Today is Woody Allen's 79th birthday. When he was an undergraduate at NYU, Allen failed a course in film making. That bump in the road did not stop him from becoming one of the most acclaimed directors of all time. Allen's story is not unusual. Many successful people failed a course or were told that they would never succeed. They believed in themselves and proved their critics wrong. Believe in yourself. If you know a young person who is struggling with confidence, be encouraging and supportive. Getting an F in a class or being fired is not the end of the world. In fact, for Woody Allen, it was the start of a great career.
[“Sabbath” is Career Calling’s Sunday feature on work and life.]
The Work of the Un-Popular
The most popular movies this holiday weekend are the third installment of the Fockers’ series and the Coen brothers’ version of True Grit. These films will bring in millions of dollars. Art house theaters focus more on foreign films and retrospectives of classic films, stars, and directors. In Chicago, The Music Box Theatre is a classic place to see such movies.
The theatre was built in 1929, and on weekends it often has someone playing a pipe organ to celebrate the sounds of those early years. The building has had a rocky history, including a stint showing pornographic films. Over the past few decades, however, it has given Chicagoans a place to see movies large entertainment companies won’t show. I’ve been to the theater for everything from classic silent films and retrospectives to foreign films.
2011 will be an exciting year at the Music Box. January will be a celebration of Woody Allen, who is turning 75. From late January through February there will be screenings of films featuring Ingrid Bergman. The most exciting program for me will be Silent Cinema Saturday. Every two months there will be classic films featuring Buster Keaton, Clara Bow, and Douglas Fairbanks.
The people who run the Music Box aren’t making millions. They run a business that appeals to a limited audience. At the same time, they offer films that have few champions. Their work is to give life to films that most people don’t want to see. It’s easy in the age of streaming video and on-demand channels to dismiss a business like the Music Box. That would be a mistake. People still go to movies to share a group experience (or video would have killed movie theaters long ago). A place like the Music Box lets people of all generations and backgrounds share their passion for things the main stream doesn’t want. That’s good work – may it continue for a long time.
Sunday Extra Helping:
A photo of the Music Box