Tribute to Director Stephen Frears
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This series is an Aero Theatre Exclusive!
Stephen Frears was born in 1941 in Leicester, England and worked
as an assistant director for a number of years on such films as Lindsay Andersons
and Karel Reisz MORGAN! before graduating to full-fledged directing. His
feature directorial debut came in 1971 with the bittersweet crime comedy drama, GUMSHOE,
starring Albert Finney. Although a fine film, it didnt catch fire at the box office,
and Frears toiled away for quite a few more years helming British television shows before
making another feature in 1979 with BLOODY KIDS. It wasnt until 1984 with THE HIT
starring John Hurt, Terence Stamp and a very young Tim Roth that he received unanimous
critical acclaim and found a cult smash on his hands. More standout cinema followed in
quick succession from the mid-1980s on with MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE, PRICK UP
YOUR EARS, SAMMIE AND ROSIE GET LAID, DANGEROUS LIAISONS and THE GRIFTERS. The
1990s and up to the present have been a mixture of big studio films (HERO, MARY
REILLY, HIGH FIDELITY) and smaller, more personal projects (THE SNAPPER, THE VAN, DIRTY
PRETTY THINGS). Falling somewhere in between was his collaboration with producer,
Martin Scorsese, and writer, Walon Green, the criminally underrated THE HI-LO COUNTRY.
The universally-acclaimed THE QUEEN, starring Helen Mirren, is his latest effort.
Please join us for this In-Person tribute to a truly great filmmaker.
Saturday, December 2 - 7:30 PM
Stephen Frears In-Person!
THE QUEEN, 2006, Miramax, 97 min. Combining
the vicarious rewards of a detailed biopic with the gentler pleasures of an insightful
character study, director Stephen Frears puts the monarchy under the microscope in
this irreverent comedy-drama. Set in 1997, it details the bond of trust that slowly
develops between the 71-year-old Queen Elizabeth humanized by the Oscar-caliber
performance of Helen Mirren in the title role and prime minister, Tony Blair
(Michael Sheen) following the death of Princess Diana. With James Cromwell,
DANGEROUS LIAISONS, 1988,
Warner Bros., 119 min. Dir. Stephen Frears. Games of seduction, lust, and
manipulation spotlight Glenn Close and John Malkovitch's devilish gambling
over innocent Michelle Pfeiffer games in which even the winner ends up a
tragic loser. Before VALMONT and CRUEL INTENTIONS, Frears set a high standard for filming
Choderlos de Lacloss novel (which was one of Marie Antoinettes favorite books
and a guilty pleasure in 1782). Of the many cinematic versions, this still arguably
remains the best adaptation. Discussion in between films with
director Stephen Frears.
Sunday, December 3 - 7:30 PM
Stephen Frears In-Person!
MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE,
1985, MGM Repertory, 97 min. Through a gallery of fine performances and situations,
director Stephen Frears draws a subtle relationship between a young Pakistani (Saeed
Jaffrey) and his fascist punk lover (Daniel Day-Lewis). A benchmark in queer
cinema from the 1980s, and a major portrait of societal disintegration in a Great
Britain rife with racism and a thriving underground economy. Oscar nominated for Best
Screenplay by Pakistani Hanif Kureishi.
PRICK UP YOUR EARS, 1987,
MGM Repertory, 111 min. Dir. Stephen Frears. A caustically entertaining biopic of
the controversial young British playwright, Joe Orton (a volcanic Gary Oldman) who
was murdered in 1967 by his lover and early collaborator, Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred
Molina). A harrowing portrait of fatal jealousy and an obsessive love gone bad. With Vanessa
Redgrave, Julie Walters. Discussion in between films with
director Stephen Frears.
Wednesday, December 6 - 7:30 PM
THE HI-LO COUNTRY, 1998, Universal,
114 min. Director Stephen Frears, producer Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Walon
Green (THE WILD BUNCH) adapted Max Evans novel into this poignantly affecting and
underrated saga of the evolving New West in post -WWII New Mexico. Best friends, brawling
Big Boy (Woody Harrelson) and introspective war veteran, Pete (Billy Crudup)
fall in love with the same girl (Patricia Arquette) who is married to the foreman (John
Diehl) of a big rancher (Sam Elliott) gobbling up smaller enterprises. Tensions
mount amongst all concerned as the narrative unfolds we know there will be a
calamitous result, but when it fatefully comes, it is from a comparatively unexpected
source. Co-starring Penelope Cruz as a Mexican girl carrying a torch for Pete,
seemingly in vain. With a mournfully beautiful score by Carter Burwell.
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, 2001, Miramax, 97 min. This
gripping cross-cultural thriller colored with romance and humor is also a portrayal of the
harsh life of illegal aliens in modern London. French star Audrey Tautou (AMELIE)
is a Turkish maid and Chiewetel Ejiofor (INSIDE MAN) a former Nigerian doctor
caught in a criminal web involving organs traffic. Director Stephen Frears shifts
style and genre, once more casting his mesmerizing spell on an unsuspecting audience.