Media, Manipulation, and the Demise of Public Discourse
Our community cinema course continues in spring 2024. Participants will watch and discuss four films that depict media, manipulation, and the demise of public discourse.
Each class session will include a pre-screening lecture followed by a showing of the film. Afterward, audience members will engage in conversation about the content events featured, the ways directors presented the subjects, and cinematic techniques used that may answer some questions while raising others.
Each class begins at 6:00 p.m. in Morgan Auditorium at Penn State Schuylkill’s Student Community Center.
Cost: $30 for community members
Free for Penn State Schuylkill students, faculty and staff members (see campus newsletter for details)
Monday, February 26, 2024
(Tate Taylor, 2011)
The Help is a drama set in 1960 Mississippi. The film introduces us to Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) a journalist documenting the experiences of African-American domestic workers and the racism encountered within the households they worked. An important film highlighting racial injustice in the south from the lens of an unbiased journalist, it also received several accolades. Octavia Spencer was honored with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 84th Academy Awards in 2012. The film also earned nominations in categories including Best Picture, Best Actress (Viola Davis), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Tate Taylor).
Monday, March 25, 2024
(Garry Marshall, 1990)
Pretty Woman, directed by Garry Marshall and starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, is a romantic comedy following the journey of Vivian Ward, a witty woman working as a sex worker, and Edward Lewis, an affluent businessman. The film leans into themes of introspection, acceptance, and love – encouraging viewers to look past the surface and reflect on the status quo. Pretty Woman grossed over $460 million at the box office and remains one of the highest-grossing romantic comedies of all time.
Monday, April 22, 2024
La grande belleza (The Great Beauty)
(Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)
La grande belleza (The Great Beauty) is an Italian film centered around Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), a frustrated journalist and socialite in Rome. As Jep reflects on his lavish lifestyle and hedonistic ways, he realizes he's been searching for meaning in life through a superficial society. Sorrentino uses the film to challenge views of beauty, art, lust and greed in his 2013 masterpiece. La Grande Belleza won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards in 2014. The film will be screened with English subtitles.
Meet the instructor
This course is taught by Dr. D.J. Higgins, assistant teaching professor of film/video and music at Penn State Schuylkill. Dr. Higgins earned the Doctor of Philosophy in Modern Languages from Middlebury College and is an active filmmaker, having directed, written, and produced several award-winning short films.