The Hippo


Jul 16, 2019








Red River Theatres shows Pulp Fiction on Jan. 23.

 Check out Directors & Their Craft

Where: Red River Theatres, 11 S. Main St., Concord
When: Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (R, 1994) is on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m.; John Hughes’s Sixteen Candles (R, 1984) is on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m.; and his Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (R, 1984) is on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. Each film will be followed by a discussion mediated by Barry Steelman that includes local filmmakers, critics, scholars, etc. The series will focus on more directors in the coming months; view at or call 224-4600.
Admission: $10 for a single film/discussion or $15 for the pair for each featured director

Directors with merit
Series sets its sights on Hughes and Tarantino

By Kelly Sennott

 Quentin Tarantino and John Hughes may not be in Oscar contention this year, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a little extra attention.

The directors are being featured this month and next, respectively, as part of Red River Theatre’s “Directors and Their Craft” series. They, along with the others in this series, have been pivotal to the way we view films today.
“I’d like to think they [the featured directors] all have distinct merit for what they did within the film industry,” Barry Steelman, a programming consultant at Red River Theatres, said in a phone interview between movie showings last Thursday evening. 
The series is a six-month “exploration” of the filmmaking art. During one week each month, Red River Theatres will show two works intended to deepen the viewer’s perception of the month’s director. After each film, there will be a panel discussion with film scholars, critics and/or local filmmakers, which will also be mediated by Steelman.
“It’s a small series for us, but we have a steady core of people who show up,” said Red River Theatres Executive Director Shelly Hudson. “Typically, we’ll show a film that’s first from earlier in the director’s career followed by one created later. … Barry and the guests will discuss the elements of style for each director and the influences they had. It’s a robust discussion for any film-lover.”
Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs was shown on Tuesday, Jan. 21, and his film Pulp Fiction will be screened on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m. The next featured director is John Hughes; Red River will show Sixteen Candles on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m., followed by Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. 
There are no set criteria for the selected directors for the series; in fact, the highlighted directors for the following months are still to be determined, and Hudson encourages potential viewers to present suggestions. Thus far, the theater has shown films by and discussions about Steven Spielberg, Orson Welles, Sam Peckinpah and Leni Riefenstahl, a female German filmmaker whose career took off in the 1930s.
“It gives people who are interested in movie directors [a chance] to discuss what makes them unique in their approach to filmmaking,” Steelman said. “Every director has a different take, a different attitude in what they create.” 
Both Tarantino and Hughes have provided significant work to film in their own rights, Steelman said.
“With Tarantino, probably one of the most recognizable characteristics in both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction is that the plot unfolds out of sequence. Sometimes you’re seeing things that are taking place in the future, and then it will flash back to something earlier in the storyline,” Steelman said. 
We’ve since seen the style quite a bit, Steelman said, but at the time of their releases, this use of time was kind of unique.
“I’d say that a lot of filmmakers picked up on that sort of presentation style and copied it. ... It’s a dynamic use of the medium that can be used to punch across key elements in the story that, were you to do it in a linear fashion, wouldn’t be as effective,” Steelman said.
Hughes, on the other hand, was able to reach out to young people with his direction.
“His movies dealt with some of the things that young people were involved with and presented them in a fashion that young people appreciated. They went to see the films in pretty good numbers,” Steelman said. “I think they felt he was hitting a nerve, that they were seeing something of their own existence in what was being presented in the stories.”  
As seen in the January 23, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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