BAMcinématek presents Big Screen Epics

Hollywood Epics Showcase Brooklyn’s Largest Movie Theater

June 18, 2013 From Brooklyn Academy of Music
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From Wednesday, July 3 through Thursday, July 25, BAMcinématek will present Big Screen Epics, a series of classic Hollywood epics screening in week-long runs on the brand-new Steinberg Screen at the BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn’s newest movie palace. Now the largest, grandest movie venue in Brooklyn, the Harvey will showcase five beloved cinematic spectacles considered essential viewing in acclaimed 4K restorations—made to be viewed on the big screen.

Stanley Kubrick’s awe-inspiring sci-fi masterwork, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), opens the series on Wednesday, July 3 running through Tuesday, July 9. In this “extraordinary, obsessive, beautiful work of art” (Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune) apes use tools, mankind discovers a monolith on the moon, and a mission to Jupiter launches with a famously passive-aggressive computer aboard. Composed of breathtaking images unlike anything previously achieved, it is an immortal meditation on intelligence, evolution, and man’s place in the universe, all set to Richard Strauss. 

The series continues the following week with David Lean’s two Oscar-winning World War I Cinemascope epics—Lawrence of Arabia (1962), starring Peter O’Toole as the eponymous British Army officer, and Doctor Zhivago (1965), the story of an illicit love affair during the Russian Revolution, with Omar Sharif and Julie Christie—screening on alternating days from Wednesday, July 10 to Monday, July 15. Winner of seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, Lawrence of Arabia features F.A. Young’s stunning 70mm cinematography and Maurice Jarre’s memorable score. Turning his lens to snow-capped Russia, Lean’s adaptation of Doctor Zhivago unravels five decades of Russian history, from the turn of the century to World War I and the upheavals of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Civil War, alternately bringing together and wrenching apart star-crossed lovers Yuri (Sharif) and Lara (Christie). 

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Big Screen Epics concludes the week of July 17—25 with Francis Ford Coppola’s operatic chronicle of the American dream, The Godfather (1972), the story of the aging patriarch of a Cosa Nostra dynasty (Marlon Brando) and the transfer of control to his son (Al Pacino). Two years later, Coppola followed up his masterpiece with The Godfather Part 2 (1974), hailed as the rare sequel to match its predecessor. The film parallels Michael Corleone’s (Pacino) ascent to the head of the family with his father’s (Robert DeNiro) childhood in Sicily and the founding of an American crime syndicate. On July 20 and 21, the two parts will be presented as a special double feature.

All five films screen on the 35-by-19-foot Steinberg Screen. “It seems that these days screens and screening rooms are getting smaller and smaller,” notes BAMcinématek’s program director Florence Almozini. “But the new Steinberg Screen is the largest in Brooklyn. I think that fits perfectly with BAM’s track record as a trailblazer regarding all forms of art.”

Originally opened in 1904 as the Majestic Theater, the venue has been a vaudeville house, a movie theater, and a porn palace before former BAM President and Executive Producer Harvey Lichtenstein rescued it from abandonment to mount Peter Brook’s epic theatrical production of The Mahabarata in 1987. Over the years, the stage has been graced by theater and movie luminaries the likes of Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Elaine Stritch, and Kevin Spacey. Big Screen Epics restores a page of the BAM Harvey Theater’s colorful history to its rightful place. 

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