Opera House Cinema Series To Present Special One-Night-Only Screening

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will present “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City” in a special one-night-only screening on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

FREDONIA — The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will present a new documentary in a special one-night-only screening on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City” is the story of urban planner and activist Jane Jacobs and her battle against mass urban renewal.

Arguably no one did more to shape understanding of the modern American city than Jane Jacobs, the visionary activist who fought to preserve urban communities in the face of destructive development projects. In 1960, her book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” sent shockwaves through the architecture and planning worlds, with its exploration of the consequences of modern planners’ and architects’ reconfiguration of cities. Many of the clues for formulating solutions to the dizzying array of urban issues can be found in Jacobs’s prescient text, and a close second look at her thinking and writing about cities is very much in order.

This film sets out to examine the city of today through the lens of one of its greatest champions and vividly brings to life Jacobs’ 1960s showdown with ruthless construction kingpin Robert Moses over his plan to raze lower Manhattan to make way for a highway, a dramatic struggle over the very soul of the neighborhood.

Colin Covert, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, calls the film “a straightforward and bracingly optimistic documentary (that) explains the ways that shaping politics and wielding power can ease urban decline or inflate it.” Alex Bozikovic, in the Toronto Globe and Mail, calls it a “gorgeous, tightly written and entertaining film.” Gary Thompson, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, says, “there is inspiration to be found in Jacobs’ example of local activism, original thinking, and rational argument blossoming into useful change.” J.R.. Jones, in the Chicago Reader, adds “most good documentaries are powered by conflict, and you couldn’t ask for a struggle more elemental or relevant to our time than the one chronicled in ‘Citizen Jane: Battle for the City’.” Unrated, “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City” runs one hour, 32 minutes.

The Opera House Cinema Series is sponsored by Lake Shore Savings Bank. Tickets are available at the door for $7 (adults), $6.50 (seniors & Opera House members) and $5 (students) the night of each screening. A book of 10 movie passes is available for $60 at the door or online at www.fredopera.org. For more information, call the Opera House Box Office at 679-1891.

The Opera House is equipped with individualized closed captioning headsets for the deaf as well as with assistive listening headsets for the hearing-impaired. Simply request one from any usher or Opera House staff member.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit performing arts center located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.