36th Annual Film Series
All films screen Sundays, 2 PM, Kerr McGee Auditorium in the Meinders School of Business
NW 27th Street and McKinley Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Free Admission, Donations Appreciated
A discussion session follows each film for those who wish to stay, and a list of theme-based recommended readings and podcasts will be available at each screening.
For More Information, Call (405) 208-5707 or write firstname.lastname@example.org
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September 10 Frantz – François Ozon, Germany/France (2016), 113 min.
Filmed in richly nuanced black and white, Ozon’s reimagining of Maurice Rostand’s post-World War I script for Broken Lullaby takes viewers back 100 years while offering a story that also transcends eras and wars. Anna is a young woman mourning the loss of her fiancée Frantz, living with his kind parents, and trying to find a way to move on. When French veteran Adrien arrives in Germany to insert himself in their lives, his presence brings out postwar tensions, and Frantz’s loved ones are drawn into an emotionally complicated landscape. The story is paced beautifully, with subtle revelations that raise questions about guilt, loyalty, and the relevance of truth.
September 24 The Look of Silence – Joshua Oppenheimer, Indonesia/Denmark (2014) 103 min.
In this powerful companion piece to the Oscar-nominated documentary The Act of Killing, director Oppenheimer immerses audiences into the family of a victim of the 1965 Indonesian political genocide as their surviving son Adi Rukun seeks information about what happened to his brother Ramli all those years ago. Adi watches footage from The Act of Killing as a way to learn, then seeks out his brother’s murderers in his own version of a “truth and reconciliation” process. A working optometrist, he actually asks the perpetrators to see and to speak the truth while he examines their eyes. The film is a lush and troubling mosaic of images and silences that speak volumes.
October 8 In the Name of the Father – Jim Sheridan, Ireland/UK (1993) 133 min.
An all-star cast depicts the true story of Gerry Conlon, a young, unemployed man and sometimes petty thief from the Catholic neighborhood of 1970s Belfast. Gerry’s main interests are getting drunk and partying, much to the dismay of his quiet, frail father Giuseppe, who sends his son to England to avoid his getting on the wrong side of the IRA. In London, Gerry is arrested for involvement in an IRA bombing that occurs shortly after his arrival. Innocent but forced to confess, he is sentenced to life imprisonment as one of the “Guildford Four,” and his father also ends up imprisoned in an unlikely conspiracy case. The struggles of the father and son, individually and together, provide a moving depiction of reconciliation among the ongoing combat between religious and political factions in strife-torn Northern Ireland.
October 22 Tanna – Martin Butler And Brantley Dean, Vanuatu/Australia (2015) 104 Min.
On the Pacific island of Tanna, the Yakel tribe lives a simple life, one ruled by traditions passed down for generations. However, when two young sweethearts defy marital law, the small community is placed on a precarious perch between respect of ancestry, fear of intertribal violence, and love of family. Based on local history and performed by the Yakel people, the film transcends mere plot and transforms into an intimate cultural artifact, an uninflected portrait of a group as they see themselves. Directors Butler and Dean (First Footprints) are known for their respectful work in facilitating the stories of indigenous peoples. Endowed with a collaborative spirit uniquely its own, this Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film serves as a testament to the power of community storytelling in modern independent filmmaking, a groundbreaking tribute to tradition and modernity both. Tanna represents the first-ever Melanesian film in our series.
November 5 Ma Vie en Rose – Alain Berliner, France (1997) 88 min.
Winner of a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, this imaginative dramedy explores the world of Ludovic, a young child negotiating preadolescence and identity. Though born as a biological boy, Ludo experiments with living as a girl and gradually gains greater understanding of what that truly means. Caught between a struggling family and an increasingly hostile community, Ludo’s journey toward affirmation confronts viewers with a complex duality, a tale that revels in fairly tale whimsy while tackling the harsh realities of hatred and fear. An oft-overlooked gem, Alain Berliner’s film is an endearing, high-camp cinematic classic that finds new meaning in light of the modern transgender rights movement.
January 21 Bakashû (Early Summer) – Yasujirô Ozu, Japan (1951) 125 min.
This quieter sibling of the later films of beloved Japanese director Ozu reunites his favorite actors from Late Spring and Tokyo Story in another nuanced exploration of the dynamics within a multi-generational household. The patient pacing of the narrative lulls viewers into the daily rhythms of the Mayima family’s life, lingering on the pleasures of the quotidian in its comical episodes as well as in the moments of “distilled drama.” Following each family member in turn, the film zeroes in on daughter Noriko, who is trying to reconcile her desire to live as an unencumbered, single career woman with her family’s wish for her to marry. The decision she makes tears at both professional and familial relationships. Against the backdrop of an occupied Japan attempting to negotiate eastern and western cultural practices, Noriko and her family work to accept the realities of a family’s natural evolution.
February 4 The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson – Julien Temple, United Kingdom (2015) 92 min.
In a nod to last year’s theme “On being Mortal,” the story of British rock guitarist (of the 1970s-‘80s band Dr. Feelgood) treats one man’s strategy for coming to terms with his impending death. Rather than reacting as some might expect to a grave cancer diagnosis, Wilko Johnson is transported into a state of ecstasy that encourages him to live every moment to the fullest. Director Julien Temple cut his teeth filming rock musicians like the Sex Pistols, so he brings to this profile of Johnson not a clichéd “bucket list” approach, nor a straight biography, but an imaginative attempt to capture the dying man’s experience of ecstasy in what may amount to the ultimate music video. Peppered with homages to many classic films, lively experiments in symbolic visual collaging, and Johnson’s own raucous farewell concerts, the documentary reminds us all to wake up and seek our own life ecstasies sooner rather than later.
Feb. 18 The Salesman – Asghar Farhadi, Iran (2016) 124 min.
A heart-pounding drama from the beloved director of A Separation and Fireworks Wednesday, The Salesman introduces us to Emad and Rana, two married actors performing in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Life is looking good for the couple professionally, but their home life is disrupted, and when Rana is assaulted while alone in their new apartment, the two are forced on an emotional journey that threatens their careers, marriage, and moral center. With engaging lead performances and a sharp screenplay, the film offers a complex portrait of instability leading to one of the most suspenseful and thought-provoking climaxes in cinematic history. The most requested film on last year’s evaluation form, The Salesman won the 2017 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and marks Farhadi’s fifth picture shown by the Film Institute.
March 4 Boy – Taika Waititi, New Zealand (2010) 87 min.
Sundance Festival veteran Taika Waititi (What We Do In the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) has become known for his unconventional sense of humor and his ability to lovingly and truthfully depict the contemporary lives of indigenous Maori people. Set in a rural village in the 1980s, Boy lives with extended family since his mother’s death and has developed a heroic fantasy version of his absent father. When his grandmother leaves for a funeral, 11-year-old Boy ends up in charge of a group of younger siblings and cousins who must cope with adult responsibilities while also trying to enjoy their summer break and live out their pop-culture infused dreams. When Boy’s father arrives unannounced with a group of prison buddies, he throws off the delicate balance in the already tenuous situation. The story alternates between hilarity and heartbreak as family members come to terms within one another and with reality.
March 18 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Julian Schnabel, France/USA (2007), 112 min.
The autobiography of Jean-Dominque Bauby, Le Scaphandre et le Papillon was written through Bauby’s imagination and his ability to blink out spellings of words to an assistant who gradually recorded the manuscript beside his hospital bed. Director Schnabel (Before Night Falls, Basquiat) beautifully captures through visual symbolism, sound, and imaginative first-person camera work the experiences of Bauby’s rare medical condition, “locked-in syndrome,” which was brought on by a stroke the successful editor of a fashion magazine experienced at the age of 42. Imprisoned in a paralyzed body—but completely sound of mind—Bauby must negotiate the mind/body relationship and find some sort of hope in his unfathomable isolation. Creativity ultimately helps him to reconcile his expectations for his life with the reality forced upon him, and what starts as a bleak and disturbing filmic experience from within his point-of-view metamorphoses into a thought-provoking and life-affirming sensory experience.
And introducing “PICTURING POETRY,” a new annual offering of a film about poetry, in conjunction with the spring Thatcher Hoffman Smith Poetry Series
March 25 Paterson – Jim Jarmusch, USA (2016) 118 min.
A slice-of-life drama from Cannes Grand Prix winner Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Down By Law), Paterson is perhaps the best argument for individual creativity ever put to film. In the small city of Paterson, New Jersey, a young bus driver hides amongst the bustle and flow of daily life. Averse to all digital distractions, he spends his days aiding a zealously “do-it-yourself” girlfriend, meeting with friends at a local bar, and crafting poems in a journal kept secret from the world. An examination of the ever-changing relationship between art and life, the picture crafts an emotionally complex fable of working class versification and personal poetry. With an intimate performance from Emmy-nominated actor Adam Driver, the film is a love letter to art for art’s sake, an unassuming, unflinching, and entirely unpretentious portrait of the artist as an everyman.
Join us Wednesday, April 4, 2017 for readings by poet Chris Abani
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, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., OKC, OK 73106, 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.