We knew it was coming, and now its official. The Belcourt Theatre will close on Dec. 25, 2015 to begin the renovation and preservation work on its 90-year-old building. Construction is expected to take approximately five to six months.
There is plenty to see before then, though. Programming scheduled for November and December includes a Wim Wenders retrospective, a restored print of the Disney classic Fantasia, a digital restoration of Jacques Rivette’s 13-hour OUT 1 and much more, including a Belcourt tradition, the holiday run of the Frank Capra classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.
Wim Wenders: Portraits Along The Road, screening November 7-19, will feature six of the director’s classics, including The American Friend, Alice in the Cities, Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas, Until the End of the World, and Buena Vista Social Club. Action, Anarchy, and Audacity: A Seijun Suzuki Retrospective, A 12-film celebration of the work of Japanese filmmaker, will run Nov. 27-Dec. 9. The 75th anniversary restoration of Fantasia will run Oct. 30-Nov. 5, and Rivette’s OUT 1 will screen Dec. 12-13. New releases include the November 6 opening of Room, based on the Booker Prize-shortlisted bestselling novel, starring Brie Larson and nine-year-old Jacob Tremblay. Also scheduled are a new feature from celebrated Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, The Assassin, and artist Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog. More details on all films scheduled are on the Belcourt’s website.
The Belcourt has assured members that their memberships will be extended to cover the closure period. A range of programs, including a series of films of pop-up screenings with partners around Nashville, will continue. The theatre’s education program, led by Allison Inman, will continue teaching visual literacy through films and related activities via its Mobile Movie Theatre. The Belcourt’s annual A Red Carpet Evening, held on the night of the Academy Awards, will take place at a location TBD.
The last major restoration work on the Belcourt’s building occurred nearly 50 years ago. Project plans and renderings are available at belcourtcampaign.org. Support for the $4.5 million project — of which $3,216,000 has been received in gifts and pledges to date — is being raised through the nonprofit cinema’s ongoing Belcourt Campaign. The Belcourt continues to actively seek gifts to the campaign from individuals, foundations, and businesses.
“We’re enormously grateful to the individuals, foundations and companies that have supported us with leadership gifts thus far,” said Stephanie Silverman, the Belcourt’s executive director, in a statement this morning. “As we continue to seek gifts and pledges to reach the Belcourt Campaign’s goal, it’s essential to undertake this very necessary work on our aging building. It’s the right timing, and it allows us to complete the construction as efficiently as possible, so we can reopen soon with a big celebration and a great slate of films.”