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David Lean’s classics to be presented in BIG ARTS Film Series

By Staff | Mar 9, 2010

British writer/director David Lean will be the focus of this year's BIG ARTS Film Series, which begins on March 24 and concludes on April 14. Admission is $5 per film.

In March and April, BIG ARTS will present their annual “Director Series,” again hosted by Sanibel resident Sid Picker.

The director chosen for this year’s series is the British writer/director David Lean, who contributed to a plethora of highly successful films of varying genres – both in the United Kingdom and Hollywood – over the course of a long career. Acclaimed and praised by directors such as Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick, Lean has four films in the top 11 of the British Film Institute’s Top 100 British Films.

Picker will lead an educational discussion before and after the screening focused on the director and his classic films.

The series opens with the 1945 classic “Brief Encounter” on Wednesday, March 24 at 1 p.m. Break out the handkerchiefs for this Oscar nominee, a wondrously warm and weepy story of an unconsummated love affair between two married, middle-class, middle-aged people. The screenplay was adapted and based on a short one-act stage play by Nol Coward, and features Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

“Hobson’s Choice,” winner of the British Film Institute “Best Film” award of 1954, will be shown on Wednesday, March 31 at 1 p.m. Charles Laughton delivers a bravura performance as a self-important alcoholic bootmaker who attempts to dictate his daughter’s choice of husband, only to find that she marries his downtrodden and simpleminded employee and starts a rival business.

“Summertime” is a variant on Lean’s middle-age romance theme. A school teacher, played by Katharine Hepburn, spends her summer in Italy. Her lack of romantic experience makes her insatiably vulnerable to the lush beauty around her, and leaves her wide open to the charms of a handsome Italian man. So intoxicated is Jane by their whirlwind affair that she is reluctant to relinquish her new love, even after discovering that he is married and has a family.

A touching performance by Hepburn and stunning Technicolor scenes of Venice make “Summertime” an enchanting classic. Lean won a Best Director Oscar nomination for his effort. It will be shown at BIG ARTS on Wednesday, April 7 at 1 p.m.

“Lawrence of Arabia” will be shown Wednesday, April 14 from 1 to 5 p.m. Winner of seven Oscars in 1963, “Lawrence of Arabia” is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema. Filled with sweeping battle sequences and breathtaking action, this big-screen epic brought Peter O’Toole to stardom. The film is about the adventures and trials that transform Lawrence into a legendary man of the desert and his emotional struggles with the violence of war.

Films will be shown with surround sound in high definition using a high-quality screen and projector in Schein Hall. A sound-enhancement system for the hearing impaired is available. Mini-series film tickets are $5 each.

For the complete listing of BIG ARTS films, to purchase tickets, to sign up for workshops or to become a member, stop by BIG ARTS, located at 900 Dunlop Road, call 395-0900, e-mail info@BIGARTS.org or log on to www.BIGARTS.org.