Deux jours, une nuit / Two Days, One Night

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Closing Reception, 6:30pm, Film 7pm

Arguably contemporary cinema’s greatest chroniclers of the workingclass, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne here join forces with one of the most talented performers working today, Marion Cotillard. The actress plays Sandra, an employee at a solar-panel factory in an industrial town in Belgium who took a leave of absence after suffering a bout of crippling depression. Although eager to return to work, the wife and mother of two young children is told that management is offering each of her colleagues a 1,000-euro bonus if they vote to make her redundant. Sandra, still emotionally frail, faces the daunting task of meeting with each of her 16 coworkers over the span of a weekend to convince them why they should forgo the cash and let her resume her position at the company. Each of these encounters reveals the Dardenne brothers’ signature compassion for characters torn asunder by the demands of late capitalism. The themes that dominate this unforgettable film—the fight for worker solidarity, the definition of sacrifice, the struggle to maintain self-respect—aren’t presented didactically but rather emerge organically as Sandra pleads, again and again, for the right not to be dismissed.

 

Campus Maps

Modern Languages and Literatures
Communities in Converstation

Bande De Filles / Girlhood

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Opening Reception, 6:30 p.m. / Film at 7 p.m.

Introduction by Prof. Evelyn Perry, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Rhodes College 

Girlhood, Céline Sciamma’s third feature, continues to probe what has been this perceptive writer-director’s abiding interest: female pubescence and adolescence, the stage when bodies and identities are still in flux. Set in the banlieues (low-income housing projects) that ring Paris and are home to many of its French-African citizens, Girlhood focuses on Marieme (Karidja Touré), a sixteen-year-old who assumes responsibility for her two younger sisters while their mother works the night shift; the teenager must also frequently absorb the wrath of her tyrannical older brother. School provides no haven from these hardships.  Having already repeated a grade twice, Marieme is told that vocational training is her only option. Rather than accept this indignity, she falls in with a triad of tough girls, abandoning her braids for straightened hair, her hoodie for a leather jacket—and learning the pleasures of raising hell at malls in Les Halles and impromptu dance-offs on the Métro. Led by the swaggering Lady (Assa Sylla), this crew—whose members are all played by charismatic first-time performers—boosts Marieme’s confidence. “You have to do what you want,” Lady exhorts her; patiently and astutely, Girlhood follows Marieme as she tries to put this mantra into practice while being repeatedly reminded of her severely limited options.

Campus Maps

Modern Languages and Literatures
Communities in Converstation

Parce que j’etais peintre / Because I Was a Painter

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Introduction by Prof. Patricia Lee Daigle,  Director of The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art, Visiting Assistant Professor in Art History, The University of Memphis

Christophe Cognet’s absorbing documentary about artworks created by those imprisoned in concentration camps during World War II explores a number of paradoxes. Can a drawing of unimaginable horrors, for instance, ever be considered “beautiful”? What, exactly, is “beauty”? The surviving artists, interviewed in in their homes in Israel, France, Poland, and other countries, express a range of opinions on these matters; one painter asserts that depicting his surroundings, no matter how gruesome, on paper was the only way to endure the torture. Others declare that sketching people, places, and events from the past was crucial to their survival. The testimony of these subjects is profoundly moving, never more so than when they offer a close critical analysis of the pieces they made during their incarceration. Cognet also meets with several museum curators and art historians who shed light on the trove of works left by those died in the camps—including the scores of portraits that Dinah Gottliebova, who was assigned to work with Josef Mengele, did of Roma detainees shortly before they were killed. Tackling two seemingly irreconcilable subjects—the atrocities of the Holocaust and the drive to create art—Because I Was a Painter provides a vital discussion of both. 

Campus Maps

Modern Languages and Literatures
Communities in Converstation

Mood Indigo

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Long thought unfilmable, Boris Vian’s 1947 cult novel—which translates literally as “The Foam of Days”—is charmingly adapted by Michel Gondry, who fills the screen with his trademark whimsical touches. The central narrative of Mood Indigo concerns the ultimately tragic love story of Colin (Romain Duris), an exceptionally wealthy man who inhabits a spectacular rooftop apartment/playhouse, and Chloé (Audrey Tautou), a physically frail woman he meets a at party. Yet theirs is no ordinary courtship: Colin and Chloé travel across Paris in a cloud-shaped vessel, sip beverages from a cocktail-mixing piano, and dine on elaborate concoctions prepared by Nicolas (Omar Sy), Colin’s in-house chef and lawyer. Although Gondry has been celebrated for his inimitable mise-en-scène ever since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind(2004), here he takes production design to a whole new level, deftly mixing stop-motion animation and digital special effects. For all its visual splendor, though, Mood Indigo never loses sight of the great romance shared by its main characters—bonds that deepen when Chloé is diagnosed with a life-threatening malady: the growth of a water lily in one of her lungs.

Campus Maps

Modern Languages and Literatures
Communities in Converstation

Hiroshima, mon amour

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One of the most influential movies ever made, Alain Resnais’s masterwork from 1959 would not only shape the Nouvelle Vague benchmarks made in its wake but also liberate filmmakers from linear storytelling. “[I]n my film time is shattered,” Resnais once said; indeed, Hiroshima, Mon Amour, which was scripted by Marguerite Duras, consists of multiple flashbacks, a device that destabilizes chronology. Spanning approximately 36 hours, the movie centers around the time-toggling conversations of two characters, identified only as She (Emmanuelle Riva) and He (Eiji Okada). She is a French actress who has gone to Hiroshima to take part in a film about peace; He is her married lover, a Japanese architect who had served during World War II—and whose family was in Hiroshima the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city. While the two reflect on the horrors of wartime—She on living in a Nazi-occupied country, He on the incineration of more than 100,000 of his compatriots—they begin to debate the very unreliability of memory. The past and the present commingle in Hiroshima, Mon Amour, a film that pointed the way to the future.

Campus Maps

Modern Languages and Literatures
Communities in Converstation

Timbuktu

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Introduction by Prof. Shadrack Nasong’o, Department of International Studies, Rhodes College

In his magnificent fourth feature film, Abderrahmane Sissako demonstrates his remarkable ability to thoroughly condemn religious fanaticism and intolerance with subtlety and restraint. Timbuktu concerns the jihadist siege of the Malian city of the title in 2012. A ragtag band of Islamic fundamentalists, hailing from France, Saudi Arabia, and Libya, among other nations, announce their increasingly absurd list of prohibitions—no music, no sports, no socializing—via megaphone to Timbuktu’s denizens, several of whom refuse to follow these strictures, no matter the consequence. In one instance of such defiance, perhaps Timbuktu’s most indelible scene, a group of boys “play” soccer with an invisible ball; in another, a woman who has been sentenced to be flogged for singing continues her song between lashes (her punishment depicted discreetly). Upbraided by a local imam for entering a mosque with guns, the jihadists reveal themselves to be men less concerned with the teachings of the Koran than with enforcing draconian, and ever arbitrary, law. As further proof of Sissako’s great compassion, even these horribly misguided dogmatists are presented as multidimensional characters, though the intolerant way of life they insist on is never less than criminal.

Campus Maps

Modern Languages and Literatures
Communities in Converstation

Communities in Conversation - Mike Davis "Planet of Slums"

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Mike Davis, Professor Emeritus at University of California, Riverside, a Macarthur Fellow and the author of more than twenty books will be speaking about his book Planet of Slums, which investigates the increasing inequality of the urban world. According the U.N., more than one billion people now live in the slums of the cities of the South. Mike Davis explores the meaning and the future of this radically unequal and unstable urban world. Free and open to the public, the lecture begins at 6 p.m. in Hardie Auditorium, second floor of Palmer Hall. It will be preceded by a reception at 6:30 p.m. and followed by a book signing. This lecture is part of the college's "Communities in Conversation" series.

 
Communities in Converstation

Preston Lauterbach's Book Launch and Keynote Lecture

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Preston Lauterbach's latest book, Beale Street Dynasty: Sex, Song, and the Struggle for the Soul of Memphis, tells the vivid history of Beale Street, a lost world of swaggering musicians, glamorous madams, and ruthless politicians. At Rhodes College on March 19, he will launch his book, which will be a defining narrative history of Memphis for years to come, as the keynote lecture for the three-day Beale Street Symposium.

Free and open to the public, the lecture begins at 6 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom of the Bryan Campus Life Center. It will be preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. and followed by a book signing. This lecture is part of the college's "Communities in Conversation" series.

Lauterbach's lecture will discuss the history of Memphis following the Civil War by zooming in on Beale Street. The infamous street thrived as a cauldron of sex and song, violence and passion. But out of this turmoil emerged a center of black progress, optimism, and cultural ferment. Lauterbach tells this vivid, fascinating story through the multigenerational saga of the Church family, whose ambition, race pride, and moral complexity indelibly shaped the city that would loom so large in American life.

Lauterbach is also author of The Chitlin' Circuit, a journey through the roots of rock and roll. It was a Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and NPR book of the year. Preston Lauterbach is currently a visiting professor at Rhodes.

For more information on the Beale Street Symposium, visit https://www.rhodes.edu/stories/rhodes-present-beale-street-symposium

Communities in Converstation

Communities in Conversation: Brian Greene "The Big Bang to the End of Time"

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Through a remarkable series of theoretical and observational breakthroughs, science has given a sharp insight into the universe's earliest moments and future. As part of Rhodes' Communities in Conversation Series, Dr. Brian Greene, physicist and mathematician, will take the audience on a cosmic journey. Free and open to the public, his lecture "The Cosmos: From the Big Bang to the End of Time" begins at 6 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom of the Bryan Campus Life Center on the Rhodes campus.

The Washington Post has called Greene "the single best explainer of abstruse scientific concepts in the world." He is the bestselling author of The Fabric of the Cosmos (2005), The Hidden Reality (2011), and his breakout work, The Elegant Universe (1999), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction and won Britain's top prize for a book on science. The Elegant Universe later was made into a PBS television special of the same name, as was The Fabric of the Cosmos, both hosted by Greene.

Greene received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar. He is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, where he is co-founder and director of Columbia's Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, a research center seeking string theory's implications for theories of cosmology. Greene also is chairman and co-founder of the World Science Festival and World Science University, which reach millions yearly.

The event will be preceded by a reception at 5:30 and a book signing will follow. This event is free and open to the public.

Mathematics and Computer Science Physics
Communities in Converstation

Communities in Conversation: Dr. Nell Irvin Painter Presents "The History of White People"

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Dr. Nell Irvin Painter's latest book, The History of White People, delves into more than 2,000 years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the "worship of whiteness." On Feb. 18th, she will deliver a lecture titled "The History of White People." Free and open to the public, the event begins at 6 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom. It will be preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. and followed by a book signing. This lecture is part of the college's "Communities in Conversation" Series.

Painter's lecture will presents the audience with a unique opportunity to have a deeper conversation about race, drawing attention to the concept of whiteness throughout history and explaining how many ethnic groups now regarded as white, including Irish, Jews, and Italians, were once excluded from mainstream American society as non-white.

Other topics of discussion will include the racialization of intelligence and of political beliefs, and the relationship between race and views of female beauty. Ultimately Painter shows that the history of whiteness is inherently linked to white supremacy. She also will discuss how race and privilege have intertwined histories and engage in a thought-provoking examination of the larger meaning of what race is and how it continues to shape people and society.

Painter is the author of countless articles relating to the history of the American South and seven books including Creating Black Americans, showing how African Americans have drawn on art and history to develop their identity in the United States, and Southern History Across the Color Line. A leading historian of the United States, Painter is the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, Princeton University. In addition to her doctorate in history from Harvard University, she has received honorary doctorates from multiple universities.

History
Communities in Converstation