The 1985 cult film The Legend of Billie Jean
is the story of a small-town girl (Helen Slater) who runs into a world of trouble when her unwavering belief that what's "fair is fair" puts her in conflict with a variety of powerful men. One the surface, it's a simple 80s period-piece tale of teenage rebellion, complete with an anthemic Pat Benatar theme song. Dig deeper, and it reveals itself to be a feminist retelling of the 1811 novella Michael Kohlhaas
, a tale of seeking justice despite tremendous personal cost that was a favorite of Franz Kafkas. Either way, it's a criminally underexposed movie that has yet to be released on DVD despite a strong following.
One of the things I like doing for the Watching Hour [series] is bringing back films you can't easily find on DVD," says Keith Garcia, programming manager for Starz FilmCenter. "I always remember this feeling dangerous to me as a kid. It just seemed rebellious, like everyone in it was going to end up in trouble or dead."
See Billie Jean at 10 p.m. tonight or tomorrow night at Starz, in the Tivoli building on the Auraria campus. Tickets are $9.75, with discounts available for students, seniors and Denver Film Society members. For info, visit www.denverfilm.org or call 303-595-3456.
Fri., March 12, 10 p.m.; Sat., March 13, 10 p.m., 2010