The Godfather I and II

Completely restored for its recent DVD box set, Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar-winning The Godfather may look better now than it did in 1972. The famously thick chiaroscuro lighting of cinematographer Gordon Willis was just murk on VHS or TV. Now you can appreciate the lovely restoration. The Mario Puzo original was a bestselling novel of family, crime, and corruption that, when published in 1969, struck a generational, Nixon-era chord. For boomers, idealistic young Michael (Al Pacino) becomes a tragic hero undone by his loyalty to family; he’s sucked into the criminal enterprise of his father (Marlon Brando), lying to his wife Kay (Diane Keaton) that the Corleones will go legit, ultimately becoming part of the same old guard. No matter how many times we’re told that times are changing (this during 1945-55), The Godfather is about the power that tradition has over the feeble present. It begins and ends in an office, where crime is run as a business (like any other part of the establishment, Michael tells Kay). And when the office door swings shut at the end, the new boss is trapped there forever. The Godfather II (1974) loops back in time to relate the Corleones' tragic family history, with Robert De Niro as the young patriarch. See the SIFF Web site for exact showtimes. (R) BRIAN MILLER

Dec. 19-Jan. 1, 8 p.m., 2008

 
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