Oklahoma City University
Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature
Spring 2008 Tenth Annual Documentary Film Series
Sundays, 2:00 PM, Kerr McGee Auditorium, Meinders School of Business
3/30/2008, Shakespeare Behind Bars, Hank Rogerson, USA(2005), 93
A compelling film that follows an all-male Shakespearian theatre company composed of convicted felons. For one year while incarcerated at Kentucky’s Luther Luckett prison, the cast rehearse and perform a full production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The prisoners cast themselves in roles reflecting their life experiences, including the crimes for which they were convicted. As they struggles to understand the characters, they uncover startling and moving truths about themselves. Through their creative journey, they discover kindness and faith and leave us wrestling with notions of transformation and redemption.
[Note: Poet Jimmy Santiago Baca will speak at OCU on April 2; he represents a remarkable example of how literature transformed him while he was in prison. This film will thus serve as a prelude to a remarkable poet and life story.)
-“Rogerson has crafted an emotionally satisfying exploration of the creative process through people who, before the program started, weren't comfortable with expressing themselves at all.” Film Threat
-“The main strength of "Shakespeare" is its ability to show the vulnerability of its subjects, neither judging nor smothering them with undeserved praise.” Los Angeles Times
-“The power of art to redeem the pain and cruelty of life is demonstrated to enormous effect in Shakespeare Behind Bars.” Chicago Tribune
-“The filmmakers encourage us to marvel at the transformative power of art. In Shakespeare Behind Bars, the most restricted people in society find freedom in performance and release in words.” New York Times
4/13/2008, Warrior of Light, Monika Treut, Brazil/Germany(2001), 91
A portrait of the extraordinary Yvonne de Mello, an accomplished sculptor and wealthy socialite who spends her days working with street kids in the favelas or slums of Rio de Janeiro. World renowned as a human rights advocate, she risks great danger in slums terrorized by drug lords. She builds shelters, establishes safe houses, and provides education, music and boundless affection to children who have previously known nothing but poverty, abuse and fear. Having earned a Femme Lumiere (Enlightened Women) Award from UNESCO, she is ignored by some affluent Brazilians, for many believe these children are members of a criminal class.
-“Riveting, an absorbing documentary…a fiercely individual female pioneer, a woman who is as vividly real as she is inspirational.” San Francisco Chronicle
-“Universally embraceable subject matter, coupled with a sterling rep as benevolent booster of humanistic pioneers.” Variety
-“Astutely political, intelligent, courageous and infinitely energetic, de Mello is a charismatic and inspirational subject. Treut consistently celebrates the vibrant spirits of her subjects without sentimentalizing or aggrandizing them, and thus allows the audience to share their essential humanity.” Toronto Film Festival
-“It would be foolish for a middle-class do-gooder confronting homeless children on the streets of Rio de Janeiro to expect conventional morality to have any meaning to them at all. That's one of the blunt, no-nonsense observations of Yvonne Bezarra de Mello, the Brazilian human rights activist profiled in this hard-headed documentary.” New York Times
4/20/2008, The Tibetan Book of Dead, Barrie McLean, Canada(1994), 90
Death is real. It comes without warning and it cannot be escaped. An ancient source of strength and guidance, The Tibetan Book of the Dead remains an essential teaching in the Buddhist cultures of the Himalayas. Narrated by the unflappable baritone voice of troubadour Leonard Cohen, and with interviews of the Dali Lama and Ram Das, the film explores the sacred text and boldly visualizes the afterlife according to its profound vision. Part of the film describes the rites and liturgies perfumed by Buddhist monks; part follows an elderly lama and his student as they guide the soul of a man into the afterlife.
-“An extraordinary window into traditional Buddhist Practices of Devotion and Compassion.” Parabola
-“An intelligent introduction into Tibetan Buddhism that will also serve the knowledgeable believers.” Dennis Sshwartz
-“Radiant with information about Buddhism and the path from the moment of death to freedom from consciousness and the attainment of liberation.” DVD Talk
For information, contact Dr. Harbour Winn, Director of Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature, Oklahoma City University, 2501 N Blackwelder, Oklahoma City, OK 73106-1493, 405-208-5472, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.okcu.edu/film-lit