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Repertory Picks

A Jonathan Demme Tribute in Georgia

Today through Sunday—in tribute to the inimitable American auteur Jonathan Demme, who died in April at the age of seventy-three—the Athens Ciné in downtown Athens, Georgia, will present the filmmaker’s 1986 Something Wild. The comic thriller revolves around the unlikely affair between buttoned-up yuppie Charles (Jeff Daniels) and black-bobbed rebel Lulu (Melanie Griffith), who meet by chance in a Manhattan diner and soon find themselves peeling out of the city to embark on a freewheeling road trip across the country. It is with the sudden appearance, along the way, of Lulu’s ex-con husband, Ray (Ray Liotta, remarkable in his first major role), that Demme’s offbeat story of self-discovery takes on an altogether darker cast, a shift in mood negotiated by the director with his typical stylistic panache, bighearted characterizations, and eclectic use of music. “What distinguishes Demme’s moviemaking is an openness to life in all its diversity,” writes critic David Thompson in his liner essay on our release of the film, “and Something Wild, with its playful generosity, is as fine an example as anything in his career,” a film that, in spite of its ultimately noirish trajectory, remains distinctly “pleasurable and loose-limbed.”

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