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“Hopper Happens” On The Silver Screen

Kris Burns, a resident artist at the Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY sees Edward Hopper everywhere. Although the American artist and Nyack native passed away in 1967, she sees his continuing influence in art, photography and movies. As part of the Year of Edward Hopper Celebration in Nyack, Burns is coordinating the Hopper Happens Movie Binge, a film festival showing the work of filmmakers that were influenced by Edward Hopper. The film series is being shown at the Nyack Village Theatre, located at 94 Main Street (on the second floor of the Woolworth building) from June 10-12.

“As I was putting together events related to the Year Of Edward Hopper in Nyack, I came across Edward Hopper’s remarkable and enduring connection to film over and over again,” says Burns. She cites a story she read in the NY Observer about Hopper’s iconic painting Nighthawks. “Hopper was inspired to paint his most famous work after reading Ernest Hemingway’s story The Killers, in which two hit men arrive at a small-town diner. In 1946, when Robert Siodmak made the film version of The Killers, he turned to Hopper, carefully re-creating Nighthawks in black and white, and continuing to evoke Hopper in lonely hotel rooms and isolated gas stations.”

“When I don’t feel in the mood for painting, I go to the movies for a week or more. I go on a regular movie binge.” — Edward Hopper


Burns has assembled a list of Hopper influenced movies as part of Hopper Happens, a series of “live art moment” flash mobs, public prose and poetry readings and video projections throughout the Village of Nyack though July 17. Tickets to the five feature film series (with 2 short films on Sunday) are $8 per showing and $20 for the complete series.

“All of the films in this series were selected for either their subtle or overt allusions to specific Hopper paintings and his pervasive and extraordinary quality of light and living,” says Burns.

Filmmakers and Hopper have a mutual love affair, according to Burns. Hopper went to the cinema for inspiration and the cinematographers of these films, the one’s responsible for the look and feel of a movie, often went to Hopper exhibits, which is why the intimate ties to Hopper is still evident today.
This mutual admiration between film and Hopper continued throughout his career, so much so, that one often wonders where one begins and the other ends; Hopper’s early 1921 etching Night Shadows looks just like a film still from a Fritz Lang movie and Joshua Logen’s 1955 Picnic looks like an animated series of Hopper paintings.

The films included in the Hopper Happens Movie Binge include:

Fri June 10
7p DAYS OF HEAVEN 1978 Starring: Richard Gere, Sam Shepard and Brooke Adams Director: Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life, The Thin Red Line) Cinematographer: Nestor Almendros (Sophie’s Choice, Kramer vs. Kramer)

Sat June 11
2p FORCE OF EVIL 1948 Starring: James Garfiled and Thomas Gomez Director: Abraham Polonsky (Tell Them Willie Boy is Here, Body and Soul) Cinematographer: George Barnes (The Greatest Show on Earth, Meet John Doe)
7p PICNIC 1955 Starring: William Hoden and Kim Novak Director: Joshua Logan (Mister Roberts, The Thin Man) Cinematographer: James Howe Wong (The Thin Man, Hud)

Sun June 12
2p FROM THE BBC SERIES: IMAGINE THE MYSTERIOUS MR. HOPPER (17 MIN) 2009 (featuring an interview with local author David Means, The Spot, Assorted Fire Events) Director: Alan Yentob Featuring an interview with local author David Means
2:20p THE KILLERS 1946 Starring: Burt Landcaster and Ava Gardner Director: Robert Siodmak (The Spiral Staircase, Criss Cross) Cinematographer: Elwood Bredell (Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror)
7p THE WONDER RING 1955 Director: Joseph Cornell and Stan Brakhage
7:10p DON’T COME KNOCKING 2005 Starring: Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange Director : Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire) Cinematographer: Franz Lustig (Land of Plenty, Palermo Shooting)

The HOPPER HAPPENS Movie Binge happens between June 12 and 19 at the Nyack Village Theater 94 Main Street (upstairs) $8 single ticket and $20 for entire series. Tickets are available online

For more information on Hopper Happens events, visit

See also: Hopper Happens: Inside & Out(side), 5/27/2011

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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