CFS to launch coming-of-age series this spring

Elana Starr

Villanova’s Cultural Film & Lecture Series, now in its 24th year, is showcasing ten thematically linked films this semester under the rubric “Loss of Innocence/Growth of Awareness.” Films will be shown four times: Saturdays at 7 pm, Sundays at 3:30 and 7 pm, and Mondays at 7 pm. Each of the Monday screenings only will feature a guest speaker, who will both introduce the film and then lead a discussion afterward.

This roster of coming-of-age pictures debuts with Invisible Mountains (Jan. 29, 30, 31). This 2004 film, filmed in and around Philadelphia, imaginatively explores the dynamics at work in the life of a young artist, who has to come to terms with exercising his creativity and, at the same time, making a living. This is a movie that everyone who is considering a career in the arts – whether as an actor, director, writer, painter or musician – can relate to and should see. The Series is especially pleased to have the film’s screenwriter/director, Richard Power Hoffman, on hand at the Monday evening screening. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the film and meet/greet the filmmaker.

The second feature is Nói (Feb. 5, 6, 7), a recent comedy from Iceland. The title character is an intelligent but rebellious kid who yearns to leave the wintry environs of his isolated village and head for Hawaii. Gordon Coonfield will be the Monday guest speaker. Up next is Fresh (Feb. 12, 13, 14). Set in the Brooklyn ghetto, this gritty drama showcases how a clever 12-year-old boy decides to outwit local drug lords. Maghan Keita will do the Monday evening honors. It’s followed by West Beirut (Feb. 19, 20, 21), which details the surprising ways in which Lebanese teens react to the civil war that breaks out in their homeland. Nasser Chour will be the Monday speaker. The final February feature will be Maria Full of Grace (Feb. 19, 20, 21). This drama, which landed on many critics’ Ten Best lists last year, details the plight of a young Columbian teenager who becomes a drug runner in order to escape the vicissitudes of life in her native country. Visiting law professor Isabel Medina will be the Monday guest speaker.

The sole offering in March is the magical realist tale Whale Rider (Mar. 19, 20, 21). A young Maori girl, who comes from a long line of chieftains, defies the patriarchal views of her tribe as she fights to fulfill her destiny and become their leader. She’s played by newcomer Keisha Castle-Hughes, the youngest female ever nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Elana Starr (yours truly) will be on hand at the Monday screening of this heartfelt story.

April’s films include The Laramie Project (Apr. 2, 3, 4), a 2002 drama about reactions to the real-life murder of Matthew Shepard. Fr. Sean Tracy will be the Monday evening guest speaker. It’s followed by City of God (Apr. 9, 10,11). This Brazilian film details how two boys in the slums of Rio pursue very different paths. Monday’s guest lecturer will be Sattya Patnayak. Next up is Spirited Away (Apr. 16, 17, 18). This anime film, about a young girl who finds herself in an alternative universe, is the most successful movie of all time in Japan. Hollywood writer/producer Joe Ansolabehere (Rugrats) makes an eagerly awaited appearance as the Monday speaker.

The final film in the Series is Girl with a Pearl Earring (Apr. 23, 24, 25). This visually enchanting film takes a fictional approach to solving a real-life puzzle: Who is the subject of Johannes Vermeer’s most famous painting? Colin Firth stars as the renowned 17th-century artist, and Scarlett Johanssen plays the young housemaid who so beguiles her employer that he decides to paint her portrait. Arlene Sciole will be the Monday evening guest speaker.

Each of the screenings will be in the Connelly Center Cinema. Admission is $3.50 for students and $5.00 for all others. For further information about the series, call X9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m and 5 p.m, or consult the CFS web page: