Between the Lines

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USA | 1977 | 101 minutes | Joan Micklin Silver

Jeff Goldblum, John Heard, and Lindsay Crouse lead this easygoing, exuberant dramedy from 1977, presented in a new 2k restoration, about a Boston-based underground newspaper as it battles a takeover by commercial forces.

"'Between the Lines' is more timely than ever"—IndieWire

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

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A charming ensemble cast of then-unknowns leads this Altman-esque spotlight on the daily struggles within an alternative newspaper in 1970s Boston. "All of us on this paper are either on our way up or on our way down," says the editor of fictional alt-weekly The Back Bay Mainline, whose irreverent, familial staff members are facing professional and personal crossroads: News reporter Harry (John Heard) is coasting on past successes, while his on-again-off-again romantic partner Abbie (Lindsay Crouse) sees her star rising as lead photographer; music critic Max (Jeff Goldblum) uses his gift for pseudo-intellectual gab to pick up girls, yet can't make ends meet without frequent visits to the pawnshop. Meanwhile, a cub reporter (Bruno Kirby) attempts to make his mark, a newspaper vendor (Michael J. Pollard) may be living under the office pinball machine, and the office secretary (Jill Eikenberry) is the only one who understands the changes to come after the paper is sold to a milquetoast publishing giant. Working from an energetic script by journalist Fred Barron, director Joan Micklin Silver, one of a handful of female narrative film directors working in the male-dominated 1970s, followed her Oscar®-nominated breakthrough film Hester Street with this impressive and honest character study, one infused with still-relevant messages about the role of the free press in an increasingly corporate world.

Clinton McClung

Director Biography
Born in 1935, to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents in Nebraska, Joan Micklin Silver was initially ignored by major studios as a female director interested in depicting Jewish topics and subjects. Undeterred, she created her own production and distribution company with her husband Raphael D. Silver, proving that Jewish films could appeal to a wide audience. A prolific writer and director, her films include Hester Street (1975), Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979), Crossing Delancy (1988), and A Fish in the Bathtub (1999).

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  • Director: Joan Micklin Silver
  • Principal Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Jill Eikenberry, Bruno Kirby, Lindsay Crouse, Gwen Welles, Joe Morton, John Heard
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 1977
  • Running Time: 101 minutes
  • Producer: Raphael D. Silver
  • Screenplay: Fred Barron
  • Cinematographers: Kenneth Van Sickle
  • Editors: John Carter
  • Music: Michael Kamen, Steve Van Zandt
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Berlin International Film Festival 1977 (Reader Jury Prize, Interfilm Award - Otto Dibelius Film Award); Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 1977 (New Generation Award)
  • Filmography: A Fish in the Bathtub (1998); Big Girls Don’t Cry... They Get Even (1992); Loverboy (1989); Crossing Delancey (1988); Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979); Hester Street (1975)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Cohen Media