Cultural Film Series examines sibling relationships with “Tenenbaums”

Pete Cilento

Kicking off Villanova’s Cultural Film and Lecture Series this weekend is Wes Anderson’s “Royal Tenenbaums.” Do not think, however, that the series is solely for fun; those behind CFS have once again selected a profound and appropriate theme to link the films in a meaningful and academically relevant manner.

This year’s theme is “Siblings: Resentment and Commitment.” This means that aside from presenting some entertaining movies, the film series and accompanying lectures will also try to take a good look at sibling relationships and the way they deeply affect our lives.

“Tenenbaums” is Anderson’s third major film, and his first movie since the critically acclaimed “Rushmore.” The movie features a magnificent ensemble cast, including Gene Hackman, Angelica Huston, Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow. Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Danny Glover check in with stellar supporting performances, and Alec Baldwin narrates in this remarkable assemblage of talent. Hackman took home both the American Film Institute and Golden Globe awards for best leading actor for his effort in this film, and many critics have also singled out Paltrow’s exceptional performance as the sullen, soured-on-romance Margot.

Anderson’s film takes great pains to deeply probe the relationships formed by the siblings in the Tenenbaum family; three grown-up child prodigies compelled by circumstance move back into their childhood home. Adults Chas, Margot and Richie (played by Stiller, Paltrow and Luke Wilson, respectively) take their individual problems home to the Tenenbaum mansion after their estranged father Royal (Hackman) attempts to win back his family.

How they learn to live together and love one another is part of the fun as Anderson takes us through his cinemagraphic fairytale, composing each shot with tender care and attention to detail more common among the more static arts than in filmmaking.

The set and costumes in this quirky film also add to its unique flavor. The odd apparel donned by the Tenenbaums and Gothic mansion where they live could be straight out of the same mythical storybook from which the film’s narration derives.

The end result is a highly watchable, at-times-brilliantly funny portrayal of the ultimate dysfunctional family.

Paltrow’s performance alone is worth the price of admission, which is $3 for students and $4 for others.

“The Royal Tenenbaums” will be shown four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Sept. 7 at 7 p.m., Sept. 8 at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.

The Monday evening screening will feature a special lecture and discussion session by guest speaker Dr. Joan Lynch. Lynch, the founder of CFS and its director until this fall, will present a talk titled, “The Disruption of the Generic Paradigm.”

Those interested in obtaining further information about the Cultural Film and Lecture Series, including the complete movie lineup for the semester, can call the communication department on weekdays during regular business hours at x9-4750 or visit the Cultural Film Series website at: