PHOENIX  2013

On Being Mortal | 35th Annual Film Series

35th Annual Film Series

On Being Mortal

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. Tracy Floreani, filmlit@okcu.edu | Coordinator: Matthew Hester
For More Information, Call (405) 208-5707

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September 18, 2016, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru, Japan (1952), 143 min.

A well-acted and deeply moving humanist tale about a man facing his own mortality, Ikiru reigns as legendary director Kurosawa’s most intimate film and his personal favorite. How can we find meaning in our own mortality “to live,” the title’s translation? Only great artists, like the Russian novelist Tolstoy, can create works of art about death with the energy, impetus, and humor that Kurosawa achieves. The 8th Kurosawa film shown in the Film Institute’s history and the perfect film to launch this year’s series theme.

October 2, 2016, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Christian Petzold’s Phoenix, Germany (2014), 98 min.

A spellbinding mystery of identity, illusion, and deception unfolds against the turmoil of post-World War II Berlin in this haunting and evocative film by Petzold, director of Barbara, shown in a recent series. Amazing actress Nina Hoss, winner of acting awards around the world, is a German-Jewish cabaret singer Nelly. Having survived Auschwitz disfigured from a wound, she returns to seek her gentile German husband. The tension mounts with the look and conventions of film noir and Hitchcockian doubles amidst reversals and the atmosphere of suspicion; Vertigo might come to mind! With a minimalist jazz score and a memorable ballad by Kurt Weill, the film moves to as powerful an ending as perhaps any film of the 21st century.

October 16, 2016, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Zhang Yimou’s Coming Home, China (2014), 109 min.

From one of the greatest living directors—three Academy Award nominations—Zhang creates a moving story set after the Cultural Revolution. Having been released from a labor camp where he was sent as a political prisoner, Lu returns home years later searching for his beloved wife, played by Zhang’s great actress and muse Gong Li. In what can be viewed as a companion piece to Phoenix, a husband and wife struggle to recognize each other after great trauma. Zhang remains one of the most popular directors in the Film Institute’s history as this is his 12th film screened.

October 30, 2016, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb, Jordan (2014), 100 min.

While war rages in the Ottoman Empire in 1916, Hussein raises his younger brother, Theeb (Wolf), in a traditional Bedouin community isolated by the vast and unforgiving desert. The boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to a secret destination in a terrain riddled with mercenaries and Arab revolutionaries. Winner of the Best Director at the 2014 Venice Film Festival and nominated for the foreign language Oscar last year. First film from Jordan shown in the Film Institute’s history. One of the two most requested films on last year’s evaluation forms.

January 22, 2017, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Francois Truffaut’s The Last Metro, France (1980), 133 min.

Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve star as members of a French theater company living under the German occupation during World War II in Truffaut’s gripping, humanist character study. Against all odds, the wife of the missing Jewish theater manager, a leading man who’s in the Resistance, and the company’s troupe believe the show must go on in spite of increasingly restrictive Nazi oversight. Equal parts romance, historical tragedy, and even comedy, The Last Metro remains Truffaut’s ultimate tribute to art overcoming adversity. Celebrates the backstage life of theatre as he had celebrated the world of filmmaking in Day for Night. The 8th Truffaut film shown in the Film Institute’s history.

February 5, 2017, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Lasse Hallstrom’s My Life as a Dog, Sweden (1985), 101 min.

A multifaceted masterpiece set in Sweden of the late 1950s, a time of Sputniks and the first Johansson-Patterson boxing match. The seriocomic story chronicles the experiences of a confused twelve-year-old boy shipped out during his mother’s terminal illness to stay with relatives in the country. The rendering of the young adolescent’s view of the world reminds one of Truffaut’s The 400 Blows or even Twain’s Huck Finn. Hallstrom’s film is most of all about perspective—the relativity of the trivial and the cosmic, the painful and the comic. A film from the1980s that has endured, this international film played for half a year in many large US cities. The rare foreign film nominated for Best Director and Screenplay Oscars. Won Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. Hallstrom’s most successful US film is What’s Eating Gilbert Grape—the memorable tale with Johnny Depp and a young Leonardo DiCaprio.

February 19, 2017, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Asghar Farhadi’s Fireworks Wednesday, Iran (2006), 102 min.

From the Academy Award winning director of A Separation as well as The Past and About Elly, Farhadi’s Fireworks Wednesday is a gripping, suspenseful drama—a story of marital intrigue and betrayal set against the backdrop of the Persian New Year. Rouhi, a young bride-to-be, is hired as a maid for an affluent family in Tehran. Upon arriving she is suddenly thrust into an explosive domestic conflict. What Rouhi discovers, however, threatens not only the family’s marriage but her own future. Another great Iranian film, the country again most requested on evaluation forms.

March 5, 2017, Kerr McGee Auditorium, 2 PM

Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent, Colombia (2015), 125 min.

As rich visually as it is thematically, Embrace of the Serpent offers a feast of the senses for film fans seeking a dose of bracing originality. The story of the relationship of an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon region of Colombia for a sacred healing plant. This stunning historical drama, shot mainly in black and white, offers a visually mesmerizing exploration of man, nature and the meeting of penetrating minds with differing world views. Inspired by the real journals of two 20th century explorers. Nominated for the foreign language Oscar last year and one of the two most requested films on last year’s evaluation forms.

 

Atul Gawande’s recent book Being Mortal 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 eight-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.