Cinema Sunday

The Available Light Cinema series returns to the Yukon Arts Centre on Sunday, November 13 with a full day of film entertainment.

Leading off at 2 p.m. is an all-time favourite that spawned a highly successful franchise of adventure films, the 1981 Steven Spielberg classic, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Harrison Ford stars as Indiana Jones, an iconic figure featured in all five films of the series.

In 2003, the American Film Institute named Indiana Jones the second-greatest movie hero of all time (after the Gregory Peck character, Atticus Finch, in To Kill a Mockingbird).

When Spielberg first shot Raiders of the Lost Ark, no major studio would release it, claiming that the plot was too far out, and the film would be too expensive to finally bring to screen.

Clad in his trademark leather jacket and brandishing his bullwhip, Indiana Jones was a throwback to the Saturday afternoon serials of the 1930s, and was loosely based on an actual historical figure.

Otto Rahn was a German SS lieutenant and amateur archaeologist who was fascinated with the Cathars, a medieval sect deemed heretics by the Roman Catholic Church. More than 200 of the sect’s prefects were put to death by fire outside the Cathar fortress at Montségur, France, in March 1244.

Like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade, the third film in the series, Rahn set out to find the Holy Grail, which he linked to the Cathars. He was found dead in the Tyrol mountains in 1939.

Raiders of The Lost Ark has Jones chasing all over Egypt, followed in hot pursuit by Nazis, in his search for the biblical Ark of the Covenant, rather than the Holy Grail. He’s aided in his endeavours by Karen Allen, who plays his long-suffering sweetheart, Marion.

The 6 p.m. screening, Blank City, is an iconoclastic documentary by first-time filmmaker Celine Danhier.

New York City in the mid 1970s was on the verge of bankruptcy. It had decayed to an incredible state of slum housing, cheap rents and a burgeoning drug scene the norm. Out of this chaos, however, emerged a burgeoning underground music, art and film scene, which Danhier captures in her exciting and irreverent documentary.

At 8 p.m., Jim Jarmusch’s 1986 indie feature, Down By Law.

Filmed in black and white, it stars the gravel-voiced Tom Waits as an unemployed disc jockey, John Lurie (Stranger than Paradise, The Last Temptation of Christ) as a pimp and Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) as a bewildered Italian tourist.

The three strangers meet in a Louisiana prison on trumped-up charges. Waits and Lurie begin to develop a massive hatred for the Italian, not only for his incomprehensibility, but for his constant state of unabated cheerfulness.

After managing to escape, they go wandering through the Louisiana bayou, accompanied by further misadventures that form the core of Jarmusch’s film.

The Available Light Cinema series, an innovation of the Yukon Film Society this season, features hand-picked popular films, topical documentaries and a touch of the avant-garde at each monthly showing at the Yukon Arts Centre.

Tickets for individual films are $11, or $10 for YFS members and Art Lovers’ passholders and $5 for youth under 16.

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