Cultural film series shines from the start

Elana Starr

By Elana Starr

Staff Reporter

Taking a cue from The Who’s rock opera “Tommy,” Villanova’s Fall 2007 Cultural Film & Lecture Series is presenting a lineup titled “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” All 10 of the featured films deal with people who dare to challenge power structures.

Each film will be screened four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 3:30 & 7 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m. Admission to any screening is $3.50 for students with ID and $5 for all others. The Monday evening showings will feature guest speakers who will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward.

The CFS launches from Sept. 8-10 with “The Camden 28” directed by Villanova alum Anthony Giacchino. This is a talking-head style documentary about a peaceful anti-Vietnam War protest conducted in Camden in 1971, which has relevance to the world today, specifically the ongoing war in Iraq. Giacchino will be the guest speaker at the Monday evening showing. “The Camden 28” will be followed by “Murderball” from Sept. 15-17. The film documents the highly cutthroat world of quad rugby, also known as murderball, conducted by wheelchair-bound athletes. Steve McWilliams from the Office of Disabilities Services will be the speaker. Third on the roster from Sept. 22-24 is “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days,” a biopic about a German coed during the Nazis’ reign who opposed the Third Reich at great personal risk. Dr. Paul Steege from the history department will be on hand at the Monday screening. The end of September will bring “Belly of the Basin” from Sept. 29-Oct. 1. In the film, the Katrina disaster is revealed through the voices of survivors, all ordinary residents of New Orleans. The filmmakers, Roxana Walker-Canton and Tina Morton, will be the Monday speakers.

October’s offerings include “Fahrenheit 451,” the screen adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi classic, on Oct. 6-8. The only English-language film ever directed by the late, great François Truffaut, it presents a foreboding vision of the future in which books are outlawed and bibliophiles decide to strike back. John Paul Spiro, from Villanova’s Center for Liberal Education, does the Monday evening honors. After fall break, the CFS resumes with the Oscar-nominated 2006 film “Children of Men,” another thriller set in a bleak future, from Oct. 27-29. Clive Owen is a civil servant who decides to put his life on the line to protect the future of humankind. Heather Hicks, who teaches in the English department, will be the speaker.

November brings us three films, including the selection for Nov. 3-5, “Bamako,” which documents how gifted writer-director Abderrahmane Sissako decided to put the World Bank on “trial” in his childhood home of Mali. It sheds light on how forces of globalization and privatization have crippled that country’s economy. While the film admittedly delivers polemics, it’s also quite entertaining. For instance, it boasts a movie-within-a-movie, an African western spoof in which one of the cowboys is played by co-producer Danny Glover. Dr. Meghan Keita, a professor in the history department and director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, will be the Monday speaker. “Bamako” is followed by “The Tuskgegee Airmen” from Nov. 10-12. The film pays homage to members of the legendary U.S. Army Air Force Fighting 99th division, the first squadron of black pilots during World War Two. Former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Yvonne Latty will be the Monday speaker. This historical drama is followed by “Good Night, and Good Luck,” George Clooney’s classy and intelligent directorial debut. (He also co-wrote the script and stars in it.) It provides a snapshot of the moment in history when famed American TV commentator Edward R. Murrow took on muckraking Senator Joseph McCarthy and won. Running from Nov. 17-19, the Monday evening screening will feature Dr. Matt Kerbel from the political science department.

Showing Dec. 1-3, the final film in this series is “Water,” a 2006 award winner about India’s “widow houses,” places where women of all ages are taken to live in isolation after their husbands’ deaths. The film, which follows three widows who decide to rebel against this practice, manages to be illuminating and, at times, even humorous. Dr. Elizabeth Kolsky, who teaches courses in South Asian history, will be the Monday featured speaker.

For more information, contact the communication department at X9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS Web site: