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August 16 - August 23

Two Films by Francis Ford Coppola - The Outsiders and Rumble Fish

Almost ten years after his monumentally successful, two-part Godfather (1971-1974) epic, Francis Ford Coppola (b.1939) offered another diptych returning to the theme of family so central to the earlier work while also pointing towards the increasing interest in Americana that would guide his subsequent films. Based on short novels by the Oklahoma cult writer S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders and Rumble Fish were made back to back within weeks of each other using many of the same Tulsa locations and sharing the art director Dean Tavoularis, cinematographer Stephen Burum and the young and then undiscovered actors Matt Dillon and Diane Lane. Even more than the shift in tone across the Godfather films, these two films about restless adolescence are remarkably distinct in style and approach to their source material, with Rumble Fish offering a brooding, nocturnal and dream-like fantasy of lost youth as a complement to The Outsiders’ brightly lit ode to Fifties nostalgia.

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Monday August 16 at 7pm

The Outsiders

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
With C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon
US 1983, 35mm, color, 91 min.

For his heartfelt adaptation of Hinton’s popular study of class rivalry and youth gangs, Coppola assembled an incredible cast of newcomers - Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Tom Cruise - who would all become major stars within a few years. The loving attention to the teenagers version of regional dialect and culture so important to Hinton’s first novel - written when she was only nineteen years old - is fully captured by Coppola’s typically detail-rich filmmaking, which uses its Oklahoma setting to suggest a world of slow change out of step with its anxious youth.

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Monday August 23 at 7pm

Rumble Fish

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
With Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke
US 1983, 35mm, b/w and color, 93 min.

One of the Coppola’s most overtly stylized works, Rumble Fish uses its breathtaking black and white, Koyanisqaatsi-inspired time-lapse photography and propulsive original score by The Police’s Stewart Copland to evoke a dream world of alienated youth. A beautiful postmodern art film, Rumble Fish is wonderfully uncertain of its time and place, stranding glittering icons of Fifties Americana - pool halls, flickering neon signs - within an Eighties post-industrial wasteland. The stylistic bricolage shapes the performances too, with Matt Dillon channeling Method Acting as a young man infatuated with the enigma of his self-absorbed brother, played with whispering intensity by a Marcel Camus-meets-Marlon Brando modeled Mickey Rourke. The late Dennis Hopper makes a poignant appearance as the absent even when present father who proves that the center inevitably cannot hold.

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700