Black and White Film Festival opens Sept. 7 with landmark ‘The Bicycle Thief’


Don’t put those beach chairs away just yet. They’ll come in handy at the Fourth Annual Jim, Jerry and Marla’s Black and White Film Festival, which opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, just in time for the shorter days and warm fall evenings.

And if you didn’t make it to Italy this summer, it’s also your chance to get a taste of the Italian spirit. This year’s series has an all-Italian theme and features several art-house classics, all screened with English subtitles. First in the series is the landmark neorealist drama The Bicycle Thief, which won a special Academy Award as “most outstanding foreign film” seven years before that Oscar category existed. Directed by Vittorio DeSica, The Bicycle Thief is set amidst the rubble of post-war Rome and is the story of a man and his son on a desperate hunt for a stolen bicycle that is key to the family’s economic survival.

The film series continues with 8 p.m. screenings for several Fridays (with a mid-September break for the Big Orange Book Festival) and includes:

  • Sept. 14, Umberto D., another DeSica film, this one a poignant drama about an aging civil servant who struggles to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic boom.
  • Sept. 28, 8 ½, an autobiographical film by Federico Fellini about the trials and tribulations of filmmaking, directed by the master himself.
  • Oct. 19, “Rome, Open City,” a Roberto Rossellini drama using a documentary style and non-professional actors to tell the story of a brave few who struggled against the Nazi occupation of Rome.
  • Oct. 26, “Diabolique,” considered a benchmark of horror filmmaking. This thriller from Henri-Georges Clouzot shocked Europe when it debuted with its murderous tale of love and revenge.

All films will be screened outdoors on the Attallah Piazza, and admission is free. Free movie popcorn and candy included.

Dawn Bonker

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