The 4K restoration (released this month by Cohen Media and featured at the New York Film Festival) of Joan Micklin Silver’s 1975 “Hester Street” is getting deserved credit as a rare female-directed American film from its era. The black and white feature, set in the mostly Jewish immigrant community in New York’s Lower East side in the 1890s, overcame tough odds on multiple fronts to become a significant financial success.
The film grossed $5 million by the end of its run, the equivalent of over $22 million today. All this on a budget of $375,000 (about $1.7 million now). That was a significant success, even if at the time it wasn’t supplemented by home video, and as a black and white film it had limited interest for broadcast television.
Micklin Silver’s film is getting renewed credit for its quality, as well as for being the debut film that caused her to break out as a director. One thing that seems to have been forgotten, though, and likely will come as a surprise to decades of cinephiles accustomed to the prominence of American independent film, is how freakish its success was.
What made it an anomaly at the time was that it was unusual for an American film to play the then-vibrant mostly big city specialized circuit. I know this from first hand experience when the film played its exclusive Chicago engagement at the Cinema Theater, the city’s prime location for top specialized releases. It was a theater I booked just as I took my first job in exhibition, a career that saw similar films eventually become mainstream arthouse bookings.
But how unusual was it at the time? “Hester Street” opened there on February 6, 1976 for a longer than usual 10-week run. Over the next 18 months, and as was the case at most of the prime art house theaters, the Cinema Theater’s bookings were entirely European subtitled films, including new films from Ingmar Bergman, Eric Rohmer, Lina Wertmüller, and Bertrand Tavernier.
That is what patrons anticipated and supported. The idea of a female director wasn’t unheard of (Wertmüller had broken through in 1975, Elaine May had two early ’70s studio releases), but was still a rarity.
Independent filmmaking in the U.S. is as old as movies themselves. But it thrived on the edges of mainstream theaters. Melvin Van Peebles broke through in 1971 with “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” with other Black directors following. Sexploitation films by the late 1960s, led by Russ Meyer, had crossed over into general patronage theaters. Drive ins and other locations from the 1950s thrived with films from Roger Corman and other producers, mostly apart from studio support.
But the sophisticated end of the business remained faithful to foreign-language films. It was a pattern established in the 1950s, when a revived European business provided an alternative to what sophisticated viewers considered ordinary Hollywood output. It had snob value, elitist and intellectual. But its key appeal was content that wasn’t as restricted as studio films …read more
Celebrities React To Kanye West - Donda (Official Album)
Celebrities React To Kanye West - Donda (Official Album) Kanye West Finally Releases “ Donda ” Album on August 29,2021 instead of September 3rd, 2021. The album features 27 songs in total including "Hurricane," "Praise God," "Moon," and "New Again" and comes with a runtime of 108 minutes and 59 seconds. However, the track "Jail pt 2" is not currently streamable. Kanye West’s highly anticipated 10th studio album spans 26 songs and has features from Travis Scott , Jay Z , Kid Cudi , The Weeknd, Lil Baby and more. Donda is named after Kanye West's late mother Donda West , who died at the age of 58 following plastic surgery complications in 2007. The record is West's first since the release of his 2019 gospel album Jesus Is King, which earned him a best contemporary Christian album Grammy. In Todays’ video we’re going to be showing you celebrities' reactions to “ Kanye West - Donda (Official Album) “ What do yall think of the album? Leave your thoughts down below! Don’t forget to give this video a thumbs up, subscribe to the channel, and hit that bell icon so you don't miss out on any future videos!