A theater that featured a big display of the Iron Giant was always going to break our hearts, right? Silence your phones and pour one out for Alamo Drafthouse Midtown. Without much warning, the location showed its final flick on Oct. 10, citing lingering fallout from that whole pesky pandemic thing. It opened in 2019, a blissful time when the CDC recommended routinely French kissing strangers. At least, that feels like how life was back then. Alamo Drafthouse La Vista is still powering ahead, almost certainly with whatever the movie theater equivalent of phantom limb syndrome is. At least there’s still one place in town to see films where unruly patrons are openly mocked and threatened, as the Lumière always intended.
The death of its twin won’t stop Alamo Drafthouse La Vista from celebrating “Magic Hour.” No, that’s not a special hour set aside for you to French kiss strangers. I don’t know why you keep bringing that up. On Nov. 30, a happy hour (from 5:30-6:45) filled with promos and a prize raffle precedes a 7 p.m. screening of Teton Gravity Research’s “Magic Hour.” The ski documentary is billed as “a culmination of powerful moments in some of the most beautiful, wild places on the planet.” I can only assume they mean the luscious hills of Iowa. If you’re into nature and acknowledge and appreciate gravity, you’ll fall head over heels for this one. That counts as a science joke, so don’t judge me.
In mid-October, climate change activists threw tomato soup on a Van Gogh painting. I mean, it’s an oil painting, I guess? Hey, it got attention for something we should all care about, and “Sunflowers” now probably tastes as delicious as it looks. In less skunk-smell-removing news, Film Streams is collaborating with Alliance Francaise of Omaha for a screening of Maurice Pialat’s “Van Gogh.” The documentary was released in the halcyon days of 1991, when people hosted group parties where you could French kiss strangers. Note: I will not be making that joke in the next blurb. Following the screening on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m., Taylor J. Acosta, PhD (chief curator and Willis A. Strauss curator of European Art at Joslyn Art Museum) will discuss the historical and cultural footprint of the “Starry Night” navigator and how Pialat’s biopic functioned as a foil to various cliches that still follow the artist. Here’s hoping you are as touched as the “Vincent and the Doctor” episode of “Doctor Who,” as I’m tearing up just thinking about it.
Sometimes I get to include important film stuff that requires no snark like, say, when there’s a screening of a film about Nazi atrocities at the Institute for Holocaust Education (IHE). Given the rabid antisemitism casually displayed recently by crazed musicians and politicians, it seems like a really good time to watch “Escape from Treblinka,” a film about Joseph Polonski’s harrowing journey from an extermination camp. The IHE says he eventually settled in Omaha, and two of Polonski’s children, who have been invited to speak, will attend the screening at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6. With the Holocaust falling out of living memory, it is incumbent upon us to remember, and events like this certainly help. See, no snark.