Crandell Celebrates Anniversary with Special Screenings
This weekend, the Chatham Film Club, which bought Chatham’s historic Crandell Theatre last year, is celebrating its one-year anniversary as owners with a weekend of special movie events, including two rarely seen Buster Keaton silent films, with live musical accompaniment, and the local premiere of Project Nim, a documentary by the makers of the 2009 Oscar-winner, Man on Wire. Their new film was inspired by a book, Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human by Spencertown author Elizabeth Hess.
On Saturday night, the Crandell will show Buster Keaton’s 1926 classic silent film, The General, which premiered the same year the Crandell opened, along with a second short silent film from 1927 called Dog Shy. Both films will have live piano accompaniment by Bernie Anderson, one of a handful of pianists trained to accompany showings of silent movies.
On Sunday afternoon, the Film Club will host another special event, the local premiere of Project Nim, a documentary directed by James Marsh, whose last film, the riveting Man on Wire won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2009. Marsh’s new film explores the life of a chimpanzee called Nim Chimpsky, who was raised in a New York City townhouse during the 1970s by the LaFarge family, who taught him American Sign Language as part of an experiment to prove that language is not exclusive to human beings.
Director Marsh interviewed with a daughter of that family, Stephanie LaFarge, as well as many others whose lives crossed paths with Nim in his remaining years.
Elizabeth Hess, author of the book that inspired the documentary, served as a consultant on the film. Following the screening, she will chair a panel discussion. Other panelists include Joyce Butler of Great Barrington, MA, a key figure in his life during Nim’s New York years; Bill Tynan, also now living in Great Barrington, who, as a psychology student at Columbia University, participated in the 1970s language study; and Bob Ingersoll, who met and worked with Nim after the chimp retired to Oklahoma.
Project Nim opened the 2011 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, one of which dubbed it “the first great documentary of the year.”
Buster Keaton Double Feature
Crandell Theatre, Chatham
Saturday July 9th, 7 p.m.
Admission/flexible (generosity encouraged, as proceeds go toward on-going restoration)
Sunday, June 10, 2 p.m.