Dr. Dennis Perry sets up Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) so that viewers can watch the movie as Hitchcock intended, spoiler-free. The distribution of this film changed how people attend the cinema, as its twists and turns are best appreciated with as little prior knowledge as possible. Dr. Perry split the lecture into two parts, with the later to be watched after viewing the film.
Professor of Classics, Dr. Roger Macfarlane speaks about Michael Cacoyannis’s classic adaptation, Iphegenia (1977). While breaking down each character in the play, Dr. Macfarlane suggests keeping an eye on the visual framing devices used for certain characters and how the film uses these frames to present its own interpretation of Euripides’ tragedy. It is this interpretation that also helps make sense of why Cacoyannis would choose to shoot this play in 1977 Greece.
Dr. Rex Nielson, professor of Portuguese with an interest in Luso-Brazilian studies, elaborates on the “Upstairs-Downstairs” narrative in The Second Mother (2015) by zooming in starting with the migrations from Northeastern Brazil to the southeast, then the layout and position of the city, and finally the foundations of colonial-era homes. By drawing out what Brazilian audiences would recognize in accents, architecture, and articulation, Dr. Nielson presents a framework by which to read this film’s political critique.
Dr. Doug Weatherford, current co-director of the International Cinema and professor of Spanish language literature and film, gives a deep dive into the visual themes of The Milk of Sorrow (2009). Dr. Weatherford offers up not only a historical context for this Peruvian film but explanations for how the film’s setting and visual language build on that context to present a narrative he ultimately finds hopeful.
Dr. Daryl Lee, Chair of the Department of French and Italian and crime film connoisseur, speaks about why we love watching crime films and what they can teach us. Dr. Lee emphasizes that a crime film, while explicitly about breaking the law, is often implicitly about something very different such as artistic expression, capitalism, or voyeurism, and he encourages us to look for these underlying messages in this week’s films.
Professor of Law at J. Reuben Clark Law School, Michalyn Steele speaks about different theories driving the criminal justice system. Should we focus on punishment or rehabilitation? And how does state and federal funding fit? These are the kinds of questions that the film 16 Bars (2018) is directly interrogating by following a program where inmates participate in musical rehabilitation while serving time. Steele sees this film as extremely helpful for reorienting our view to see criminals as humans.
Dr. Scott Sanders speaks about human trafficking in the Thai fishing industry, the very setting of Buoyancy (2019). The film is based on the true story of a fourteen year old Cambodian boy who is brought to work as a slave on a Thai fishing vessel. Sanders breaks down how and why people both traffic and are trafficked as well as what we can do to help stop these practices.