The Search for Meaning and Value | 34th Annual Film Series

34th Annual Film Series

The Search for Meaning and Value

Sundays, 2 PM, Kerr McGee Auditorium in the Meinders School of Business
NW 27th Street and McKinley Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73106
A discussion session follows each film for those who wish to stay
Free Admission, Donations Appreciated
Director: Dr. Harbour Winn, hwinn@okcu.edu | Coordinator: Bryan Kimmey
For More Information, Call (405) 208-5472

 

September 20, 2015, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida, Poland (2013), 80 Min.

Powerfully written and eloquently shot, Ida is a masterly evocation of a time, a dilemma, and a defining historical moment; Ida is also personal, intimate, and human. The weight of history is everywhere, but the scale falls within the scope of a young woman learning about the secrets of her own past. This intersection of the personal with momentous historic events makes for what is surely one of the most powerful and affecting films of recent years. This compact masterpiece has the curt definition and the finality of a reckoning in which anger and mourning blend together. Seeing the Oscar foreign language film winner of last year, you will realize that the Academy of Arts and Sciences did not make a mistake with this Polish film for the ages. The perfect film to launch the Institute’s theme. One of the two most requested films on last year’s evaluation forms.

October 4, 2015, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu, Mauritania (2014), 97 min.

Africa’s most illustrious living filmmaker, Sissako directs this Oscar nominee for best foreign film. He blends politics and poetry in a lyrical examination of the repercussions of the jihadists in northern Mali. Not far from the fundamentalist leaders, Kidane lives peacefully with his family. Sissako uses meticulously composed imagery, imaginative metaphor and a measured, impressionistic narrative to render this family’s life. Crucially, he never demonizes the zealots as monsters; they remain recognizably human, albeit profoundly and cruelly misguided. A film of great relevance, intelligence and compassion—and very great artistry. First film from Mauritania shown in the Film Institute’s history.

October 18, 2015, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu, Japan (1953), 96 min.

“Quite simply one of the greatest of filmmakers,” says French master Jean Luc Godard of Mizoguchi. Based on two ghost stories set in the Samurai period of the Japanese Civil Wars of the 16th century, Ugetsu, a ghost story like no other, is the quintessential Mizoguchi film. His fame in rendering memorable female characters stands out in this story of two couples searching for meaning, illusory and real. His women, powerless to change the way of the world, acquiesce to its inequity, displaying grace as well as strength under pressure. The great film for Halloween; the closing shot may well be the most mysterious and haunting in all of cinema.

November 1, 2015, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s Two Days, One Night, Belgium (2014), 95 min.

In her Oscar-nominated performance as best actress, Marion Cotillard as Sandra has just been released from the hospital to find that she no longer has a job. According to management, the only way Sandra can hope to regain her position at the factory is to convince her co-workers to sacrifice their much-needed yearly bonuses. Now, over the course of one weekend, Sandra must confront each co-worker individually in order to win a majority of their votes before time runs out. With Two Days, One Night, the Dardennes have turned a relevant social inquiry into a powerful statement on community solidarity; once again the great brother-directors deliver a film simple on the surface but alive with both compassion and wisdom.

January 24, 2016, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up, United Kingdom (1966), 110 min.

Italian director Antonioni’s first English-language production was also his only box office hit; widely considered one of the seminal films of the 1960s. Thomas (David Hemmings) is a nihilistic, wealthy fashion photographer in mod “Swinging London.” Filled with ennui, bored with his “fab” but oddly-lifeless existence of casual sex and drug use, Thomas comes alive when he wanders through a park, stops to take pictures of a couple embracing, and upon developing the images, believes that he has photographed a murder. He is then pursued by Jane (Vanessa Redgrave), the woman in the photos. Antonioni’s thriller is a puzzling, existential, adroitly-assembled masterpiece—a film that questions whether we can find meaning.

February 7, 2016, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox, India (2013), 105 min.

Middle class Mumbai housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes a new recipe will finally arouse her neglectful husband. She prepares a special lunchbox to be delivered to him at work, but, unbeknownst to her, it is mistakenly delivered to another office worker, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, she puts a little note in the following day’s lunchbox, in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the mystery. This begins a series of lunchbox notes between her and the man, and the mere comfort of communicating with a stranger anonymously soon evolves into an unexpected friendship. The two begin to discover a new sense of self even if lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities. One of the two most requested films on last year’s evaluation forms.

February 21, 2016, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly, Iran (2009), 119 min.

Farhadi, director of acclaimed Oscar winner A Separation and The Past, presents another great Iranian film, the country again most requested on evaluation forms. About Elly moves us into a gripping mystery set among a group of old friends on a holiday retreat. These former college pals reunite for a weekend outing by the Caspian Sea. But seemingly trivial lies, which start accumulating from the moment the group arrives at the seashore, suddenly swing round and come back full force when one afternoon one of them suddenly vanishes. The mysterious disappearance sets in motion a series of deceptions and revelations that threaten to shatter everything they hold dear.

March 6, 2016, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan, Russia (2014), 140 min.

The latest drama from Zvyagintsev, the acclaimed director of Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner The Return. Kolya lives in a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in northern Russia. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands next to the house where he lives with his young wife and his teenage son from a previous marriage. They are haunted by a local corrupt mayor who is trying to take away Kolya’s business, house, and land. When an old attorney friend from Moscow comes to overturn the abuses of modern law, the stakes rise for Job-like Kolya. Leviathan won Best Screenplay at Cannes, the Golden Globe Best Foreign Language film, and was nominated for the same at the Academy Awards. The Biblical echoes reverberate, providing grandeur and closure for this year’s Film Institute theme.

 

Viktor Frankl’s classic book Man’s Search for Meaning will provide direction and reflection for our cross-cultural study. The book will be available at the film showings and Full Circle Bookstore.

Admission to the film series is free, but donations help sustain the Institute’s mission. Donations can be made at each film or mailed to the OCU Film Institute Endowment at Oklahoma City University or the OCU Film Institute’s Designated Endowment in the Community Foundation of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund. Oklahoma City University and the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment Fund for the university’s Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature also support the Institute.