Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Week of May 23-29

What’s On At The Tropic
By Phil Mann

Before we get to the main films, let me tell you about a couple of new programming initiatives at the Tropic. On Saturday mornings, the long-running Free Movies for Kids series has been joined by a regular weekly screening of the historic local classic, The Key West Picture Show. This is B.J. Martin’s 1977 travelogue parody that captures Key West in that raffish moment when the transition from Navy town to tourist mecca was only beginning. If you haven’t seen it, join the kids on Saturday, and see this adult movie at 12:45. Admission $5.

And on Monday night at eight, the Film Society begins a series of classic movies. This week it’s Gregory Peck starring in the film adaptation of the classic Harper Lee novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s the beloved American theme: solitary man stands up and risks all for principle, against the forces of darkness. There’s High Noon, Twelve Angry Men, and Atticus Finch defending a black man for rape in 1932 Alabama. Mark this series on your calendar. A different film every Monday night. Admission only $3.

This is also the week that the Tropic completes its 2008 Academy Award Trifecta. Back in January, they showed No Country For Old Men, the winner for Best Feature Film. Last week, they showed Taxi to the Dark Side, the winner for Best Documentary. And now it’s The Counterfeiters, winner for Best Foreign Film. Salomon Sorowitsch is a crook, but a very talented one, a counterfeiter of great ability. He’s also a Jew in a Nazi concentration camp, and the Reich needs cash to fund its war effort. Perhaps the greatest luxury in life is the ability to stand up for a principle you know is right. It’s not always easy, even in America, as Atticus Finch shows us, but can you imagine doing it in a concentration camp? A movie like The Counterfeiter enables us to confront that question, and be able to think about it, without the horror of having to live it.

Okay, let’s move on to feel-good. In Under the Same Moon a Mexican boy tries to join his mother who is working in the US without… you know what. Under the Same Moon is about immigration, of course, but it’s also a great human story… mother and son seeking to unite. If you think this country’s immigration policy sucks, you’ll love the film on all counts. But even if you’re Tom Tancredo you might enjoy having your heart strings tugged a little as Carlitos and Rosario try to find each other.

It’s interesting that Under the Same Moon is opening while The Visitor is still playing. Both films try to put a human face on the immigration issue and come out sympathetic to the immigrants. How about a movie where INS agents are the heroes, protecting us from sinister villains who are trying to find work, and without whom the American economy would nosedive? Umm, why don’t they make that movie?

Let me have your thoughts.
[originally published in Key West, The Newspaper -]

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