SATURDAY APRIL 21 / 8PM / CINECLUB / STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN A Matter of Life and Death (1946) is a romantic fantasy film set in World War II by the British writer-director-producer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It was originally released in U.S. under the title Stairway to Heaven, which derived from the film’s most prominent special effect: a broad escalator linking the Other World and Earth. Reversing the effect in The Wizard of Oz, the supernatural scenes are in “Technicolor mono-chrome” (a special process developed jointly by Director of Photography Jack Cardiff and Technicolor London), while the natural scenes on Earth are in Technicolor. Photographic dissolves between “Technicolor mono-chrome” (the Other World) and Three-Strip Technicolor (Earth) are used several times during the film.
Returning to England from a bombing run in May 1945, flyer Peter Carter’s plane is damaged and his parachute ripped to shreds. He has his crew bail out safely, but figures it is curtains for himself. He gets on the radio, and talks to June, a young American woman working for the USAAF, and they are quite moved by each other’s voices. Then he jumps, preferring this to burning up with his plane. He wakes up in the surf. It was his time to die, but there was a mixup in heaven. They couldn’t find him in all that fog. By the time his “Conductor” catches up with him 20 hours later, Peter and June have met and fallen in love. This changes everything, and since it happened through no fault of his own, Peter figures that heaven owes him a second chance. Heaven agrees to a trial to decide his fate.
Stairway to Heaven [A Matter of Life and Death], 1946, 104 mn
The screening will be followed by discussion, wine and live music
free admission / suggested donation: $5