'Rocky' kicks off al fresco film festival

Movies: Free screenings in Little Italy capture the feel of Italian open-air theaters


July 02, 1999|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC

The Senator Theatre, in conjunction with the Little Italy Restaurant Association (LIRA) and the community of Little Italy, formally kicks off its open-air Italian film festival tonight with a screening of "Rocky" (1976), the Academy Award-winning underdog classic starring Sylvester Stallone and Burgess Meredith. Coming movies in the festival include "Il Postino," Federico Fellini's "Ginger and Fred" and "Cinema Paradiso."

Anyone lucky enough to attend the festival's dry run was reminded of the latter two weeks ago, when the Senator's Tom Kiefaber showed the classic "Heart and Soul," preceded by a wonderful short film starring Arturo Toscanini. Showing the 16 millimeter movies from a neighbor's spare bedroom across Stiles Street and projecting the films onto a 30-foot billboard over the DaMimmo's parking lot, Kiefaber elicited gasps from the audience -- seated on folding chairs on Stiles Street -- when the images first began to flicker across the screen.

Starting tonight, filmgoers will be seated in the parking lot itself. This viewer's recommendation: bring a comfortable lawn chair of your own, and treat yourself to a good, garlicky Italian meal in one of the area's eateries beforehand, just to get into the spirit of the thing.

The festival will be held at the intersection of High and Stiles streets through Sept. 3. Screenings are free and open to the public and begin at 9 p.m.

Command performance

Considering recent events in Congress, it's altogether appropriate that the National Gallery should screen Cecil B. DeMille's signature epic "The Ten Commandments" during the Fourth of July weekend, complete with live orchestral accompaniment.

Film music restorer Gillian B. Anderson will conduct a group of musicians, many from the National Symphony Orchestra, performing the original Hugo Riesenfeld score for the biblical epic, bringing to the East Coast the same reconstructed score that had its premiere at the reopening of Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood last year.

The screening will be held Saturday at 2: 30 p.m. in the auditorium of the National Gallery in Washington. The program is free and open to the public.

Show of animated classics

The 27th Annual Columbia Lakefront Summer Festival continues its Family Movie Night on Monday with a cartoon program of animated classics to be announced. Tom Brzezinski ("Mr. B") will present the program, which begins promptly at dusk. The Lakefront Summer Festival takes place on the lawn at the Columbia Town Center Lakefront (Lake Kittamaqundi), off Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. The movies are free and open to the public.

Summer films at Hopkins

The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Office of Cultural Affairs begins its annual summer film series on Wednesday. This year's theme: "When Cultures Collide."

The series' first offering will be "Stagecoach," John Ford's 1939 film starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor, about a group of passengers on a stagecoach that is attacked by bandits and Indians.

As an antidote to Ford's depiction of Native Americans as marauding savages, series curator Gabe Wardell will also present "Mass for the Dakota" (1963), avant-garde filmmaker Bruce Baillie's 20-minute meditation on the changing American landscape.

Jerome Christensen, Ph.D., Centennial Chair of English at Vanderbilt University, will be the evening's speaker.

"When Cultures Collide" will take place Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Preclinical Teaching Building, Mountcastle Auditorium, 725 Wolfe St. All films are free and open to the public. For more information, call 410-955-3363.

Rossellini's `Rome'

Also on Wednesday, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics kicks off its free summer film series with a screening of "Rome, Open City" (1945), Roberto Rossellini's neo-realist masterpiece set in Rome in the waning days of World War II. Screenings will be held Wednesdays through Aug. 11 at Lecture Hall IV on the UMBC campus. Films begin at 6: 30 p.m. For more information, call 410-455-2065.

WIFV to meet Thursday

Women in Film and Video of Maryland will hold an open membership meeting Thursday at Maryland Public Television, where a group of MPT executives will discuss programming, partnerships, promotion and free-lancing with PBS stations.

Panelists will include Jan Wilson Sr., senior vice president of marketing and development; Gail Long, vice president of education and telecommunications; Adele Rush, senior executive producer for regional productions; Kelli Green, producer of "MPT On Location," and Ellen Rubinson, director of national productions. Carol Wonsavage, director of marketing and publicity operations, will moderate.

The public is welcome for a donation of $10, and free to members of WIFV. Light refreshments will be served. Networking starts at 6 p.m., followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. The MPT studios are located at 11767 Owings Mills Boulevard, Owings Mills, Md. For more information, call the WIFV hot line at 410-685-FILM.

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