Middlebury Classic Film Club announces schedule

“THE JOY LUCK Club” will start the Middlebury Community Classic Film Club’s fall season on Sept., 26, 6-8:30 p.m., in the Ilsley Library’s Community Meeting Room. Free and open to all.

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Community Classic Film Club is excited to be starting its new set of films. This season the theme is “The Pursuit of Happiness.” All films will be shown from 6-8:30 p.m., at the Ilsley Library’s Community Meeting Room. 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Of all the lines that Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, that one is likely the most well known. If you visit Philadelphia you might walk by the house at 7th and Market streets where he wrote the Declaration and imagine him drafting those stirring words.

But there is an underlying irony here. As famous as Jefferson’s reference to the pursuit of happiness is, it is unclear what it means specifically. Of course, we are not promised happiness, rather we have the right to pursue it. Yet what are we chasing after? Whose happiness are we seeking — ours alone or that of our community? What happens when our pursuit conflicts with that of others? Is this a material happiness? A romantic happiness? Or is it something deeper — like a profound understanding of who we are and what our life’s purpose might be? 

At a time when we see such a struggle for a stable life both here and abroad, it seems fitting to explore films that explore the divergent pursuits of happiness. The Classic Film Club believes these powerful, award-winning movies will spark new ways to look at happiness and lead to wonderful discussions. 

Here’s a preview of the film club’s selections for the fall 2019 series:


Sept. 26

“The Joy Luck Club” (1993) brings Amy Tan’s best selling novel to the screen portraying the struggle that four Chinese women and their Chinese-American daughters confront amidst war, revolution, and immigration. This film connects viewers with the very personal way they define happiness and the universal implications they envision for that ideal. Rosalind Chao, Tamlyn Tomita, and Vivian Wu star in a film that crosses cultures and generations. 


Oct. 17

“Marty” (1955), the film for October, tells the story of a lonely bachelor who wonders if he will ever find happiness. And then, one night his life changes. But will he find a way to change as well or will he miss his one best chance? Marty won four Academy Awards- Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine) and Best Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky). 


Nov. 14

“A Raisin in the Sun” (1961) starring Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee. An insurance payment to a disadvantaged African American family presents an opportunity and a challenge when diverging pathways to happiness clash. Which route will they take and how will they confront the racism that seeks to diminish their chances in the first place? This groundbreaking film was adapted from Lorraine Hansberry’s inspired play.  


Dec. 5

“Roman Holiday” (1953), the story of a princess who escapes her royal bubble to find freedom and romance in Rome. Audrey Hepburn won the Academy Award for Best Actress in her starring role. Gregory Peck costarred as an enterprising reporter. Roman Holiday also won Oscars for best costume design and best story. 


Each film will be followed by a discussion. Whether an old friend or a new one the club hopes to see you this fall. They promise good coffee, popcorn and home-baked chocolate chip cookies along with great films, interesting discussions and a community spirit.

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