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FRIDAY - Philip Seymour Hoffman: A Retrospective

Programmed by: Rocco Fantini

“I didn’t go out looking for negative characters: I went out looking for people who have a struggle and a fight to tackle. That’s what interests me.” – Philip Seymour Hoffman

In the actor’s obituary, the New York Times described Philip Seymour Hoffman as “perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation.” Hoffman’s versatility, brilliance, and scene-stealing presence makes his often-troubled characters a joy to watch. Although he lacked the stereotypical “look” of a Hollywood star, Hoffman—thrusted into acting after being inspired by a stage production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons as a child—never failed to breathe humanity into every on-screen role he took on. Whether playing an empathetic male nurse in Magnolia, a distressed theater professor in The Savages, or a deranged cult leader in The Master, Hoffman always captivated audiences, elevating each film he starred in by virtue of his sheer talent.

Through this retrospective, Doc Films will present an exciting selection of Hoffman’s filmography, offering a mix of fan-favorites (Synecdoche, New York), blockbusters (Hunger Games), and more subtle works (Love Liza). Whether or not one is a major fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman—although, frankly, who isn’t?—doesn’t change the fact that this series has something for all audiences. And, as we near the tenth anniversary of the actor’s untimely death, these screenings will allow Doc-goers to soak in some truly masterful performances.

7:00PM Friday, January 6th

Synecdoche, New York (2008) still

Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Charlie Kaufman · 123m · 35mm

Synecdoche, New York follows Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an ailing theater director, as he leaves his bleak life in Schenectady, New York to create a mind-bending theater production that seeks to mirror all life in New York City—by literally recreating the city inside a massive warehouse. A film Roger Ebert called the best of the decade, Synecdoche, New York demands multiple viewings to fully appreciate its sheer complexity and surrealism.

Tickets can be bought here.

7:00PM Friday, January 13th

Magnolia (1999) still

Magnolia (1999)

Paul Thomas Anderson · 183m · Digital

PTA’s Magnolia is a varied tapestry of interwoven stories, each following a different resident of Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, and slowly coming together as the story unfolds. A marathon of unearthed secrets, family drama, and unrequited desire—with a final twist that feels almost like divine intervention—this is a film that shines through both the stellar performances of its ensemble cast and the tense relationships that Anderson constructs.

Note: previously billed as 35mm, but changed to digital.

Tickets can be bought here.

7:00PM Friday, January 20th

Love Liza (2002) still

Love Liza (2002)

Todd Louiso · 90m · 35mm

Love Liza centers website designer Wilson Joel (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who turns to gasoline fumes after the unexplained suicide of his wife Liza. Attempting to cope with his deteriorating psyche, he delves deeper and deeper into a spiral of self-destruction in one of this series' most subtle features. Todd Louiso puts Hoffman’s acting chops at the forefront of the film, producing a stunning study of a harrowing miasma of loss and pain.

Tickets can be bought here.

7:00PM Friday, January 27th

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) still

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Francis Lawrence · 156m · DCP

Set one year after the series’s first installment, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a star-studded blockbuster that follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) amid a tumultuous time across Panem, where rebellion—inspired by their victory in the 74th Hunger Games—is brewing. With a myriad of new characters, such as Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), this sequel is a fun, gripping watch.

Tickets can be bought here.

7:00PM Friday, February 3rd

Scent of a Woman (1992) still

Scent of a Woman (1992)

Martin Brest · 157m · 35mm

An Oscar-winning remake of the 1974 Italian original, the 1992 Scent of a Woman stars Al Pacino as a blind, impossible-to-get-along-with former US army Lt. Col., and Chris O’Donnell as a struggling student who agrees to “babysit” Pacino’s character for purported “easy money.” Instead, over the course of a wild weekend in New York City, the rambunctious veteran teaches the mild-mannered student a thing or two about women, tango, and adulthood.

Tickets can be bought here.

7:00PM Friday, February 10th

The Savages (2007) still

The Savages (2007)

Tamara Jenkins · 113m · 35mm

While critically acclaimed, The Savages is still one of this series’ most criminally-underwatched films. In it, playwright Wendy Savage (Laura Linney) and her brother Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman) care for their estranged, senile father, all the while reckoning with the dysfunctional nature of their familial and personal lives. It is a harrowing depiction of a dreaded but largely universal experience—that of watching a parent age and ultimately die.

Tickets can be bought here.

7:00PM Friday, February 17th

The Master (2012) still

The Master (2012)

Paul Thomas Anderson · 137m · 35mm

The Master follows traumatized Navy veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) after he returns from serving in WWII. One fateful night, he stows away on a passing yacht being used by Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the charismatic leader of “The Cause”. Dodd is immediately enamored with Quell, setting off a tempestuous relationship between the two. Phoenix and Hoffman's searing performances in this film are career-defining and unforgettable.

Tickets can be bought here.

7:00PM Friday, February 24th

25th Hour (2002) still

25th Hour (2002)

Spike Lee · 135m · 35mm

The first studio film to incorporate the 9/11 attacks into its narrative, Spike Lee’s 25th Hour matches the funereal, somber tone in NYC at that time. The film follows former drug dealer Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) as he reevaluates his life in the 24 remaining hours before his 7-year prison sentence, spending time with his closest friends (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper) and preparing his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) for his lengthy absence.

Tickets can be bought here.

7:00PM Friday, March 3rd

A Most Wanted Man (2014) still

A Most Wanted Man (2014)

Anton Corbijn · 122m · 35mm

The last film Philip Seymour Hoffman completed before his death, A Most Wanted Man is an espionage thriller about a tortured Chechen migrant (Grigoriy Dobrygin) who settles in Hamburg and becomes a person of interest for a German agent’s (Philip Seymour Hoffman) rogue counterterrorism work. Based on John le Carre’s novel of the same name, this is a tense, cerebral tale of intrigue, rivalry, and politics—right through to its final hair-raising scene.

Tickets can be bought here.