Basilica Non-Fiction Screening Series: Cousin Bobby
Thursday, June 22 | 8PM
Presented in collaboration with True/False Film Festival’s Chris Boekmann
Image: Cousin Bobby, Jonathan Demme, 1992, 70 min
$5 – $10 sliding scale, free for kids and teens
Basilica Hudson hosts a special screening of Jonathan Demme’s long-unavailable 1992 documentary Cousin Bobby. The film will be screened in tribute to the Academy Award-winning director of Silence of the Lambs, Stop Making Sense and more, who passed away earlier this year.
Demme’s favorite and most personal work, Cousin Bobby focuses on Demme’s cousin Robert Castle, an Episcopalian priest known for his work in the black communities of Jersey City and Harlem.
“The fact that Jonathan Demme had not seen his cousin the Rev. Robert Castle in 30-odd years is not sufficient to explain Cousin Bobby, Mr. Demme’s documentary account of his cousin’s life. Plenty of people have long-lost relatives, and not all of those relatives’ stories belong on film. But something special was at work here: a true meeting of the minds, which the film captures effortlessly, and a remarkable family trait both cousins share. Both Mr. Demme, the Academy Award-winning director, and Father Castle, the priest in charge at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, are avid enthusiasts, and both are fueled by an idealism that elevates “Cousin Bobby” well beyond the home-movie realm…
“Father Castle’s view of racial politics in America seems to surprise even some of his black parishioners, and the film recounts the ways his radical stance has brought him both satisfaction and trouble. In his Jersey City parish in the 1960’s, he was closely involved with the Black Panthers and was particularly influenced by the late Isaiah Rowley, one of the people to whom “Cousin Bobby” is dedicated.” (Janet Maslin, New York Times)
Please consider making a donation to AI Justice in honor of Jonathan Demme.
The Basilica Non-Fiction Screening Series celebrates and interrogates the documentary genre through screenings and dialogue with visiting directors. The series is produced in collaboration with Chris Boeckmann, film programmer for the Columbia, MO-based True/False Film Fest, a pioneering film festival dedicated to exploring creative nonfiction film.
The series will form part of Basilica’s long-standing film program, which is now in its sixth year and continues to present an array of works from new and repertory narrative features, documentaries, experimental films, to video and media art, often with filmmakers and special guests in attendance for a discussion following the screenings.