Saturday, October 19

Rarities (past events)Special Events ArchiveThe Film and… Festival: Year Zero

Bigger Than Life

The Film and… Festival

Film and… Conversation!

Jonathan Lethem & Susan Choi Present: Live Commentary Screening!

1956 • dir Nicholas Ray w/James Mason, Barbara Rush, Christopher Olsen, Walter Matthau, Robert Simon • 93 min • DCP

This unique event is the real centerpiece of the “Year Zero” edition of the FILM AND… FESTIVAL. On Saturday evening, acclaimed author Jonathan Lethem (Fortress of Solitude, Motherless Brooklyn, The Feral Detective) has invited his friend and fellow author Susan Choi (American Woman, A Person of Interest, Trust Exercise) to the Brattle for a ‘live commentary track’ for this film that they mutually admire – expect a wide-ranging conversation during this experiment!

Nicholas Ray’s BIGGER THAN LIFE follows the devolution of an intelligent family man (Mason) into a disturbed individual thanks to the use and misuse of prescribed pills. Rejected by American critics upon release but revered by the Cahiers du Cinema crowd of future filmmakers Godard and Truffaut, BIGGER THAN LIFE has come to be appreciated as a great film that makes innovative use of the CinemaScope frame to examine – not the wide open plains of the Western – but the claustrophobic confines of the American home and the troubled human mind.

BIGGER THAN LIFE also screens without the live commentary track at 5:00pm since many aspects of the dialogue will be obscured during the main showtime. We encourage those that can to watch the film ahead of time. A ticket for the 7pm screening will also allow entry into the 5pm.

“Mason’s gift for cold-eyed madness is heightened by Ray’s exuberantly lurid approach.”
– Richard Brody, New Yorker

Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem is an American novelist, essayist, and short story writer. His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn, a National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel that achieved mainstream success. In 2003, he published The Fortress of Solitude, which became a New York Times Best Seller. In 2005, he received a MacArthur Fellowship.

Susan Choi

Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her third novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2010 she was named the inaugural recipient of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award. Her fourth novel, My Education, received a 2014 Lammy Award. Her fifth novel is Trust Exercise (April 2019) and her first book for children is Camp Tiger (May 2019). A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, she teaches fiction writing at Yale and lives in Brooklyn.

Ticket Information:

Click a showtime to purchase tickets:

Saturday 10/19
at 5:00 (no commentary), 7:00 (live commentary)

Ticket prices for this special event are $15 general admission; $12 students, seniors, Brattle members; Brattle member passes will be accepted. Ticket allows entry into 5pm screening as well as 7pm screening. Special, Usher, and Producer members may reserve seats in advance [instructions]. Regular & Dual Members may redeem passes at the box office pending availability.