A Fine Romance
February 1 - March 4
In honor of the month when Valentine's Day falls, we present a series of ten movies devoted to romance, courtship, and falling in love. From a basketball court in L.A. to the top of the Eiffel Tower to a windy Scottish isle to the streets of Rome, these films show that love indeed makes the world go 'round.
SATURDAY DOUBLE-BILL DISCOUNT!
Buy a ticket at our regular prices for the first A Fine Romance film on any Saturday in February, and get a ticket for the second A Fine Romance film that day at the discounted rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second film only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)
Make this the perfect Valentine’s Day date by enjoying a meal for two at Stock And Ledger—and receive 20% off your meal when you present your ticket stub!
Love & Basketball
2000, Gina Prince-Bythewood, USA, 124 min.
With Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps
"It's a turn-on and a heart-stopper…the most passionate, clear-sighted movie ever made about women in sports, but, as the title proudly proclaims, it's also a film about love."—Amy Taubin, Village Voice
"Stylishly shot and bursting with visual and sexual energy, this is confident black women's filmmaking and an eloquent tribute to the girl with the permanently grazed knees."—Susan Sharpe, Time Out London
The title says it all. Gina Prince-Bythewood's dazzling debut is a milestone among sports films, and a milestone among Black screen romances. It emphasizes the love over the basketball, and the female point-of-view over the male, but without short-changing the other side in either case. The story covers roughly a dozen years in the relationship between Monica (Lathan) and Quincy (Epps), next-door neighbors since childhood, both nurturing hoop dreams. Quincy, the son of an NBA star (Dennis Haysbert), has been groomed for glory, while Monica has to struggle during an era when opportunities for women are limited. A b-ball wannabe and track star in college, Prince-Bythewood knows how to capture the intensity of competition, but she also takes time to develop the characters (including the parents) off-court, resulting in a film of uncommon emotional depth. Executive produced by Spike Lee; music by Terence Blanchard. 35mm. (MR)
If Beale Street Could Talk
2018, Barry Jenkins, USA, 119 min.
With KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King
"A timeless romance...A great American novel has been turned into a great American film."—Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
"An absolutely gorgeous movie...a testament to love and survival as ecstatic as it is heartbreaking."—Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
At its heart, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is a tender and lyrical love story. Based on James Baldwin's novel and set in 1970s Harlem, it centers on Tish (Layne) and Fonny (James), whose burgeoning romance is captured in the sensual, impressionistic style that director Jenkins and cinematographer James Laxton developed in their Oscar-winning MOONLIGHT. But this is a love story that is deeply embedded in the larger contexts of racial injustice and African American family life. The latter provides the basis for two of the film's great set pieces, first in a delicate scene in which Tish reveals her pregnancy to her family, and later in a raucous confrontation with Fonny's disapproving parents and sisters. Seen in glowing flashbacks, Tish and Fonny's romance is framed by present-day scenes in which she visits him in prison, where he has been incarcerated on a trumped-up rape charge. A great ensemble cast is headed up by Regina King (Watchmen), who won an Oscar for her performance as Tish's fiercely supportive mother. DCP digital. (MR)
1939, Ernst Lubitsch, USA, 110 min.
With Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas
"Delicate flirtation and political satire made into a perfect whole, and a reminder of skills that studio writers have largely lost."—Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
In Lubitsch’s most famous film, Garbo satirizes her own saturnine image as a straitlaced Russian envoy who journeys to Paris to fetch back three straying commissars (Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Alexander Granach) but finds herself succumbing to capitalism, champagne, and a charmingly decadent Count (Douglas). Avoiding simplistic politics, Lubitsch (along with screenwriters Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, and Walter Reisch) tweaks both the self-indulgent West and the self-righteous East, with laughter and romance working together to rewrite ideology. 35mm. (MR)
1936, George Stevens, USA, 103 min.
With Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore
"The best of the Astaire-Rogers films...the climactic “Never Gonna Dance” number may be the high point of the Astaire-Rogers partnership."—Roger Ebert
Director George Stevens's romantic style, lush with glittering lights and falling snowflakes, has made SWING TIME many fans' favorite in the Astaire-Rogers series of classic musicals. The plot, even more inconsequential than usual, faces Fred with choices between dancing and gambling, and between rich fiancée Betty Furness and dance partner Ginger. The Jerome Kern score gives the duo a great elegant number ("Waltz in Swing Time") and a great comic one ("A Fine Romance"), as well as a sensational solo for Astaire (the Bill Robinson tribute, "Bojangles of Harlem"). 35mm. (MR)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
1964, Jacques Demy, France, 91 min.
With Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo
“Incomparable....Surely one of the most romantic films ever made.”—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"A glorious romantic confection unlike any other in movie history."—Hal Hinson, Washington Post
Demy's unique experiment in all-singing, no-dancing narrative packs a devastating emotional punch beneath its charming surface. In the rainy coastal town of Cherbourg, the daughter (Deneuve) of an umbrella-shop owner falls in love with an auto mechanic (Castelnuovo), but the Algerian War intervenes. The colors may be candy and the dialogue sung, but, as Jonathan Rosenbaum noted in his four-star Reader review, Demy's feeling for the rhythms and rituals of everyday life rivals Ozu's. In French with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
1995, Richard Linklater, USA, 101 min.
With Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
“Watching this movie is like falling in love.” — Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune.
“This film belongs among the dozen or so that exemplify ‘cinema’ at its finest.” — Robin Wood, Cineaction.
In his third film, Linklater blazed a new path for modern screen romance (LOST IN TRANSLATION is hugely indebted to it) while drawing gracefully on the grand tradition of BRIEF ENCOUNTER and AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER. Meeting by chance on a train from Budapest, American backpacker Jesse (Hawke) and Parisian student Celine (Delpy) decide to spend the night wandering through Vienna before his plane departs the next morning. As they walk, talk, flirt, fantasize, and mingle with the poets, punks, cafes, and Ferris wheels of Vienna, their brief time together becomes haunted by a sense of what might have been and what still might be. DCP digital. (MR)
1953, William Wyler, USA, 119 min.
With Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck
"Witty, warm and beautifully filmed, it remains an unabashed romantic delight, with Hepburn particularly luminescent."—David Parkinson, Empire
Audrey Hepburn made one of the most sensational debuts in screen history, winning an Academy Award for her first starring role. In this modern-day fairy tale (reputedly based on a real-life experience of Britain’s Princess Margaret…but also remarkably similar to the reel-life model of Frank Capra’s IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT), a cooped-up princess on an Italian tour runs away from her royal duties and into the arms of an American newsman (Peck), who must choose between a career-making scoop and a risky romance. 4K DCP digital. (MR)
I Know Where I'm Going!
1945, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, UK, 91 min.
With Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey
"A superlative film, I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! is as romantic as they come and twice as deep."—Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant
"I’m 100 percent head-over-heels in love, in the bag, in the tank and in a state of perpetual cinematic gratitude for I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING!...Those who haven’t encountered it yet are in for a treat."—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Betrothed to a wealthy industrialist old enough to be her father, Joan Webster (Hiller) knows where she’s going: off the coast of Scotland to the remote, picturesque Isle of Kiloran for her imminent wedding. Waylaid by inclement weather on the Isle of Mull, however, Joan finds ever more obstacles placed in her way, from a raging whirlpool of legend to the provincial charms of a British naval officer (Livesey) marooned alongside her. Handsomely shot in part on location, I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING! would take full advantage of its dewy Celtic atmosphere, transforming every potentially banal landscape into a moment of idyllic splendor. Powell and Pressburger's luminous spin on the romantic comedy would also prove to be one of the company’s most enduring and beloved films, fleshing out its central love story with tales of family curses, rogue eagles, Highland dancing, and other bits of characteristic local color. 35mm. (CW)
1980, Bill Forsyth, UK, 91 min.
With John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn
"A charming, innocent, very funny little movie…contains so much wisdom about being alive and teenaged and vulnerable."—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Irresistible…One of the cheeriest unsentimental reports on the human condition since Francois Truffaut's SMALL CHANGE."—Vincent Canby, The New York Times
Looking fresher than ever in a new digital restoration, GREGORY'S GIRL was the breakout film for Bill Forsyth (LOCAL HERO, COMFORT AND JOY), who spearheaded the emergence of an indigenous Scottish cinema before his career foundered on the shoals of Hollywood. Gawky, gangly 16-year-old Gregory (Sinclair) loses his position on the school soccer team—and his heart—to new arrival Dorothy (Hepburn). Striving to impress the goal-scoring goddess, he finally wins a date, but his longed-for rendezvous takes some unexpected detours in the course of an extended summer's-eve odyssey. With off-kilter humor, a rich array of supporting characters, and a prescient sense of gender-role subversion, GREGORY'S GIRL captured the splendors and miseries of adolescent love with a breezy charm that put more heavy-breathing American puberty comedies of the era to shame. New 2K DCP digital restoration. This version retains the Scottish accents that were de-burred for the film's American release. (MR)
My Summer of Love
2004, Pawel Pawlikowski, UK, 86 min.
With Natalie Press, Emily Blunt
"Lovely…a triumph of mood and implication."—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"Superbly acted, movingly written, and directed with a tough-minded lyricism rarely found in today's films."—David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
Though now better known for his Polish-made Oscar nominees IDA and COLD WAR, director Pawlikowski first made his mark with a series of critically acclaimed British productions. MY SUMMER OF LOVE is a classic entry in the adolescent summer- romance tradition, reinvigorated by its same-sex orientation and by Pawlikowski 's unique ability to mix dark twists with exhilarating bursts of self-assertion. Orphaned, dumped by her boyfriend, and dismayed by her ex-con brother's recent embrace of religious zealotry, 16-year-old Mona (Press) is stagnating in a Yorkshire village when she encounters the glamorous, self-dramatizing rich girl Tamsin (Blunt, charismatic in her breakthrough role). Collaborating on reckless pranks and lazy summer outings, Mona bonds, makes love, and falls in love with Tamsin, but class differences, her brother's new-found moralism, and Tamsin's taste for fantasy threaten to turn it all into a seasonal mirage. 35mm. (MR)