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Between the Lines  /  Crossing Delancey

Between the Lines
February 23, 2019 - 7:30 pm

Between the Lines  (1977)

New restoration!

Perhaps the only feature film ever made about an alt-weekly newspaper, this Boston-based story (alternately titled Fun While It Lasted) centers on the young and ambitious staff of the Back Bay Mainline, and boasts an unbelievable ensemble cast, some of them in their first starring roles. This second film from Joan Micklin Silver and her husband Ray Silver, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, was financed using their earnings from 1975’s historical romantic drama, Hester Street. “By 1978, when we were distributing Between the Lines, we found it difficult to get either the theaters we wanted or the numbers we wanted,” said Ray Silver. “We’d ask for twelve theaters in Atlanta, and we’d get six.” In this industry landscape, a human interest story, with no special effects or a chart-topping soundtrack and headlined by a cast of young unknowns, had a difficult time reaching audiences. Critics, however, found the cast to be standout and praised the script, the performances, and “Joan Micklin Silver’s firm director’s touch.”

DCP, color, 101 min. Director: Joan Micklin Silver. Screenwriter: Fred Barron. Cast: Stephen Collins, Lindsay Crouse, Jeff Goldblum, John Heard.

Crossing Delancey  (1988)

Starring Amy Irving as Isabelle Grossman, Crossing Delancey chronicles the parallel allegiances of a single, 30-year-old New Yorker who goes back and forth between the Lower East Side, where her loveable and meddlesome Jewish grandmother hires a matchmaker for her, and the Upper West Side, where she lives as a 1980s “independent” single woman trying to make it in the publishing world. Joan Micklin Silver was one of the few directors during the 1970s to not only make independent pictures a decade before there was a viable marketplace for such films, but also to make a successful transition into the studio system by the end of the decade, with her creative vision mostly intact. Crossing Delancey serves as a bookend to the body of work that she started in the 1970s, and connects to the themes Micklin Silver explored in Hester Street just over a decade earlier. As in her other works, Micklin Silver is playful in her approach to romantic themes, while never using humor to undermine the seriousness of falling in love or of heartbreak.

35mm, color, 97 min. Director: Joan Micklin Silver. Screenwriter: Susan Sandler. Cast: Amy Irving, Peter Riegert, Jeroen Krabbé, Reiz Bozyk.