English class visits cinema’s golden age

By Angela Le Quieu, Staff Reporter | Photos by Angela Le Quieu

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Not only can stu­dents get extra credit in class for watching movies, but students are also being directed to see classic films on the big screen at the histori­cal KiMo Theatre at 421 Central Ave NW.

English instruc­tor Jonathan Briggs said that he offered his English Film as Literature class an opportunity to visit the historic theater and watch a movie for extra credit.

“I told the class about it for two rea­sons; one is that it’s something to do outside of class that is related to film, and another is that the KiMo is an important landmark in Albuquerque,” Briggs said.

The Film as Literature class is a survey course that covers the origin of film, film as an art form, and the cultural impact of film, Briggs said.

The KiMo Theater runs various film retro­spectives throughout the year; The Silver Screen Legends Film Series will wrap up on March 29 with a showing of “The African Queen,” at 7 p.m., with ticket prices at $5 to $7.

Briggs said that films like “The African Queen” are important to film history because of the impact that was made in cinema by the actors who starred in them, their directors, and the stories.

“There is this period of Bogart’s career where several really important films were made that he was in, that are different styles, different stories; in ‘The African Queen” his female lead was Kathrine Hepburn, and it was very much not war story, not the detective thing, it’s about a strug­gle, they are stuck in the jungle just the two of them and it’s another kind of story for the both of them,” Briggs said.

To see a clas­sic film on a big screen is a very different experi­ence than watch­ing one on a tele­vision or computer screen, Briggs said.

Films made before television were made to be seen on a large screen; at that time people did not know about the small screen and since then film makers have learned that sometimes they shoot things very differently if they are made for televi­sion, Briggs said.

Another reason to see a classic film in a theater is because of the audience, Briggs said.

“Being in a theater with people— that’s a different experience than sitting by yourself or sitting with a few people in a small room,” Briggs said.

An example of this was at the KiMo Theater’s showing of the film noir classic “The Big Sleep” on March 15, 2014 when the whole audience jumped at a surprise gunshot that killed a character.

Classic film is not the only reason to visit the KiMo Theater, it is also an important part of film architecture, Briggs said.

The KiMo Theater was built in 1927, during a time when the people who built theaters wanted to make them interest­ing places to look at as well as serve the func­tion of showing films, and several styles emerged such as orien­tal, Greco Roman, and Art Deco, which the KiMo is an example of these architectural styles, Briggs said.

“I love the KiMo. It’s great because it’s big, but not huge, it has a wonderful look, and there are many things to look at besides the film,” Briggs said.

The KiMo Theater has several murals as well as art throughout the building that is inspired by native New Mexican design and culture, a style which is known as Pueblo Revival, and includes the sculptural elements that frame the stage with buffalo skulls that have glowing eyes.

According to cabq. gov in 1977 the people of Albuquerque voted to purchase the KiMo Theater, which had fallen in to disre­pair, and renovations have happened since then; the most recent ending in 2002, to bring the back the former glory of the historical building.

“To see (a movie) on the big screen at least once and to see it in a place like the KiMo, which is that other kind of theater, you know the contemporary multiplexes aren’t built to be an example of design, other than functional,” Briggs said.

There are several other series that will be running at the KiMo includ­ing Crazy for Swayze, which shows a different Patrick Swayze film every Friday night, through to April 18.

But the KiMo has played host to other movie events such as the upcom­ing film series at the KiMo Theater that includes the Sunday Matinee: Sir Anthony Hopkins Festival, from April 27 to June 29, and Friday Fright Nights: Universal Monster: the 30s, from May 23 to July 11.

For more infor­mation on events at the KiMo Theater and for show times or tickets, visit KiMotickets.com.

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