#Season: IFI to celebrate a Dustin Hoffman Retrospective in June
The Irish Film Institute will celebrate the re-release of Mike Nichols’s The Graduate on June 23rd by hosting a retrospective of the legendary actor’s work from June 10th to 25th. Ten film swill screen across the two weeks, including Tootsie, Lenny, Rain Man, All The Presidents’ Men, and Kramer vs. Kramer.
A native of Los Angeles, Hoffman took to acting while in college, moving to New York to pursue his career, where he formed enduring friendships with fellow aspirants Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall.
Following his film debut, a brief appearance in Arthur Hiller’s The Tiger Makes Out (1967), his next role was in The Graduate, for which he gained the first of seven Oscar nominations, and in which he redefined Hollywood’s expectations of the traditional leading man. This led to his most fertile period, the 1970s, when he appeared in a number of contemporary American classics, displaying a remarkable range and versatility as an actor.
The 1980s saw Hoffman becoming more selective in his choices, which ranged from a notorious box office flop, Elaine May’s underrated Ishtar (1987), to the Oscar-winning Rain Man (1988). His career since has been similarly unpredictable, but Dustin Hoffman remains an eminently watchable and incredibly talented artist, one of the finest American actors to have appeared on the big screen.
John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy kicks off the season on June 10th. Famously the only X-rated film to win the Oscar for Best Picture, Hoffman plays ‘Ratso’ Rizzo, a small-time New York conman who falls in with hustler Joe Buck (Jon Voight). Seven years later, Hoffman re-teamed with Schlesinger for the Marathon Man,which screens the following Saturday, June 17th.
On June 15th, Hoffman delivers an electrifying performance as comedian Lenny Bruce in Bob Fosse’s Lenny. Bruce, the stand-up comedian whose focus on social satire, was the forerunner of controversial greats such as George Carlin and Bill Hicks; Hoffman received his third Oscar nomination for his performance.
Two titles in the season will be shown on 35mm prints. Papillon, one of cinema’s great prison films, screens on Sunday, June 18th. Co-starring Steve McQueen, the film focusses on two prisoners who form an alliance of convenience before eventually becoming friends. Also showing in 35mm will be Ulu Grosbard’s 1978 film, Straight Time. Based on a novel by Edward Bunker, the film sees Hoffman play Max Dembo, an ex-con trying to make it in the outside world.
Alan J Pakula’s Oscar-winning All The President’s Menreturns on Thursday, June 22nd. Journalists Carl Bernstein (Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) of the Washington Post work together on what initially appears to be a minor story of little import, a break-in at Washington’s Watergate Hotel in 1972. Their investigation led to the eventual downfall of the Nixon administration.
InTootsie, directed by Sydney Pollack, Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey, an actor struggling more because of his difficult reputation than lack of talent. Desperate for work, he poses as ‘Dorothy Michaels’ in an audition for a daytime soap opera. Featuring a wondering comic turn from Hoffman, Jessica Lange won an Oscar for her role as actress Julie Nichols. The film screens on Saturday, June 24th.
Hoffman’s two Oscar-winning performances will also be shown during the season, both on Sunday, June 25th. Hoffman received his first golden statuette for his performance as workaholic Ted Kramer in Robert Benson’s Kramer vs. Kramer. When his wife, Joanna (Meryl Streep), walks out, Kramer is forced to take care of his young son alone. In Rain Man, Hoffman plays autistic savant Raymond Babbitt, the older brother of Charlie (Tom Cruise); Charlie searches out his long-lost sibling, when he learns that Raymond is the major beneficiary of their father’s estate. The film went on to win four Oscars, including Best Picture.