Grand Illusion "Casablanca" Fundraiser

The Nazis are winning. Europe is in disarray. Freedom is in retreat. Exiles and refugees are streaming into any (semi) safe haven, Casablanca included. There, inside Rick’s bar, money and information change hands among a few brave partisans hoping to keep the cause alive. The same could be said of the 40-year-old nonprofit Grand Illusion Cinema, which “almost went dark this summer after a severe slow period,” according to manager Brian Alter. “Things got to the edge. We were kind of worried we wouldn’t make it.” Tonight’s fundraiser is intended to help fight the financial darkness, with two drinks and appetizers included in your ticket price. As for the 1942 movie, directed by Michael Curtiz, it neatly balances themes of selfishness and sacrifice, patriotism and exile, love and duty. Humphrey Bogart gained iconic status as Rick, who weighs his lingering attachment to Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa against his long-suppressed idealism. Casablanca is about a lot of things, but one strong theme is forgiveness: Two former lovers must somehow reconcile themselves with the past, mutually absolving each other for the future’s sake. Their relationship has its parallel as Bogie and Claude Rains also forgive and forget, then famously stride forward together to battle. Screenings commence an hour after cocktails. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Sat., Sept. 25, 5:30 & 8:30 p.m., 2010

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