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BIFF presents a film for our time, ‘Scrooged,’ at the Mahaiwe, with Q&A with co-star Karen Allen

“I believe that people can change. Scrooge undergoes a profound transformation. I’ve been thinking: Who should haunt Trump?”

Great Barrington – “I wonder,” muses the actress Karen Allen, glancing about at the forested interior décor of Botanica on Railroad Street, “if the spirits of past, present and future could appear this Christmas to the current resident of the White House.”

She’s been reflecting on “Scrooged,” the 1988 dark comedy film based upon Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in which she co-stars with Bill Murray who plays a cynical, coldhearted, cutthroat television executive Frank Cross while she is his kinder-hearted girlfriend, Claire Philips. After Cross fires his loyal assistant Eliot, played by Bobcat Goldthwait, on Christmas Eve, he is visited by ghosts who confront him with what he has been and could well become — David Johansen as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present and John Forsythe as Chrismas Future.

To celebrate its 30thanniversary the Berkshire International Film Festival, of which Allen is a board member, will screen “Scrooged” on Friday, December 14, at 7 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. A question-and-answer session with Allen and BIFF board member Mary Mott will follow.

“The crux of the story is Dickens,” she explains. “And while Frank is a TV executive, it could be someone in the White House. The basic story is about the redeeming quality of love. This is a crucial moment in Scrooge’s life – he’s facing his own mortality, and in the loving relationships he observes in the Crachit family he realizes the distance he has traveled and has to travel. Then the ghost of his former partner Marley visits him, cursed and in chains, to warn Scrooge. It’s an act of love, really.

The Ghost of Christmas Future, as it appears to Cross in ‘Scrooged.’

“I believe that people can change,” she added. “Scrooge undergoes a profound transformation. Are the visitations a dream? They bring enlightenment. I’ve been thinking: Who should haunt Trump?”

“There’s also going to be a screening in New York the next day, on Saturday at the Metrograph. Bill Murray and the screenwriter Mitch Glazer will be at that screening,” Allen explained. “Kelly [BIFF Executive Director Kelly Vickery] thought it would be fun to do it here, too. BIFF is such a great organization, with a lot of varied professional experience on the board. And we thought this would be an event to bring the community together.”

Allen had walked up the street to Botanica from her Fiber Arts shop to talk about the film. Her son, Nick Brown, is a chef at the restaurant.

She had first come to the Berkshires in 1981 to take part in the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

“I loved it right away,” she said. “It’s such an interesting, cultural environment.”

Tickets for “Scrooged”are $15. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.

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