Dog Day Afternoon
Location: Redstone Theater
Dir. Sidney Lumet. 1975, 125 mins. 35mm. With Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Chris Sarandon. “Dog Day Afternoon comes barreling out of the gate in whiplash documentary mode, capturing the ugly beauty of the dog days of a New York summer with a rapid montage of uncollected garbage cans, stray dogs, and unrelenting construction work, with the cool breeze of the seashore always just out of reach. The rest of the film follows suit, with an ill-planned bank robbery that quickly goes south, leading to a hostage situation and an increasingly hot and bothered standoff with the police. As Sonny and Sal (played by a rarely better Al Pacino and a hauntedly perfect John Cazale) attempt to negotiate their way out, they manage to gain the sympathy of their own hostages as well as the gathering crowd of citizens surrounding the trigger happy police. Lumet carefully orchestrates this gathering support as a setup to a jaw-dropping second half, where the real queerness of the film emerges and Sonny’s reason for robbing the bank is revealed: to pay for the sex reassignment surgery of his trans female lover, Leon (Sarandon). Part anti-hero celebration, part class drama, this is a queer love story like none other.”—Michael Palmieri
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