic” period of the genre, and then turn to a masterpiece of the form from the late 1950’s, when its heyday had passed. The remaining schedule:

Nov 17, 2 PM: The Awful Truth (1937)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

From Bosley Crowther’s 1937 New York Times review of “The Awful Truth”:

To be frank, “The Awful Truth” is awfully unimportant, but it is also one of the more laughable screen comedies of 1937, a fairly good vintage year. Its comedy is almost purely physical- like that of the old Avery Hopwood stage farces- with only here and there a lone gag to interrupt the pure poetry of motion, yet its unapologetic return to the fundamentals of comedy seems, we repeat, original and daring.

Its obvious success with a modern audience is also rather disquieting. Just when it began to appear that an excellent case had finally been made out for spoken wit and adultness of viewpoint on the screen, the mercurial Mr. McCarey, who only a few months ago saddened us to the point of tears with his “Make Way for Tomorrow,” shocks us with a comedy in which speech is subsidiary, and maturity exists only to be deflated into abject juvenility.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker launches next “How to Read a Film” series on great screwball comedies Sun., Nov. 10, at 2 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns this time to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

All four lectures will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, Nov. 10. The second lecture will be on Sun., Nov. 17. The series skips Nov. 24 and winds up on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series kicks off with the 1934 multiple Oscar-winning “It Happened One Night.”

Schenker will consider three such films from the “classic” period of the genre, and then turn to a masterpiece of the form from the late 1950’s, when its heyday had passed. The schedule:

Nov 10, 2 PM: It Happened One Night (1934)

Nov 17, 2 PM: The Awful Truth (1937)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

Roger Ebert’s capsule take on “It Happened One Night,” from 2009:

The surprise success of “It Happened One Night” made Frank Capra one of the screen’s top directors and provided the prototype for a decade of screwball comedies. Romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally…” and “The Sure Thing” draw on the rapid banter, outrageous comic situations and sexy road trip of “It Happened One Night.” The movie even provided inspiration for one of the screen’s most enduring characters, Bugs Bunny.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

 

Film Screening & Director Q&A: Best Video and NHDocs present “Shift Change: The Future of Community Policing” Mon., Nov. 4, at 7 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center and NHdocs: The New Haven Documentary Film Festival present a screening of Steve Hamm’s documentary film “Shift Change” on Monday, Nov. 4, at 7 PM. Admission is a suggested donation of $7.

“Shift Change: The Future of Community Policing” in New Haven documentary: at a time when the United States is sharply divided over the use of force by police, New Haven practices an approach called community policing. The goal is to foster trust and open communications, and to avoid excessive force. At its core, community policing is about attitude—police officers who have a public service mentality, who empathize with the people, and who exhaust all alternatives before making arrests and using force. There are lessons here for police—and the people—in cities all across the country.

Writer and director Steve Hamm will be on hand to discuss the making of the film and the issues it raises.

Children’s music: Robert Messore brings his Toddler Tunes to Best Video Sat., Nov. 2, 10:30 AM

Robert Messore brings his Toddler Tunes kids’ music show to Best Video Performance Space Saturday, Nov. 2. The event starts at 10:30 AM.

There’s a suggested donation of $5-10 per family but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.

Robert Messore puts on a high-energy sing-and-dance-along program for young children and their parents. Voted “Best Entertainer for Toddlers” in the 2011 Kidhaven.com readers poll, Messore’s public “Toddler Tunes” program at St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Haven is the place to be every week! The songs are a mix of the classics and some newer songs that folks love. He recognizes that these programs are a place for parents to get together as much as anything, so he encourages folks with newborns through 6-yr-old children to attend.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Halloween Night at Best Video! 6-8:30 PM

Let Best Video Film & Cultural Center be your headquarters for Halloween Night!

We’ll be setting up in the front parking lot along with the Hamden Police Department to help you have a safe and fun night of Trick or Treating in Spring Glen. Popcorn, apple cider and donuts will be served as well as some family friendly spookiness on the TV. C’mon in with the kids or just hang out and have a coffee, beer or wine while little monsters haunt the neighborhood.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Sign up now for Best Cookie Contest, part of Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s Nov. 16 Anniversary Open House & Fundraising Extravaganza

On Saturday, November 16, 2019, Best Video Film and Cultural Center (BVFCC), celebrating its fourth anniversary, will host its BVFCC Anniversary Open House & Fundraising Extravaganza—a full day of festivity, pageantry, and fun for all ages. As part of that event, we will be hosting a Best Cookie Contest, set to occur from 1-4 PM.

Up to 16 bakers will be competing for the Best Cookie. If you want to be one of the bakers, send an email with the subject “Cookie” to bvfcc [at] bestvideo.com. Include your name, phone and type of cookie. The first 16 bakers to email us to sign up will be part of the contest. You will be emailed with full details once you sign up.

Want to be a taster? There’s no need to sign up—just come to Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s Sat., Nov. 16, Open House & Fundraiser, get a ballot for $2, and vote for your favorite cookies.

We have some great prizes for the winners. Any kind of cookie is welcome!

This year’s Best Video student art contest announced, submissions due Mon., Nov. 4

Best Video Film & Cultural Center (BVFCC) announces a student art contest as part of the celebration of its fourth anniversary as a nonprofit organization and in conjunction with its Anniversary Open House & Fundraising Extravaganza, which takes place Saturday, Nov. 16, from 9 AM-9 PM. Winners in four age categories—Kindergarten to 3rd grade, 4th through 6th grade, 7th through 8th grade and grades 9-12—will receive a $100 prize.

The deadline for submitting artwork is 6 PM, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.

All submissions must be on 8 ½”x11″ paper and deal with either a movie- or music-related theme. They can be in color or black and white. They can be drawings, paintings, collage or any other flat, two-dimensional medium.

Prizes will be $100 in each age category. The Grand Prize winner will be published as the centerfold of BVFCC’s Open House program book. The other three winners will also appear in the book.

The rest of the submissions will be on display at the gala on November 16. Originals will be on display if space is available. If there is not enough space, the submissions will be displayed via video.

BVFCC has been running the former Best Video as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization since November, 2015. The organization’s mission is to “bring film, music and people together.”

Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wed., Oct. 9, at 7 PM

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, Oct. 9, starting at 7 PM. Admission is a Suggested Donation of $3-5 to support BVFCC. Poet Karen Ponzio (aka KP The Word) — who writes for the New Haven Independent and has a show on Cygnus RADIO — is the host for this show.

The sign-up sheet will be put out at 6:45 PM in order for prospective performers who haven’t been able to get here earlier to have a chance at performing slots. No sign-ups will be taken before 6:45.

Each slot is 10 minutes or two songs (whichever is shorter) with a 5-minute break between each performer. We have a total of 10 slots from 7-9:30 PM if people use their maximum time. We will play it by ear after that with any “extra” performers getting time as available in order of signing the sheet. While 9:30 PM is the official cut-off time, we may at our discretion continue with performers up to 10 PM.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Support Paint Hamden Pink fight against breast cancer through purchases at Best Video cafe Fri., Oct. 4

Come visit Best Video Film & Cultural Center anytime on Oct. 4 and for every cafe purchase, they will donate 10% of the sales to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer as part of Paint Hamden Pink.

Paint Hamden Pink’s statement:

Breast cancer is a cause that is personal to so many people at our company. That’s why we’re joining the nation’s largest network of breast cancer events – the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. We’ll raise money and awareness and together we can continue to save lives.

The American Cancer Society is an important resource for women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer. We owe it to those women to support the organization that does more than any other for them by funding innovative research and providing free information and services.

We are proud to be participating in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and thrilled about the difference that our associates and their families are making to save lives from breast cancer.

Mark Schenker’s “How to Read a Film” series on film noir masterpieces concludes Sun., July 14, with 1984’s “Blood Simple,” the debut Coen Brothers film

In this eighth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, has been presenting four lectures on “A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces.” The lectures have been held on consecutive Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, June 23. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series concludes Sunday, June 14, with a focus on the 1984 debut film by the Coen Brothers, “Blood Simple.”

“A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces” has featured works by four directors who are new to Mark Schenker’s presentations at Best. In movies that range from the early talkie “M” by German director Fritz Lang (explored June 23) through two Hollywood films of the classic noir period of the 1940’s-50’s, through the neo-noir of the Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple,” the series covers more than a half-century of noir and showcases the acting talents (in addition to the 26-year-old Lorre in the afore-mentioned “M”) of Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frances McDormand and the great character actor M. Emmet Walsh.

From Janet Maslin’s 1984 review of “Blood Simple” in The New York Times:

Black humor, abundant originality and a brilliant visual style make Joel Coen’s ”Blood Simple” a directorial debut of extraordinary promise. Mr. Coen, who co-wrote the film with his brother Ethan, works in a film noir style that in no way inhibits his wit, which turns out to be considerable. This is a film in which a dying man, mistakenly shot by a woman who cannot see him (and who meant to kill someone else), can hear her shout one more insult at the intended victim – and answer her, ”Well, ma’am, if I see him I’ll sure give him the message.”

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.