posted August 25, 2009

Knickerbocker Theatre’s Fall Film Series Begins Aug. 31

The Hope College Knickerbocker Theatre continues its tradition of showing the best in independent and foreign films with the announcement of its fall film series.

The series begins Monday, Aug. 31, and will feature four films through November:  "Easy Virtue," "Seraphine," "The Class" and "Lemon Tree."

The series will open with the English film "Easy Virtue" showing Monday-Thursday, Aug. 31-Sept. 3, and Saturday, Sept. 5, at 7:30 p.m. The film version of the Noel Coward play features Colin Firth ("The Girl with the Pearl Earring," "Bridget Jones' Diary"), Jessica Biel ("The Illusionist"), Kristin Scott Thomas ("The Other Boleyn Girl," "The English Patient"), and Ben Barnes ("The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian").

John Whittaker, a young Englishman, falls madly in love with Larita, a glamorous American woman, and they marry impetuously.  However, when the couple returns to the family home, his mother is unhappy with union and works to undermine it. Larita quickly realizes Mrs. Whittaker's game and sees that she must fight back if she wants to keep John. A battle of wits ensues and sparks soon fly.

The French film "Seraphine" will show on Monday-Saturday, Sept. 28-Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m. The film is the true story of Séraphine Louis, aka Séraphine de Senlis (Yolande Moreau), a simple and profoundly devout housekeeper who in 1905 at age 41, self-taught and with the instigation of her guardian angel, began painting brilliantly colorful canvases. In 1912, Wilhelm Uhde (Ulrich Tukur), a German art critic and collector, discovered her paintings while she worked for him as a maid. Uhde became her patron and grouped her work with other naïve painters - the so-called "Sacred Heart Painters" - with acclaimed shows in Paris, elsewhere in Europe and eventually at New York's MOMA. Director Martin Provost builds his story around the relationship between the avant-garde art dealer and the visionary cleaning lady, forging a testament to the mysteries of creativity and the resilience of one woman's spirit.

A sleeper hit in France, "Seraphine" went on to a surprise win as the Best Picture and with a Best Actress award for Yolande Moreau along with five other awards at the 2009 Cesars, the French equivalent of the Academy Awards.

The film is in French with English subtitles.

The Academy Award-nominated and 2008 Cannes Film Festival winner of the Palme D'Or, "The Class," will show on Monday-Saturday, Oct. 19-24, at 7:30 p.m. An absorbing journey into a multicultural high school in Paris over the course of a school year, the film features Francois Begaudeau, a teacher and the author upon whose work the film was based. He and his fellow teachers prepare for a new year at a high school in a tough neighborhood. Armed with the best intentions, they brace themselves not to let discouragement stop them from trying to give the best education to their students. Cultures and attitudes often clash in the classroom, a microcosm of contemporary France. As amusing and inspiring as the teenaged students can be, their difficult behavior can still jeopardize any teacher's enthusiasm for the low-paying job.

The film is in French with English subtitles.

The film series ends with "Lemon Tree" showing Monday-Friday, Nov. 16-20, at 7:30 p.m.  Winner of the Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival and Best Actress prize (Hiam Abbass) at the Israeli Film Academy Awards, "Lemon Tree" is an engaging human drama of one woman's struggle to preserve her way of life in the midst of political turmoil. Hiam Abbass ("The Visitor") is Salma, a Palestinian widow who earns her living tending to her late father's lemon grove. When an Israeli government minister moves next door and declares the grove a potential security threat, Salma struggles to defend her peaceful livelihood. Personal drama gives way to political controversies as Salma forms an unexpected bond with the minister's lonely wife (Rona Lipaz-Michael), and takes her protest, with the help of her young lawyer (Ali Suliman, "Paradise Now"),  all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court.

The film is in Arabic, Hebrew, and English with English subtitles.

Tickets are $6 for regular admission and $5 for students and senior citizens, and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the ticket office in the front lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890.

The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.  The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in downtown Holland at 86 E. Eighth St., between College and Columbia avenues.