Since the dawn of cinema, moviemakers have been drawn to the novelty
of the circus. With its elaborate costumes, exotic animals, and unusual
personalities, the circus provides an attractive “anything can happen”
setting for artists of all genres. These three films present classic examples
of the movie industry’s passion for the circus.
All films will be shown in Levitt Auditorium and are FREE.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Sunday, February, 19 / 1:30 pm
Robert Wiene, director, 1919
71 minutes, not rated
In this silent masterpiece, an insane asylum inmate explains to his psychiatrist how he came to the institution, telling the doctor the story of the evil hypnotist Caligari (Werner Krauss) and his unwitting pawn, the sleepwalker Cesare (Conrad Veidt). This stark expressionist film from German director Robert Wiene astonishes with the power of its sets and visuals, and the creepy plot still raises hackles almost a century after the film was made.
Sunday, February 26 / 1:30 pm
Charlie Chaplin, director, 1928
71 minutes, not rated
When we first meet Chaplin’s Tramp in this comic gem, he’s in typical straits: broke, hungry, destined to fall in love, and just as sure to lose the girl. Mistaken for a pickpocket and pursued by a peace officer into a circus tent, the Tramp becomes a star when delighted patrons think his escape from the police is an act. At the first-ever Academy Awards® ceremony, Charles Chaplin was honored with a special statuette “for versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing, and producing The Circus.”
Sunday, March 4 / 1:30 pm
Federico Fellini, director, 1954
108 minutes, not rated
La Strada follows the story of Gelsomina, who is sold by her mother into the employ of Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a brutal strongman in a traveling circus. When Zampanò encounters an old rival in highwire artist the Fool (Richard Basehart), his fury is provoked to its breaking point. With La Strada, Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of Italian neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty, evoking brilliant performances and winning the hearts of audiences and critics worldwide. La Strada won the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film in 1956.