Cinema Classics Seminar: The Godfather (I & II) @ Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr [17 August]

Cinema Classics Seminar: The Godfather (I & II)

18:30 - 21:30

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Bryn Mawr Film Institute
824 W Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010
On most lists of the best American films, be they made by critics, fans, or those in the industry, CITIZEN KANE and THE GODFATHER (1972) reliably take the top two spots (in varying order), with THE GODFATHER PART II (1974) usually not too far behind. This is hardly surprising, as the three films have a fair amount in common. Each was nominated for numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture (though KANE did not win the top prize); each is considered to be a sterling exemplar of cinematic storytelling and a compendium of finely executed film techniques; each evoked the ire of its (perceived) real-world inspirations—William Randolph Hearst in the case of KANE and certain Italian Americans for THE GODFATHER films; and each tells a uniquely American tale of Shakespearean grandeur while painting a revealing portrait of our nation, flaws and all, complete with fleeting moments of earnest nostalgia.

Yet, unlike Orson Welles’s masterpiece, co-screenwriter/director Francis Ford Coppola’s indelible saga (the first two-thirds of it, at least) was incredibly popular upon its release, and retains its audience appeal across demographic boundaries after more than forty years. In adapting the original novel by co-screenwriter Mario Puzo, one of Coppola’s guiding instincts was to transmute the material from its pulp origins into a kind of KING LEAR analog with the trappings of an organized crime tale. The result is at once a paragon of genre excellence, a cultural touchstone, and a withering commentary on the American family under capitalism. Prime examples of the “New Hollywood” movement, Coppola’s films realized the potential of Hollywood cinema to be genuine yet unapologetically popular art.

In dialogue with one another and with students, the instructors will explore the epic’s cinematic, historical, and cultural significance by moving from the early days of the troubled production to the films’ uniquely enduring cultural legacy. Join us, for we’ve surely made you an offer you can’t refuse.

Please note: Enrollment in this seminar does NOT include tickets to the films or refreshments. While we encourage everyone taking the seminar to attend the screenings at BMFI on August 15 & 16, we realize that many people have seen these films numerous times, and therefore may choose to forego them, while still participating in the seminar.

Meets at BMFI:
Thursday, August 17
6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
$25 for BMFI members, $30 for non-members; includes admission to the film
Taught by Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI & Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University

Register for this course at or by calling (610) 527-4008 x108.
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