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Georgia Southern announces fall cinema arts series

Since 1983, when Professor John Humma first founded the series, the Department of Literature and Philosophy at Georgia Southern University has presented a cinema arts program. This year, in honor of Professor Humma’s retirement, the program has been officially renamed The John Humma Cinema Arts Series.

Films in the series are shown at 7:15 p.m. Monday evenings in the Russell Union auditorium on the Georgia Southern campus. Cost of admission for each is $2. The following films will be screened during the fall semester:

August 28 “Jackie Brown” (USA, 1997)
“Jackie Brown” Quentin Tarantino’s least celebrated though arguably his finest and most mature film. Brilliantly paced and developed, Jackie Brown forgoes flashy camera work and stylistic flourishes in favor of a closer focus on character, relationships, motives, and mood. Crucial to identification with the story and its people is the uniformly terrific acting by Pam Grier, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, and Michael Keaton. As it unfolds, the film turns into a subtle poignant account of middle-aged people trying to come to terms with failing abilities, fading looks, diminishing options, and a need to make their lives count somehow. 154 minutes.

September 11 “Intermission” (Ireland/UK, 2003)
In “Intermission,” a fast-paced, dexterous, and raucous comedy, celebrated theater director John Crowley serves up a hard-baked, well-salted slice of Dublin and a large, motley group of Dubliners left behind by the so-called Celtic Tiger economy. As the moral authority of the Church wavers, the lust for money, status, and sex causes many lives to intersect, often bizarrely and brutally. Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, “Intermission is a breed apart from anything coming off the Hollywood assembly line.” Setting in motion a convoluted series of events, a petty criminal Lehiff (Colin Farrell) encourages his shop-assistant mate John (Cillian Murphy) to rob a bank. A central plot strand concerns a relentless, publicity-seeking detective with a deep interest in Celtic mysticism. Played brilliantly by Colm Meaney, the detective pursues Lehiff, making sure that there’s a documentary film-maker in tow”a detail that adds a meta-cinematic dimension to this ensemble piece. With English subtitles if necessary. 105 minutes.

The Cinema Arts Series offers this Irish movie as part of the semester-long celebration of ‘Seven Nations: Celtic Identity” which includes lectures, concerts, and other performances organized by the GSU Center for Irish Studies. For more information, go to www.class.georgiasouthern.edu/irish/celtic

September 25 “I Am not Scared” (Italy, 2002)
Something sinister lurks beneath the surface of ten-year-old boy’s idyllic summer of 1978. While the days in his remote southern Italian village are filled with the familiar routines and joys of childhood, a chance discovery leads to a shocking revelation: a boy imprisoned in a mysterious hole. Desperately intrigued, the boy begins to realize his own parents may be implicated in what’s quickly becoming the country’s most nefarious kidnapping. This masterful piece of dark storytelling uniquely blends the horror and the pastoral, the perverse and the innocent. Based on actual events. Winner of multiple Italian film awards. Directed by Gabriele Salvatores. In Italian with English subtitles.
108 minutes.

October 9 “Being There” (USA, 1979)
Since its inception, the cinema arts program has screened over 500 quality films. To celebrate this continuous presence on campus, will flavor its upcoming schedules with an especially memorable film from the first decade of the series. The choice for this season is director Hal Ashby’s political satire Being There, an oddly timely adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski’s very short novel. The film is also Peter Sellers'(“The Pink Panther” series) last and best role, a perfectly nuanced performance as a simple-minded gardener who knows only what he sees on television. His hypnotized demeanor is mistaken for brilliance as he becomes a major political player in Washington. Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas lead an extraordinary cast. Stay for ‘out-takes” following the credits. 130 minutes.

October 23 “Lilya 4-Ever” (Sweden, 2002)
In his achingly bleak portrayal of post-Soviet Russia as a nihilistic wasteland, Lukas Moodysson (Together), perhaps Europe’s most gifted young director, follows the life of a 16-year-old Russian girl who, stranded in a decaying housing project after being abandoned by her mother, turns to prostitution to survive in a society crushed by poverty and despair. But the real hell awaits her in prosperous Sweden where she is lured by the promises of romance and security. Moodysson’s brilliant command of visual narrative and the piercing authenticity of Oksana Akinshina’s performance as Lilya enrich a brutal tale of lost innocence with unexpected lyricism and tenderness. Entertainment Weekly called the film ‘a haunting and incandescent work of art” and hailed the director as a modern-day Renoir, ‘infusing scenes with a compassion so fierce it seems to light his characters from within.” A staggering dramatic coup,” raved Anthony Lane of The New Yorker, while The New York Times described it as ‘live wire stripped of insulation, and the sparks engulf everything in their path.” Very tough but absolutely not to be missed. In Russian and Swedish with English subtitles. 109 minutes.

November 6 “Lemming” (France, 2005)
Screened as part Georgia Southern’s annual National French Week
After the oddball triumph of With Friends Like Harry, director Dominik Moll shifts into full-on David-Lynch mode with this terrifically absorbing, chillingly suspenseful cautionary drama about a happy, successful young Frenchman and his lovely, stay-at-home wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) whose lives are thrown off course by his boss (Andre Dussolier) and his unstable wife (the great Charlotte Rampling). Evoking Hitchcock and Bunuel, Moll’s film creates a most divertingly nightmarish experience. In French, with English subtitles. 129 minutes.

November 20 “Out of the Past” (USA, 1947)
Following a tradition established by Professor Humma, we end the semester’s program with an exquisite older classic. “Out of the Past” is the definitive flashback movie, in which our hero Robert Mitchum makes a rendevous with death and his own past in the shape of Jane Greer. Beguiling and resolutely ominous, this hallucinatory voyage is one of the most bewildering and beautiful films ever made. Superbly crafted pulp is revealed at every level: in the intricate script by Daniel Mainwaring (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), the almost abstract lighting patterns of Nick Musaraca (The Spiral Staircase), and the downbeat, tragic otherworldliness of Jacques Tourneur’s (Cat People) direction. Also starring Kirk Douglas and Rhonda Fleming. Known in Europe as Build My Gallows High. 97 minutes. In b&w.

All films are shown in 35mm large screen format unless noted otherwise. Films in the Humma Cinema Arts Series are not subsidized by student activity fees. Cinema arts is an alternative or “repertory” cinema, and the films are part of the regular academic program of Georgia Southern. Classroom decorum is required.

For questions contact program director Tomasz Warchol at tomwar@georgiasouthern.edu.

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