Published on July 13, 2010 by admin

Gordon Quinn & Howard at Tivoli Theater

More than 400 people poured into the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove on Monday night (July 12, 2010), to catch “Prisoner of Her Past.”

Just seeing the film’s title sprawled across this theater’s glorious, glittering marquee was a thrill. You don’t encounter movie houses like this very often anymore. The historic theater, which opened in 1928, has been sumptuously restored, complete with gold-painted lobby (real gold), glowing proscenium and 1924 Wurlitzer organ (which rose up from the orchestra pit to thunder once more).

I guess that’s what going to the movies used to be like.

The event was organized by the great After Hours Film Society. Thanks to board member Allen Carter, who has been championing our film, and executive director Debbie Venezia, who introduced it.

The audience seemed thoroughly in sync with the movie, responding robustly to its humor. The Q-and-A session ran for roughly an hour after the screening, and I was especially moved by two groups of people who talked to me later.

First was a trio of college students who said they’d never seen a film quite like this. They then went on to discuss what the movie meant to them, and how it would make them look differently at older people: seniors in their midst, whose personal tragedies often go unspoken. I exulted that young people – just barely out of their teens – now would carry the message of “Prisoner of Her Past” when they talked to their friends.

Next came a group of women who had read the book that inspired the film, “The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich,” as part of their book club. I told them that if they’d like to have another club meeting, this time with the author present, I’d be happy to oblige. I hope they take me up on it.

Anyone who goes to the trouble of placing tabs throughout the book – to highlight key passages – can call me any time.

— Howard Reich


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