Seeing Alaska in Bill Forsyth's Local Hero

Inside Criterion / On the Channel — Apr 9, 2018

What’s it like to live in Alaska? Though it has rarely gotten its due on the big screen, programmer Colette Costa sets out to tackle this question in her ongoing series on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, highlighting movies that—despite being filmed elsewhere—capture the spirit of living in America’s largest and most sparsely populated state. Last year, Costa kicked off the series as part of the Channel-exclusive program Art-House America, in which we shined a spotlight on how her tireless work has turned a small theater called the Gold Town Nickelodeon into a home for movie-loving locals in Juneau, Alaska. This week, Costa’s series finds her revisiting Local Hero, director Bill Forsyth’s 1983 ode to his native Scotland, which follows the story of a Texas oil executive (Peter Riegert) sent by his boss (Burt Lancaster) to buy up land in a Scottish village. In the above introduction, Costa talks about how she first encountered this wry, poignant comedy years before moving to Alaska, and how its depiction of a remote town and its vibrant, often quirky community has come to feel familiar to her now that she calls Juneau home.