Summer on-screen events at the Hop include the latest from filmmaker Ken Burns, three films tied to a probing community education program, a chance to get hooked on swing dance, and a screen version of one of the definitive works of 20th-century theater.
On Thursday, July 13, 7 pm, in Spaulding Auditorium, Burns and co-director Lynn Novick will present a sneak preview from their now-finished series The Vietnam War, giving Hop audiences a first look before its fall 2017 PBS premiere. Structured chronologically, this groundbreaking 360-degree narrative is built around interviews and personal stories of nearly 100 American and Vietnamese witnesses—veterans as well as civilians—who lived through the war. The screening will be followed by, which will be followed by an onstage conversation between Burns, Novick and Edward Miller, Dartmouth associate professor of history, who consulted on the film.
Critics are already talking about this series as Burns’ most impactful and definitive since his monumental 1990 series The Civil War, which made the filmmaker a household name and established him as a primary voice in teaching Americans, in an informed and engaging way, about their nation’s history. Six years in the making, the series brings the conflict and the chaotic epoch it encompassed viscerally to life with digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations and more than 100 iconic musical recordings by many of the greatest artists of the era.
Summer films also include three films tied to the lecture series “Global Challenges Confronting the US,” presented by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth but that are also open to people not taking part in the Osher course. Those films are Zero Days (Tuesday, July 18, 7 pm, Spaulding), Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s (Going Clear) chilling and edifying exploration of “Stuxnet,” the malware which the U.S. and Israel launched during a black ops cyber attack on an Iranian nuclear facility in 2010; Last Men in Aleppo (Tuesday, July 25, 7 pm, Spaulding), Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad’s breathtaking reportage of the internationally recognized White Helmets, an organization comprised of ordinary citizens brave military strikes in the hope of saving lives; and Tomorrow (Tuesday, August 15, 7 pm, Spaulding), an uplifting French documentary about everyday citizens who are trying—in some cases succeeding—to make the world a better, greener place.
Amid these heavy topics, we also take to heart the words of anarchist political activist and writer Emma Goldman: “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” On Sunday, July 23, 4 pm, Loew Auditorium, Hop Film presents Alive and Kicking, an exhilarating new documentary offering an insider’s look at the culture of swing dancing. Immediately afterwards, join in on an introductory swing dance lesson and dance party with Faye Grearson on the Maffei Plaza!
Other films in the summer line-up include An Art That Nature Makes (Sunday, July 16, 4 pm, Loew), a haunting and beautiful portrait of acclaimed photographer Rosamond Purcell, who finds breathtaking beauty in the discarded and decayed, followed by a discussion with Purcell herself; The Wedding Plan (Sunday, July 30, 4 pm, Loew), a hilarious Israeli rom-com from inside the cloistered Orthodox Jewish community by a director who knows it well; and Beatriz at Dinner (Saturday, August 12, 7 pm, Loew), which Variety called a “dramatic comedy for the Age of Trump,” starring Salma Hayek, John Lithgow and Dartmouth alum Connie Britton.
Summer is also a time to make time for National Theatre Live’s two-part HD video broadcast of its new production of Angels in America, Parts 1 & 2, Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer- and Tony-winning epic about AIDS, sexuality, religion, politics, love and betrayal. The play includes now-classic depictions of fascinating historical figures like Emma Goldman and lawyer Roy Cohn, known for his key roles in the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and the Army-McCarthy hearings, and as the win-at-all-costs legal counsel to, among many others, President Donald Trump during his early business career. Parts 1 & 2 may be watched on two successive Saturdays, July 22 and 29, at 7 pm, or two successive Sundays, August 13 and 20, at 4 pm—or any combination of those screenings, which are all in the Loew.