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Ave Maria Film Society Announces 2010-11 Film Series

The newly-formed Ave Maria Film Society at AMU will be launching its 2010-11 film series later this month with a showing of the popular 2008 Batman epic The Dark Knight, the first of nine films that will be shown during the academic year..

The film society was formed this year to build on the experience in the last academic year of screening classic movies, followed by a talk and discussion on the film led by an AMU professor or other scholar.

"We want to provide a thoughtful examination of contemporary and classic films in a manner that reflects the university's values," said film society vice-president Steffen Kellen Friday as the group gathered to continue planning for the year.

The film lineup for the coming year includes a number of modern classics in a variety of genres, including The Godfather, The Vanishing and O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

"We chose secular films," said Mr. Kellen, an AMU junior majoring in literature, "because we think it is important to engage issues in the secular world that are raised in these films."

"We want people to enjoy the film but also walk away with a deeper understanding of their faith, the culture, and politics," he added.

The group's faculty adviser, literature professor Mark McCullough, said that one of the goals of the film society is to look at how film "illustrates, examines and influences issues important to the Christian faith and modern culture."

The screenings will follow last year's pattern, established by Dr. McCullough, of a free showing of the film at 6:30 p.m. in the lecture hall of the academic building, with the talk and discussion following at The Queen Mary Pub. All are welcome to attend the screening, discussion, or both and there is no admission charge.

The Ave Herald will preview each film a few days in advance, and the film society also plans to start its own blog soon that will offer students' perspectives on the films.

"It will be like an online journal or film magazine," film society member Joseph Donovan said of the blog. There will be online discussion, but also "serious essays by students."

The schedule of films:

Oct. 28: The Dark Knight -- 2008 Batman film starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, who won best supporting actor posthumously for portraying the Joker. Presenter is Dr. Mark McCullough, AMU assistant professor of literature.

Nov. 4: Unforgiven -- 1992 non-traditional western starring Clint Eastwood. The film won two Academy Awards: Eastwood for best director and Gene Hackman for best supporting actor. Presenter is Dr. Blanford Parker, AMU professor of literature.

Nov. 11: Michael Collins -- 1996 biography of the Irish revolutionary starring Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts. Presenter is Dr. Colin Barr, AMU associate professor of history.

Dec. 9: O Brother, Where Art Thou? - Coen Brothers film released in 2000 starring George Clooney, setting the theme of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey in the U.S. deep south during the 1930s. The film has a great soundtrack that helped revive interest in American old-time country music and bluegrass. Presenter is Dr. Joseph Burke, AMU assistant professor of economics.

Jan. 27: The Vanishing - 1988 dark thriller. Presenter is Dr. Michael Pakaluk, professor of Philosophy.

Feb 10: The Elephant Man - 1980 film starring Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud. Set in Victorian England, a surgeon rescues heavily disfigured man. Presenter is Dr. Steven Long, AMU professor of Theology.

Feb. 24: Special film presentation with Dr. Morris Dickstein, Distinguished Professor of English, Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Film to be announced, but likely will have a U.S. depression-era theme, which is a special interest of Dr. Dickstein's.

March 24: The Godfather --  The first of the three films in the trilogy, released in 1972, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. It won three Academy Awards including best picture, best screenplay and best actor to Marlon Brando, and has had a pervasive and enduring influence on popular culture.  Presenter is Dr. Michael Sugrue, AMU professor of history.

April 7: Special film presentation with Dr. Thomas Hibbs, Distinguished Professor of Ethics & Culture and Dean of the Honors College at Baylor University. Film to be announced.


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