Harold and Maude
At this year’s SLIFF, Cinema St. Louis honors our longtime chair, Kim Tucci, with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his invaluable contributions both to our organization and the Missouri Film Commission. The program — see “Tribute to Kim Tucci” — will conclude with his hand-picked film selection, the 1971 black comedy “Harold and Maude.” A May-December romance at its most extreme, the film begins with its titular couple meeting cute at a funeral. Harold (Bud Cort), a rich, suicide-obsessed 20-year-old, finds a kindred spirit in Maude (Ruth Gordon), a lively 79-year-old who shares his penchant for crashing strangers’ funerals. But Maude’s optimistic, carefree approach to life contrasts sharply with Harold’s gloomily morbid outlook, and she opens up an array of new possibilities for him, including an incongruous interest in banjo-picking. Written by Colin Higgins (“Silver Streak,” “Foul Play,” “9 to 5”) and directed by the under-appreciated Hal Ashby — who helmed several of the 1970s’ most celebrated films (“The Last Detail,” “Shampoo,” “Coming Home,” “Being There”) — “Harold and Maude” helped usher in a vibrant new era in American filmmaking known as the Hollywood Renaissance. The tribute portion of the program is a fundraiser for Cinema St. Louis, but the screening of “Harold and Maude” is free and open to all (though donations are encouraged).