Virginia Film Society Kicks Off Spring Season with 'Young Mr. Lincoln'

February 18, 2009

February 18, 2008 — The Virginia Film Society, the year-round program of the Virginia Film Festival, begins its spring season with a screening of "Young Mr. Lincoln," director John Ford's 1939 classic.

The screening will be held Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at Newcomb Hall Theater. Bob Jackson from the University of Virginia's Department of Media Studies will introduce the film and he and U.Va. Civil War historian and author Gary Gallagher will lead a post-show discussion.

Though Abraham Lincoln was a perpetual favorite for director John Ford, he was never more brilliantly imagined than in this 1939 feature, which chronicles the development of the would-be president in his early years in Springfield, Ill.

Henry Fonda, in one of his earliest starring roles, delivers one of his greatest performances as Lincoln. Combined with Ford's direction, at its grandest and most lyrical, the result is an undeniable masterpiece on America's history. Chicago Reader critic Dave Kehr notes: "The film stirs feelings about the American past that most of us, I suppose, have missed since childhood."

• The spring season continues on March 5 at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theater, with a screening of "King Corn," by director Aaron Woolfe. The film is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation.

Writer-producers Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis move to the Iowa heartland to learn about the source of their food. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat — and how we farm.

U.Va.'s Department of Environmental Science professor Steve Macko participated in the film and will lead a discussion after the screening.

"King Corn" is presented in association with the Virginia Festival of the Book[link to:].
• The Black Maria Film Festival with John Columbus returns March 18. From animation to experimental, satire to documentary, the range of the selection is wide in this audience-juried tour of cutting-edge works from independent film and video makers.

• Michael Almereyda's production of "Hamlet" updates the classic revenge drama to present-day New York City, substituting corporation politics for the country of Denmark. The film will be will be screened April 8.

Colleen Kelly, a stage combat teacher from the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton who is directing this semester's production of "Two Gentlemen of Verona" for U.Va.'s Drama Department, will introduce the screening and lead a post-show discussion with U.Va. English professor Clare Kinney.

Additional screenings are in the planning stages.

The Virginia Film Society is presented by the Virginia Film Festival with major support from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Most screenings feature guest speakers. Screenings are held at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre, 220 Market St. in Charlottesville, with the exception of the Feb. 26 screening of "Young Mr. Lincoln," which is at Newcomb Hall Theater.

Admission is free to Film Society members.

Tickets for remaining seats will be available at the box office for $9 each from 30 minutes before the screening.

For information about screenings or Film Society membership, call 434-982-5560 or visit