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Buffalo Film Seminars returns with ‘Casablanca,’ ‘Three Billboards’

The Buffalo Film Seminars, one of the area’s longest-running screening series, returns on Jan. 30 with a season of cinematic giants. Hosted, as always, by University at Buffalo professors Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian, the BFS runs through early May. Screenings are held at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Dipson Amherst Theatre (3500 Main St.).

The spring series is another notably diverse grouping of films, from a classic 1930s musical to one of 2017’s most acclaimed features. Each film is introduced by Jackson, a SUNY Distinguished Professor and Christian, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of English. A discussion follows each film.

Here's the full lineup:

  • “Gold Diggers of 1933,” Jan. 30. The semester begins with Mervyn LeRoy’s pre-Code musical featuring choreography by the legendary Busby Berkeley.
  • “Casablanca,” Feb. 6. One of cinema’s greatest romances, this Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman film is as watchable today as it was in 1942. Michael Curtiz directs.
  • “Mildred Pierce,” Feb. 13. Curtiz also directed this 1945 film noir gem featuring one of Joan Crawford’s most unforgettable performances.
  • “Tokyo Story,” Feb. 20. Yasujiro Ozu’s heartbreaking 1953 drama is set in post-war Tokyo.
  • “High Noon,” Feb. 27. Like “Casablanca,” Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 Western has lost none of its power. Gary Cooper stars.
  • “Singin’ in the Rain,” March 6. Gene Kelly stars in and co-directs this iconic 1952 musical.
  • “The Big City,” March 13. Best-known for his “Apu Trilogy,” Satyajit Ray also directed 1963’s Calcutta-set portrait of a housewife turned saleswoman.
  • “Persona,” March 27. Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann star in Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 psychological stunner.
  • “Black Girl,” April 3. The must-see of the spring BFS season is Ousmane Sembène’s groundbreaking 1966 debut. It’s the bold, fascinating story of a Sengalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white family.
  • “Dog Day Afternoon,” April 10. Al Pacino was never better than he was in Sidney Lumet’s 1975 account of a robbery gone wrong.
  • “L’Argent,” April 17. "Pickpocket” director Robert Bresson’s final film is a 1983 Paris-set drama following the journey of a counterfeit 500-franc bill.
  • “Mulholland Drive,” April 24. David Lynch’s 2001 psychological thriller about an aspiring actress (Naomi Watts) is one of the “Twin Peaks” director’s most noteworthy achievements.
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” May 1. The newest film in the BFS lineup is Martin McDonagh’s controversial 2017 revenge drama starring Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.
  • “The Young Girls of Rochefort,” May 8. The semester closes with a musical dazzler, Jacques Demy’s 1967 follow-up to “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”

Tickets are $9.50 general, $8 for students and $7.25 for seniors and available online at dipsontheatres.com or at the door. Season tickets are available at a reduced rate.

Visit buffalofilmseminars.com for more information and to access each week’s goldenrod handouts, featuring production details and commentary.

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