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Special Screening: Northern Lights

Thursday, November 7, 2013
7:00 p.m. Northern Lights
John Hanson, Rob Nilsson (U.S., 1978)

West Coast Premiere of Restored 35mm Print!

In Person/Rob Nilsson and actress Susan Lynch


Caméra d’or (Best First Feature Film), 1979 Cannes Film Festival

In the 1970s, San Francisco was home to Cine Manifest, a collective of filmmakers committed to creating politically charged features. Northern Lights is their goal made manifest, a stunning, gritty recreation of Midwestern agrarian life circa 1915, a sort of prequel to The Grapes of Wrath. Both Midwesterners themselves, directors Hanson and Nilsson root out the origins of the Nonpartisan League, a short-lived grassroots political movement that organized against corporate takeovers. North Dakotan farmers seed a cast of restrained professionals who rustically depict the wintry harshness of living with the land. The well-deserved revival of Northern Lights is like finding a ripe heirloom in a basket of tasteless GMO produce.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Hanson and Nilsson. Photographed by Judy Irola. With Robert Behling, Susan Lynch, Joe Spano, Marianne Astrom-De Fina. (93 mins, B&W, 35mm, From Artists Public Domain/Cinema Conservancy)