Special Presentation: Center Stage
Actor David Strathairn, directors Derek Goldman and Jeff Hutchens, and producer Eva Anisko expected to attend. Post-film Q&A moderated by Carey Perloff, former Artistic Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
Professor Jan Karski’s secret past as a member of the Polish underground was uncovered in 1978 by filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, who included his emotional testimony in Shoah (1985), after 35 years of near-obscurity and silence. Starring the brilliant David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck; Nomadland), who reprises his original role from the highly acclaimed one-man stage play, Karski’s life is recounted in harrowing, mesmerizing detail. Faithfully adherent to the experience of the original one-man show, this cinematic adaptation of Remember This recreates the pared-down, abstract staging of “one table and two chairs." Yet they become a professor’s lectern, a devastated Warsaw, a Nazi train, the Oval Office.” Other bold formal decisions dramatically heighten the intimacy of this experience, such as the use of a single camera with a 50mm lens, the closest equivalent to the normal human field of vision, and the film’s black and white palette. The stylistic flourish of shooting in widescreen almost dares us to look away from Strathairn, only to find emptiness. These stark visuals allow the virtuosity of Strathairn’s performance and his dynamic, shape-shifting presence to take center stage in creating a world for us out of only his face and his voice, to captivating and haunting effect.
This film is the recipient of a 2021 JFI Completion Grant
Sponsored by The Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation
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