Seven Italian film classics will show this weekend at the restored North Park Theatre, coinciding with the annual Galbani Cheese Italian Heritage Festival on Hertel Avenue.
Other classic movies and indie art films will also be screened through the week, reflecting the theater operators’ promise when the theater reopened in March to offer an eclectic programming mix.
“It’s a very busy and exciting week – 10 films in one week,” said Ray Barker, the program director. “I think it shows what you can do with a single screen. I think we’re being eclectic, and giving people plenty of reasons to come out.”
The Italian film festival’s offerings include Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II,” and Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” which cemented Clint Eastwood’s standing as an international star. Also showing are “Mediterraneo,” “Il Postino,” “Cinema Paradiso” and “The Italian Job.”
“I think there are generations of film fans who have not seen some of the classics on the big screen. Something like ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” definitely has to be on the big screen to be appreciated,” Barker said.
“I’ve never seen the ‘Godfather 2” on the big screen myself, and always wanted to see the director’s vision for the film the way he intended it to be seen.”
Barker also singled out “Cinema Paradiso”. “It is one of the North Park’s most famous films. I think it had one of the longest runs – if not the longest run – in the theater’s history. It’s always nice to bring that one back because a lot of people parallel the life of the single-screen theater in the film with the North Park itself.
“It’s nice in the real world that we deliver a happy ending.”
Also on tap are a matinee of the children’s fantasy “Jason and the Argonauts,” with Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation; the newly-restored Beatles classic “A Hard Day’s Night”; and “A Most Wanted Man,” starring the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman in what may be his last released film.
“Jason and the Argonauts” continues the theater’s pledge to offer weekend children’s programming, following such films as “The Neverending Story” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”
The restored version of “A Hard Day’s Night” has garnered praise in film magazines. “I think it will look and sound better than it ever has before. A lot of Beatles fans are excited about this one,” Barker said.
Hoffman’s performance in “A Most Wanted Man” “looks to be a riveting performance as a German intelligence agent.” he said.
Still running through Thursday is the art film “Aftermath,” a controversial Polish film that deals with anti- Semitism. “People leaving the theater are transformed and moved from the experience,” he said.
Barker said the theater overall is doing well since it reopened.
“Attendance is good and we’re very happy with how things are going,” he said.
For showtimes, go here.