Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021


Year: 1999
Country: United States
Run Time: 104 minutes

Hollywood's attempts to score big points off the public's love affair with basketball has resulted in a pile of foul-shot movies taller than Shaq. But THE BASKET is something different altogether. It's got game as a pastoral, all-ages evocation of the early days of this century, long before Air Jordan (or Bud), Nike, and ESPN. In 1918 a new teacher, Mr. Conlon, arrives in a Washington state farm community, bearing both enlightenment ? he refuses to subscribe to a national hatred of all things German during the still-blazing First World War ? and a rough leather basketball; it turns out he actually learned the sport back East in the 1890s first-hand, under its original inventor, Dr. James Naismith. Two teenage German war orphans, siblings Helmut and Birgitta, are scorned throughout town and in school as "huns." To emphasize cooperation and tolerance, Conlon fashions a crude hoop from an orchard basket and organizes a number of farm kids into a team. But the wounds of the past are not slam-dunked away quite so easily, and even Mr. Conlon has to go toe-to-toe with his private shame and unresolved penalties. Lovingly-photographed, with vistas reminiscent of both Andrew Wyeth paintings and Malick's "Days of Heaven," THE BASKET proves that nice movies can jump.

Don Caron, Rich Cowan, Frank Swoboda, Tessa Swoboda.

Rich Cowan

Rich Cowan.

Dan Heigh.

Rich Cowan.

Principal Cast
Peter Coyote, Robert Karl Burke, Amber Willenborg, Karen Allen, Jock MacDonald, Eric Dane, Brian Skala, Casey Cowan, Ellen Travolta, Patrick Treadway, Joey Travolta.

Film Contact
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