DIA busts out Keaton documentary

The Great Buster title screen. Photo by Arianna Endicott
Not even snowfall and freezing temperatures could keep Buster Keaton fans away from the Detroit Institute of Arts screening of The Great Buster: A Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 19.

The documentary film, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, won "Best Documentary on Cinema" at the 2018 Venice Film Festival. It showcased Keaton's life and works, featured clips from his films and discussed the background of some of his most famous scenes, such as a house falling on Keaton in Steamboat Bill Jr.
An estimated 130 people attended Jan. 19's 7 p.m. film screening, said Margaret Thomas, House Manager at the Detroit Film Theatre. Thomas said an average night draws 300-400 attendees per film.
One of the attendees was 10-year-old Tommy Drumwald, who dressed as Keaton for the event.

In the documentary, Keaton’s impact on modern comedy and cinema was explored. Quentin Tarantino, Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Bill Hader and Nick Kroll gave interviews on how Keaton affected them.
Keaton was one of the most well-known silent film stars in the 1900s, and began acting as a child with his parents, Joe and Myra. The documentary explored the secret tragedies of the comedian's life, including divorces and regretted contracts.
The documentary screening was part of the Detroit Film Theatre series at the DIA. The Great Buster had screenings on Jan. 18, 19, 20 and 27.

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