Maiden Alley to showcase movies with a message

John Holt, Maiden Alley Cinema’s film programmer/technical director, preps the concession stand for a screening of “Back To The Future III” on Sunday afternoon. MAC plans to screen “Do The Right Thing” and “Tangerine” this weekend in recognition of recent protests against police brutality and also in recognition of LGBT Pride Month.

Maiden Alley Cinema, Paducah’s local independent movie theater, is dedicating this weekend’s slate to telling black and LGBT stories by screening Spike Lee’s 1989 classic “Do The Right Thing” and Sean Baker’s “Tangerine.”

The theater has been doing repertory screenings — showing classic movies like “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park” and the “Back to the Future” trilogy — since reopening two weeks ago and plans to continue with that strategy due to the lack of new release films as a result of the pandemic. This allows them to program for nostalgia or to showcase movies with a message, like this weekend.

Executive Director Rebecca Madding feels that showing movies like this is crucial to uplift voices that need to be heard, especially during this time of political unrest.

“It’s important to us to show these films because as an arthouse cinema it is a part of our mission to create cross cultural awareness through film,” Madding told The Sun. “By telling the stories of our black/LGBT communities we advocate for them and spread awareness to help create a dialogue for social change.”

“Do The Right Thing” tells the story of rising racial tensions in a New York neighborhood on a hot summer day before coming to a boil in a riot in front of a local pizzeria.

Corbin Snardon, a MAC board member and a Paducah-McCracken County NAACP officer, is of the opinion that Lee’s movie is a vital and stirring classic and one that needs to be seen.

“Spike Lee always has a unique way of filmmaking and telling stories. He’s one of the best, if not the best, black directors,” Snardon said. “Black cinema is something that’s extremely important to highlight.

“These are directors that tell our stories and they don’t do it in a token or false characterization way.”

“Tangerine” (2015) follows a transgender sex worker during a time of emotional strife. Starring Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, a transgender actress, the film’s presence in the slate is also part of MAC’s celebration of LGBT Pride Month. The film also demonstrates the importance of intersectionality — an understanding of how a person’s social and political identities can combine to create unique modes of discrimination — in progressive movements.

“(With) the current climate and BLM movement and June being PRIDE Month, we couldn’t think of a better time to showcase these films and to keep the conversation going,” Madding added.

The movies will be shown between June 26-28 (Friday and next Monday) at the downtown movie house. “Do The Right Thing” will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday. “Tangerine” will be screened at 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, visit www.maiden alleycinema.org.

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