Francis Ford Coppola’s epic “The Godfather” and “Godfather II.” Sergio Leone’s classic spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” The nostalgic and poignant “Cinema Paradiso.”
They’re among seven Italian film classics showing this weekend at the restored North Park Theatre, to coincide with the Galbani Italian Cheese Heritage Festival on Hertel Avenue, which runs Thursday through Sunday.
Other classic and independent art films will be screened through the week, reflecting the movie house operators’ promise in March, when the theater reopened, to offer a diverse programming mix.
“It’s a very busy and exciting week – 10 films in one week,” said Ray Barker, the program director. “I think it shows what you can do with a single screen. I think we’re being eclectic and giving people plenty of reasons to come out.”
The other festival offerings are “Mediterraneo,” “Il Postino” and “The Italian Job.”
“I think there are generations of film fans who have not seen some of the classics on the big screen. Something like ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ definitely has to be on the big screen to be appreciated,” Barker said.
“Cinema Paradiso” was a huge hit for the theater when it debuted in 1988.
“It is one of the North Park’s most famous films. I think it had one of the longest runs – if not the longest run – in the theater’s history. It’s nice to bring that one back because a lot of people parallel the life of the single-screen theater in the film with the North Park itself,” Barker said.
Also on tap are a matinee of the children’s fantasy “Jason and the Argonauts,” with Ray Harryhausen’s acclaimed stop-motion animation; the newly restored Richard Lester-directed Beatles classic “A Hard Day’s Night;” and “A Most Wanted Man,” starring the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman in what may be his last released film.
The 26th annual festival will run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today through Sunday on Hertel Avenue. Activities includes cooking demonstrations, grape stomping and dance competitions, bocce tournaments, marionette shows, an “Italian Idol” singing competition, Sicilian puppet shows and more.