A Zoom Discussion of Summertime (1955) 99 min | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

A Zoom Discussion of Summertime (1955) 99 min
June 2020 - Love and Romance in Full Color

CinemaLit Curator Matthew Kennedy

CinemaLit Popcorn Pop-Up Salon: May British New Wave

Hello Film Lovers,

Welcome back to CinemaLit! We have missed our Friday night gatherings. Laura, Pam, and I are excited to launch this new format for CinemaLit as we Shelter at Home. We will be viewing films on Kanopy and gathering online for a Popcorn Pop-Up Salon!

We start up the summer with a month of Love and Romance in Faraway Places with four films to carry us away:  Summertime (1955), Black Orpheus (1959), Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963) and the beautiful, heartbreaking The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964).

All you will need is either a Mechanic’s Institute library card, or a San Francisco Public Library card, which will give you access to Kanopy and its treasure trove of movies. Make a reservation as usual via Eventbrite and watch the film on Kanopy at your leisure. You will receive a link to the Friday night CinemaLit salon on Zoom two days in advance. On the night of the salon click the Zoom link and join us.

If you do not receive a Zoom Link by the day of the event, contact Pam Troy at [email protected]


Mechanics’ Institute members can now sign up for FREE access to Kanopy, a wonderful film streaming service. To sign up:

1. Click on  THIS LINK.

2. Click on the large orange login button that reads, “Log in to milibrary.”

3. Enter the 14-digit bar code from your MI Library card

4. Set up your account following Kanopy’s instructions, including your email and a password.

5. Kanopy will send verification to your email address.

You’ll be able to choose from a wonderful selection of films, including classics, pre-code, foreign films, and documentaries, including the films we’ve scheduled this month for CinemaLit.

If you are not a Mechanics’ Institute member, consider membership and click  HERE  to join online:

Or, you can check with your public library to see if they are Kanopy members. If so, you may use your public library card to set up a Kanopy account.


CinemaLit in June: Love and Romance in Faraway Places

Since we all might be going a bit stir crazy, for our second month of CinemaLit while sheltering, we're highlighting films shot on location far from North America. They are all classics exploring the various joys and heartaches of love and romance. Additionally, they are all brimming with color and music. Only one is in English. Two won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. All four are dedicated to matters of the heart.

Grab your popcorn and hankies and join us on Friday nights in June!

Matthew Kennedy, curator and host

CinemaLit Film Series

Summertime (1955)

In Summertime, Katharine Hepburn plays a middle-aged Midwestern spinster vacationing in Venice. In one of her most sensitive and deeply felt performances, we see her character's happiness at taking the trip of a lifetime contrasted against her quiet yearning for romance and companionship. Her emotions are further complicated with the introduction of a handsome gray-templed Venetian played by Rosanno Brazzi.  

Though British director David Lean is widely remembered for the massive epics Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965), his earlier career is filled with exquisitely intimate films, including This Happy Breed (1944), Brief Encounter (1945), and Hobson's Choice (1954). Summertime was his final small-scale effort – next up for him would be the long and ambitious Bridge on the River Kwai (1957).  In surveying his career of unparalleled success and acclaim, Lean declared Summertime his favorite film starring his favorite actress. "I've put more of myself in that film than in any other I've ever made," he said. 


Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies. 

I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."

Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”


CinemaLit Films

Members Free
Public Free
Register now ›
Pam Troy - 415-393-0116
Register now by using the form below or calling .

Future CinemaLit Films

Jan 22 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - La Roue (1923) 268 min
January 2021 CinemaLit: Golden Silents

Jan 29 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Modern Times (1936) – 88 minutes
January 2021 CinemaLit: Golden Silents

Feb 5 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Lorraine Hansberry Sighted Eyes / Feeling Heart (2017) – 117 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 12 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Anita Speaking Truth to Power (2013) – 77 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 19 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Moonlight (2016) – 111 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 26 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Miss Juneteenth (2020) – 100 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2