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Film and Discussion
Ninotchka with commentary by JoAnn DiVerdi

110 mins, English
Sunday, February 10, 1:30pm
Members $8, Nonmembers $12

In this romantic-comedy of opposites, Ninotchka (Greta Garbo), a cold, pragmatic comrade from the Soviet Union, arrives in Paris to ensure the sale of jewels seized during the Russian Revolution. There, she encounters a member of the decadent bourgeois, Count Leon d’Algout (Melvyn Douglas). Leon eventually leaves his paramour, the Grand Duchess Swana, the original owner of said jewels, for the icy Ninotchka–who seems to be melting under his joie de vivre. Politically, it’s a unique moment in time for the United States. She’s wary but not yet fearful of the Soviet Union, not yet an ally, not yet a Cold War enemy. Free of all such pressures, and with the enormous talent that came to bear upon its creation, Ninotchka continues to delight.

But at the time of this film’s release, the big news was simply: “Garbo Laughs!” It’s impossible for anyone to watch Ninotchka and NOT laugh! It skewers both Parisian and Soviet mores. And, ultimately, thanks to copious amounts of champagne, unabashedly proclaims: “Lovers of the world, unite!”

JoAnn DiVerdi is a classic film columnist with a special devotion to those shot in black-and-white. Her columns have appeared in The Catholic Free Press and on the websites of 50 Plus CT and Mass Bay Film Project. She has a certificate of study in “50 Years of Hitchcock” from Ball State University and is conducting a film program in April at The Beaman Memorial Library in West Boylston on 1940s filmmaker Preston Sturges. She welcomes all to visit her on her website and to follow her on Twitter @JoAnnDiVerdi.