‘Alfred & Jakobine’ At Columbus Theatre

(8.31) One night only, the Columbus Theatre will be screening the documentary “Alfred & Jakobine: The 48,000 km Story of a Man, a Woman & an Old London Taxi.” This is quite a story and it has a local connection.

It’s 1955 and newlyweds Alfred Hobbs and Jakobine Schou chance upon a 1934 London taxi in Casablanca. With brazen abandon they climb aboard and head straight into the open sands of the Sahara Desert. Little did they realize they were beginning a four year odyssey to the other side of the earth and back. When it is all over, they return to America, bringing the old taxi with them. But then, with little warning, Alfred leaves Jakobine. She is devastated.

Years later a chance encounter at a party forever reconnects them. They sleep together, Jakobine becomes pregnant and nine months later Niels is born.

The name Niels Hobbs should sound familiar. More on that later.

Forty years later, having lived his life alone, Alfred Hobbs looks out of the window at that decaying London taxi his oldest friend and symbol of the adventurer he once was. At 84 years old Alfred has a plan. He wants to restore the old taxi, drive it across America and surprise Jakobine by offering her one last ride, “before it’s too late”. He also hopes his grown son Niels might accompany him.

We join Alfred and Niels as they struggle to get the old taxi across America to an unsuspecting Jakobine. Their journey is woven with stories from the original adventure 50 years ago, visualized by the a wealth of archival film
footage they shot as went.

That grown son, Niels Hobbs, is known around these parts as the go-to H.P. Lovecraft authority, who, with his wife Carmen, owns the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council in the Arcade. They are also behind the successful Lovecraft conventions, NecronomiCon. Yeah, that Hobbs. Our Hobbs.

And he was just interviewed last month for a Lovecraft piece in the New York Times. And he’s a marine biologist. And apparently in a movie.

The material provided by the filmmakers explains the source of all the archival footage that makes the movie possible.

The vast wealth of archive material came from Alfred and Jakobine’s personal archives. They shot on 8 & 16mm film. They often set up shots that they could drive through or handed the cameras to strangers, the result is an amazing third person perspective on the couple in all their locations. Over the four year journey they amassed in the region of 10 hours of film footage and in excess of 3000 photographs

And for the contemporary portion of the action,

Alfred and Niels’ contemporary journey across America was shot over four weeks, starting in late September 2009. They travelled around 2400 miles / 3800 km from Taos, New Mexico to Oneida NY.

Go here to watch the trailer. Even this 2 minutes brings a lump to the throat. (Facebook event page.)

8pm, Wednesday, August 31, Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, (directions)

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