FACETS announces ‘A Tribute to Sidney Poitier’ series screening

FACETS’ 2022 special cinema programs continue with a series paying tribute to the career of legendary performer Sidney Poitier.

Celebrate the life of the icon with four films that helped define his status as Hollywood’s first Black leading man, programmed by FACETS Film Program Director, Charles Coleman. Mr. Poitier’s legacy as one of the iconic screen figures of the Civil Rights Era extended across years of Hollywood film and into work as an activist, diplomat, and humanitarian. His screen presence as a proud Black man dealing with societal prejudice and racism allowed him to become the first Black star in Hollywood who could get a film produced with his name attached. 

Running March 6-27, 2022 on Sundays at 1 PM, A Tribute to Sidney Poitier: Four Films Celebrating His On-Screen Legacy features No Way Out (3/6 at 1 PM), A Raisin in the Sun (3/13 at 1 PM), Paris Blues (3/20 at 1 PM) and In the Heat of the Night (3/27 at 1 PM). Tickets cost $12/person per screening, and $9 for FACETS Members with proof of active membership.

FACETS Film Program Director, Charles Coleman said: “The life and career of Sidney Poitier, who passed away on January 6, 2022, mirrored profound changes within our society, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s. As racial attitudes evolved and segregation laws were challenged, Sidney Poitier was the performer to whom a cautious film industry turned for stories of progress by portraying protagonists who faced complicated issues, such as race relations and socioeconomic deprivations, with a rare combination of vulnerability, anger, and self-respect. A Tribute to Sidney Poitier celebrates this legacy with four films that helped solidify Mr. Poitier as Hollywood’s first bona fide Black leading man.” 

Series Description:

From March 6-27, FACETS presents a retrospective of four Sidney Poitier films spotlighting his extraordinary career and achievements. As an actor, director, activist, and humanitarian, Mr. Poitier was a pioneer on many fronts, and in 1963 was Hollywood’s first Black leading man to win an Academy Award for Lilies of the Field. He emerged as an iconic movie star during the civil rights era, a volatile time when there were few opportunities for Black actors or directors in Hollywood and was the first black actor who could get a film produced on his own name.
View the full series description on the webpage here.

Series Schedule:Sunday, March 6, 2022, 1:00 PM: No Way Out Nominated the Best Writing, Story, and Screenplay Oscar® at the 1950 Academy Awards, this intense drama about racial hatred pulls no punches.

When a white patient in a hospital dies under the care of a black intern (Sidney Poitier), the victim’s racist brother (Richard Widmark) seeks to destroy the doctor’s career. Although the hospital’s idealistic Chief Resident (Stephen McNally) tries to diffuse the escalating tension, the victim’s ex-wife (Linda Darnell) seems to go along with the vengeance-seeker—until she realizes she’s on the wrong side.

No Way Out will be presented with an introduction of the Poitier Tribute series and followed by a conversation led by series programmer Charles Coleman. 
Joseph Mankiewicz | U.S.A. | 1950 | 106 minutes 

Sunday, March 13, 2022, 1:00 PM: A Raisin in the Sun Nominated for Best Actor in a Play at the 1960 Tony Awards, Sidney Poitier was to be reunited with many of the original production’s cast members for Daniel Petrie’s big screen adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun the following year. Hansberry herself assumed writing duties on the film which follows the African American Younger family and their efforts to improve themselves in terms of social status, financial stability, and employment opportunities. The Younger family, frustrated with living in their crowded Chicago apartment, sees the arrival of a $10,000 insurance check as the answer to their prayers. 

Matriarch Lena Younger (Claudia McNeil) promptly puts a down payment on a house in an all-white suburban neighborhood. But the family is divided when Lena entrusts the balance of the money to her mercurial son Walter Lee (Poitier), against the wishes of her daughter (Diana Sands) and daughter-in-law (Ruby Dee). 
Daniel Petrie | U.S.A. | 1961 | 128 minutes 

Sunday, March 20, 2022, 1:00 PM: Paris Blues Based on Harold Flender’s 1957 eponymous novel, Paris Blues (1961) was shot on location in the French capital and focused on the lives of two ex-pat jazz musicians: saxophonist Eddie Cook (Sidney Poitier) and trombonist Ram Bowen (Paul Newman), living in self-imposed exile.Focusing on the musician’s respective romances with two vacationing tourists, Connie (Diahann Carroll) and Lillian (Joanne Woodward), the film’s intense screenplay highlights the differences regarding racial integration in the U.S. and France at that time.

In the years following World War II, a number of African-American jazz musicians took up residence in France, the working opportunities, and the appreciation that French audiences showed for their art, finding there not only a place to compose and play music but a haven from personal, social, and economic problems.  Paris Blues serves as a snapshot of this particular period where Paris provided a refuge for these artists of color (such as James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell) and would become an important site for African American jazz musicians across the 1920s and the ensuing decades.  Martin Ritt | U.S.A. | 1961 | 98 minutes 

Sunday, March 27, 2022, 1:00 PM: In the Heat of the Night A scathing attack on small-town racial bigotry wrapped in a gripping crime narrative, Norman Jewison’s Best Picture winner saw Poitier play the character he is perhaps best known for: Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs.  
In the wrong place at the wrong time, Tibbs arrives in a small Southern town to visit his mother and finds himself drawn into a murder investigation in the fictional Mississippi town of Sparta. Initially the prime suspect, due to his being an African American and also carrying a substantial amount of cash, his very presence in the town is the cause of intense hostility from many locals. To investigate the murder, he is forced to partner with Chief Gillespie (Rod Steiger), whose views on racial matters are old-fashioned, to say the least.   Norman Jewison | U.S.A. | 1967 | 110 minutes 

Ticketing and More:Tickets are $12 /general public and $9/ FACETS Members. Guests are invited to BYOB and stop by before the screening to hangout in The Café to browse films and chat with friends. Concession items are available for purchase.

A Tribute to Sidney Poitier: Four Films Celebrating His On-Screen Legacy screening series is programmed by Charles Coleman, FACETS Film Program Director. To pre-order tickets, click here. For more information about FACETS’ Sidney Poitier tribute screenings, including full film synopses, trailers, and stills, visit facets.org/cinema
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FACETS Memberships: 
Become a FACETS Member today to receive special discounts, including up to 25% on all purchases and exclusive access to the organization’s video rental catalog of hard-to-find Blu-rays, DVDs, and VHS tapes. Sign up today at facets.org/members
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Health & Safety Protocols: 
Following the City of Chicago’s indoor mask advisory and to ensure the health and safety of anyone in the building, FACETS has updated the guidelines which are also outlined on the organization’s website at facets.org/faqs/

  • Proof of Vaccination: In accordance with the City of Chicago’s mandate, proof of vaccination is required at the box office for entry into FACETS Cinema
  • Masks: It is requested that all staff and guests wear a mask even if vaccinated 
  • Distancing: All guests and staff are encouraged to maintain physical distance 
  • Air and Cleanliness: Hand sanitizer stations are readily available in all public spaces, all surfaces are cleaned regularly and thoroughly, and ventilation systems are being examined and maximized 
  • Food and Beverage: It is requested masks are replaced after consumption of food and beverage 
  • Cinema Seating: Upon reopening in September, Cinema seating will be reserved, maximized for distancing, and at 40% capacity 
  • Purchasing: Online ticket purchasing is encouraged to reduce crowds and there will be credit card purchases only 
  • Health: If a patron is feeling unwell or has a fever, it is requested to enjoy FACETS’ Virtual Cinema from the comfort of one’s home when online viewing options are available.

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