One day, my treatment for Washington City Paper’s City Lights: The Movie will earn its greenlight, but until Tinseltown producers realize there’s profit in narrative action hinging on minor punctuation tweaks, you’ll have to settle for City Lights. The 1931 Charlie Chaplin masterpiece shows as part of AFI’s August Chaplin retrospective. In City Lights, critics like to say, Chaplin employs his full range: sight gags, slapstick, social commentary. And sadsack romance, immortalized in the film’s iconic final moment, for which I’d offer a spoiler alert, but you’ve seen it at least once in an Oscar or TCM montage: Chaplin’s Tramp—a disheveled outsider—is recognized by the once-blind flower girl whose sight he helped restore, and they both release knowing smiles before the film fades to black. It’s a tearful kind of happy ending, but not in a heart-hammering way, which is just like the denouement to my own City Lights: editor and copy editor, high-fiving over free bagels.
CITY LIGHTS SCREENS AT 4:30 P.M. AT AFI SILVER THEATRE, 8633 COLESVILLE RD., SILVER SPRING. $6-$7.50. (301) 495-6700.