Though initially dismissed by his American contemporaries as facile “women’s weepies,” Sirk’s films achieved box office success and were celebrated by the vanguard of the French New Wave, who identified the subtle but searing social criticism running through their lavish stories. Shortly after the 1959 release of IMITATION OF LIFE, now considered a masterpiece, Sirk returned to his native Germany and never made another feature. His films are now widely appreciated as a rare intersection of mainstream film and high concept cinema, subversive works that were also seen by the masses.
Great Directors: Douglas Sirk launches Sunday, February 26, with ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, a film starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson that interrogated the Puritanical mores of suburban life. Hudson co-stars in three other featured films: WRITTEN ON THE WIND, with Lauren Bacall; THE TARNISHED ANGELS; and MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, also with Wyman. The retrospective will conclude IMITATION OF LIFE, perhaps Sirk’s best-known film.
Two films in the series will be immediately followed by Screen Chats, informative and fun discussions led by Films Streams Education Director Diana Martinez: ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (Feb 26, 3 pm) and IMITATION OF LIFE (Mar 26, 3 pm).
All films will be shown on 35mm prints.