On Debra, Diane and the Detroit Lions


Spring is the cyclical season of renewal, but I tend to associate revival with the fall. This has stemmed from a life spent thinking that every football autumn will be the one for the Detroit Lions to end the curse of Bobby Layne and begin an unprecedented march to the Super Bowl.

For the past decade, fall has also launched movie seasons at the Flint Institute of Arts, and the NFL has taken a backseat to weekend theater screenings. This month’s intro will be special: The FIA is slated to reopen after a six-week closure as part of its ambitious, ongoing expansion project, which includes additions to the Art School and the permanent collection galleries. The facility will look much different in time, but the Friends of Modern Art film series is back – as ever.

Romantic renewal is a large part of the FIA’s opening movie month for 2017-18, as evidenced by the two comedies that end our summer hiatus.

The Lovers opens the schedule on September 8-10. It pairs Debra Winger (yes, the Officer and a Gentleman/Terms of Endearment star who hasn’t been seen nearly enough on screen since) and Tracy Letts (the award-winning actor-playwright) as an estranged married couple whose dalliances with others lead to a spark that could rejuvenate their dormant relationship. RottenTomatoes.com has called it “a refreshing, funny look at love, fidelity and family.”

Following it, on September 15-17, will be Paris Can Wait, in which the neglected wife of an overworked movie producer finds her lust for life reignited on a road trip through the villages of France with a handsome Gallic escort. Diane Lane plays the wife and Alec Baldwin is the movie-man spouse, but the scenery and scrumptious French food may be the prime attractions for many.

September’s other two flagship-series films focus on creativity through art and artistry. The Canadian-Irish feature Maudie, playing September 22-24, is based on the true story of the fragile but gifted folk painter, Maud Lewis, and the reclusive Nova Scotian for whom she goes to work as a housekeeper. Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke play the leads.

The month wraps up September 29 through October 1 with A Quiet Passion, British director Terence Davies’ examination of the life of the enigmatic American poet, Emily Dickinson. The cast includes such recognizables as Cynthia Nixon (as the grown-up Emily), Jennifer Ehle, Emma Bell, Keith Carradine and Jodhi May.

In addition to the regular FOMA series titles, the FIA will be presenting an occasional series of films about the history of American and global cinema. September’s representative (coming September 21-24) is Dawson City: Frozen Time, a fascinating documentary about the discovery of a long-buried cache of some 500 silent-era movies deep in the Yukon Territory. What’s unusual is that the movie isn’t just about the find, but also the town of Dawson City where it was accomplished.

Information on all screenings at the FIA is available by visiting flintarts.org or calling 810. 234.1695. Or, you can seek me out enjoying a Sunday afternoon picture show while sweating out an unfolding Lions game.
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