Todd Haynes’ ‘Mildred Pierce’ in one delicious bite

Kate Winslet as Mildred Pierce

I expressed my admiration for Todd Haynes’ HBO adaptation of James M. Cain’s novel “Mildred Pierce” when it was released in the spring. It’s stylistically beautiful, and its deep melodrama, so far from our sensibilities today, proves far juicier than Michael Curtiz’s version, which snared an Academy Award for Joan Crawford. It didn’t become a major hit, for lots of reasons, but I consider it a major accomplishment. And it nabbed 21 Emmy nominations, so I’m not the only one.

All of which is just to provide an introduction for a special screening of the mini-series at the Northwest Film Center, 7 p.m. July 23 — all four episodes (330 minutes) and one (hopefully long) intermission. And then at 7 p.m. July 24, Haynes will talk about “Mildred Pierce” and independent movie making in general with producer Christine Vachon. Make a note of those questions!

Haynes is a Portland resident (as is “Mildred Pierce” screenwriter Jon Raymond) and for the uninitiated, he’s worked period melodrama before, often with the same fine results. His films include “Safe” (1995), “Velvet Goldmine” (1998), “Far From Heaven” (2002 and closest in style to “Mildred Pierce”), and “I’m Not There” (2007).  Vachon has produced all of Haynes’ feature films, along with such diverse indie films as Kimberly Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999), Mark Romanek’s “One Hour Photo” (2002) and John Cameron Mitchell’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (2001).

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