4525-47a Avenue, Red Deer, AB T4N 6Z6
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In 1965, the year before his death, the Venice Film Festival gave a tribute to Buster Keaton where he received a five-minute standing ovation. In Peter Bogdanovich’s documentary The Great Buster: A Celebration, the director and film historian pays his own tribute to Keaton’s life and legacy, with a focus on the films he made independently before he signed on to a major studio, and how the introduction of sound changed cinema forever.
Bogdanovich sets out to remind us of the star’s influence and ingenuity through a combination of Bogdanovich’s narration, a series of interviews with filmmakers, collaborators, performers, and friends, and, of course, a cavalcade of spectacularly restored footage from Keaton’s films. From his birth, to his time on the vaudeville circuit, to his directing years, to what he called “the biggest mistake of his life,” The Great Buster tracks the highs and lows of Keaton’s professional and personal lives. The final third of the film is a study of the actor-director’s finest and most visionary creative period, citing his dark comedy, The General, as not only his finest work but also one of the best films in cinema history.
Director Werner Herzog may say it best in the film: “He is the essence of movies, one of the inventors of cinema.” Bogdanovich demonstrates this idea quite literally with a sequence featuring one of Keaton’s more daring stunts — his falling house bit, which has been repeated in film and television countless times. The Great Buster is an ode to this cinema legend and evidence that comedy can be timeless.
“Keaton and the era he symbolized is long gone, but this documentary reminds us that he lives forever.” —Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
Principal Cast: Mel Brooks, Quentin Tarantino, Werner Herzog, Dick Van Dyke, Johnny Knoxville
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5402 - 47 STREET RED DEER, AB T4N 6Z4
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