BABE is celebrating its 25th anniversary year!?! (We couldn’t believe it either.) As Roger Ebert wrote about this unique and amazing film, “BABE is a movie made with charm and wit, and unlike some family movies it does not condescend, not for a second. It believes it is OK to use words a child might not know…and instead of the usual contrived melodrama of most kids’ pictures, this one develops a story that depends on the character and upbringing of the animals involved. It knows things, and teaches lessons.” Enuf said!
Australia / 1995 / in English / 91 min / All Ages
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG has been charming audiences for 50 years! To mark its anniversary, PCFF introduces a new generation to this classic Ian Fleming story and Roald Dahl screenplay that takes us to faraway lands, introduces us to characters named Truly Scrumptious, Caractacus Potts, and the vehicular star, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! To those that may wonder, just what is a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Well it’s the name of a “fine four-fendered friend” who can fly, float, and drive by itself. Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes croon the most memorable songs one movie can possibly contain. Van Dyke quipped, “We’re going to out-Disney Disney!” and the film ultimately received a nomination for an Oscar, two Golden Globes and a Grammy.
Consistently ranked among the greatest films ever made, Buster Keaton’s THE GENERAL continues to inspire awe and laughter with every viewing. Rejected by the Confederate army and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), young Johnny Gray (Keaton) is given a chance to redeem himself when Yankee spies steal his cherished locomotive (“The General”). Johnny wages a one-man war against hijackers, an errant cannon and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails.
Once dubbed “the most famous man in the world,” Charlie Chaplin has long been recognized as one of the preeminent icons of both comedy and cinema. From 1914 until 1967, Chaplin wrote, directed, produced and starred in more than 80 films, quickly advancing from basic slapstick to a unique comic style: immaculately constructed, deeply human, and always hilarious. “Modern Times” is one of his most acclaimed works that can make a child (or the child in us) laugh with abandon while truly empathizing with his iconic character, the down-and-out Tramp.
Because of its cultural significance, “Modern Times” was selected by the Library of Congress in 1989 for preservation in the National Film Registry.
One of the most famous shots in silent comedy: a man in a straw hat and horn-rimmed glasses, hanging from the minute hand of a clock 12 stories above the street – and yet not many people have seen “Safety Last!” The comic genius of silent star Harold Lloyd is eternal. Chaplin is the innocent Tramp, Keaton the stoic outsider, but Lloyd—the modern guy striving for success—is us. With its torrent of perfectly executed gags and astonishing stunts, “Safety Last!” is the perfect introduction to this luminary of the silent era.
Played at 2014 PCFF to celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of Japan’s masterpieces of animation.
One of the most endearing and internationally renowned films of all time, a film that Roger Ebert called “one of the five best movies” ever made for children, “My Neighbor Totoro” is a deceptively simple tale of Satsuki and Mei, two young girls who move with their father to the countryside while their mother convalesces in a nearby hospital. They soon discover that the surrounding forests are home to a family of Totoros, gentle but powerful creatures who live in a huge and ancient camphor tree and are seen only by children. Based on Miyazaki’s own childhood imaginings, Totoros look like oversized pandas with bunny ears, the largest of which takes the girls on spinning-top rides through the tree tops, introduces them to a furry, multi-pawed Catbus—a nod to Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat—and ultimately brings the two much closer together as sisters.
Beneath the film’s playfulness and narrative simplicity lie depths of wisdom. As with much of Miyazaki’s work, at its core “My Neighbor Totoro” is about humankind’s relationship to the Earth. The film is infused with an almost spiritual reverence for the power of nature (a philosophy tied to the ancient Shinto belief that every object in nature has a soul). Everything that surrounds us, from light-dappled tree groves, to the marvelous clouds, echoes the density and lusciousness of life. Protected by the Totoros, we know no harm will come to our two heroines in the forest’s sunlit glades and mysterious shadows. The girls may be awed by the power and majesty around them, but they understand instinctively that nature has no malice. The viewer is left with a sense of wonder at the beauty, mystery and preciousness of the world all around us.
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN has been voted one of the greatest films of all time in international critics’ polls. There are other contenders: Top Hat, Swing Time, An American in Paris, Oklahoma, and West Side Story, but SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN stands above the rest because it is not only from Hollywood, it is about Hollywood. This 1952 musical offers a comical depiction of the American movie business caught up in the bumpy transition from silent films to “talkies”. A modest hit when first released, it eventually became legendary. Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen.