The Shuswap Film Society is presenting two movies over the next week, both of which took place in the 1960s.
The first, on Saturday night, is The Courier, an edge-of-your-seat spy thriller based on true events during the Cold War. And on Wednesday, we’re showing Summer of Soul, the much-lauded and previously unreleased film about the Harlem Music Festival of 1969.
In 1960, ordinary British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch), who frequently travelled to Eastern Europe, was recruited by British intelligence to be a spy, looking for proof that the USSR was installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. Wynne reluctantly agreed and become a courier ferrying intel between Moscow and London. His co-conspirator was Oleg Penkovsky, a higher-up in the Russian power structure, willing to betray his country because he feared Khrushchev was going to bring them to the brink of war.
These are real men in terrifying circumstances, willingly risking their lives as they carefully engage with each other, passing secrets to prevent a nuclear war. In time, fears escalate that they will be caught, a “smooth exit” backfires and, as the movie ends, we find out the fate of our heroes, and the consequences they suffered for their courage. The fact that The Courier is based on real events adds to a nail-biting and fast-paced drama.
Summer of Soul is a Sundance-award winning, magnificent documentary about the forgotten Harlem Music Festival, with performances by a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson and more. A brilliant piece of music history, it’s been called “one of the best concert movies of all time.”
The Courier plays Oct. 2 at 5 and 7:30 p.m., and Summer of Soul shows Oct. 6 at 7:30, both at the Salmar Classic. Vaccine passports required.
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