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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

SpIFF series offers a classic mix of film

In its ongoing quest to be more than merely a single, annual event, the Spokane International Film Festival is continuing one of its popular offerings, the Professor Series,  For 2012, that means a mix of classic and contemporary films introduced by a range of local presenters.

All movies will held at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at the Magic Lantern. Tickets are $7, $5 for students. The schedule is as follows (reviews come from the SpIFF press release, which was written by festival director Pete Porter):

Sept. 26: "The Tree of Life" (2011), by Terrence Malick ("Badlands," "Thin Red Line") is a deeply philosophical and poetic film about the place of humans in creation and whether a human life is best lived by the way of nature or the way of grace.  Hosted by Brian Clayton, Richard McClelland, and David Calhoun of Gonzaga University and Gonzaga’s Faith and Reason Institute.

Oct. 10: "Winged Migration" (2001) is a gorgeous wildlife film that showcases one of the great marvels of nature: the amazing journeys that birds embark upon each year as they travel to raise their young.  Suitable for all ages.  Hosted by Paul Lindholdt of Eastern Washington University.  Sponsored by Friends of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

Oct. 24: "Vertigo" (1958), by master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, features Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak, and San Francisco in a mystery thriller that was recently crowned the Greatest Film of All-Time by Sight and Sound, ending the 50 year reign of Citizen Kane.  Explaining why Vertigo deserves such high praise will be Nathan Weinbender of Movies 101 and The Spokesman Review.  Sponsored by Spokane7.com.

Nov. 14: "Sullivan’s Travels" (1941) is a serio-comic road movie by Preston Sturges that celebrates the power of laughter (which might be why it inspired the Coen Brothers to make "O’ Brother Where Art Thou?").  Host Leonard Oakland of Whitworth University chose it to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures, one of the great American movie studios.  

Nov. 28: "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001), by Wes Anderson ("Moonrise Kingdom," "Rushmore"), tells the often humorous story of a family of genius misfits who need a little help from their estranged father (Gene Hackman) to move beyond past grudges and grow into adults.  Hosted by Jessica Maucione of Gonzaga University.

(Full disclosure: I serve on the board of director of the Spokane International Film Festival, I blog for Spokane7.com and I am co-founder of Movies 101.)