Drury Humanities and Arts Film Series

Drury's Humanities and Arts Film Series is returning to The Moxie Cinema for a fifth season beginning this October. Grants from the Missouri Humanities Council, Missouri Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities have allowed Drury faculty and students to host films, short lectures, and humanities-themed discussions on several Saturdays downtown, and our eclectic series of classic, foreign, and documentary films has become a great opportunity to bring some of what we do at Drury to the broader community.  

All screenings (described below) will be on Saturdays at 1p.m. and will be followed by faculty-led discussions of humanistic values and cinema history. 


Fall 2016

The Third Man – Dr. Kevin Henderson October 15

Hailed by the British Film Institute as the greatest British film ever made, Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949) is an absorbing and genre-defying blend of noir, mystery, romance, morality tale, and cinematic tour-de-force.  Based on a novella by Graham Greene, The Third Man follows pulp novelist Holly Martins (Joseph Cottons) and Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli) as they investigate the death of their enigmatic friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in post-war Vienna. This iconic film was digitally restored and re-released in Europe in 2015 and received even more attention last summer following evidence that Carol Reed’s secretary, Joyce Hedger, played pivotal and uncredited roles during production.  We’ll discuss Joyce Hedger’s influence as well as the film’s study of moral corruption, its groundbreaking cinematography and soundtrack, and why Roger Ebert once wrote, “of all the films I’ve seen, The Third Man most closely embodies the romance of going to the movies.”        

The Passion of Joan of Arc – Dr. Shelley Wolbrink November 5

From Viktor Fleming’s Saint Joan (1948) to Luc Besson’s The Messenger (1999), many films have attempted to connect with the historical persona of Joan of Arc. In The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) Danish film director Carl-Theodor Dreyer lends his powerful style to Joan. Since its rediscovery in 1981, this film has become one of the more well-known versions of Joan of Arc’s narrative.  With close-up and low angle shots focusing on Joan’s suffering and the cruelty of her trial, Dreyer’s silent film offers an emotional entryway to its protagonist.  Dreyer’s innovative cinematic techniques and focus on the psychological (pathbreaking for the 1920s) will interest film buffs, as will the performance by Renée Falconetti. Set to music in 1978 by Richard Einhorn, this film finds a way to connect to Joan personally, yet raises questions about how we understand the nature of female heroes. 

Like Water for Chocolate – Dr. Elizabeth Nichols Nov.19 

Based on the best-selling 1989 novel of the same name, this film, with a screenplay by the novel's author, is an "adult fairy tale, hauntingly and exquisitely prepared." (Desson Howe, The Washington Post). Like Water for Chocolate (1992) follows the star-crossed love affair of Tita, forbidden to marry due to family obligation, and Pedro, who makes troubling choices in his desire to be near her.  As Tita lives with mother and sisters, watching Pedro's life unfold without her, she also cooks, adding the magic of her feelings to everything she prepares.  A romantic, magical, tragic saga of food and revolution, Director Alfonso Arau's film sumptuously portrays the Mexico of the early 20th century and the wishes, spells and fortunes of four women in one family as revolutions roll over them. A modern Cinderella tale with a dark and modern twist, the film is satisfying to the eye and stomach, though perhaps frustrating to the heart.

Spring 2017

Life is Beautiful – Dr. Rich Schur March 25

Life is Beautiful  (1997) won numerous awards, including the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Original Score and received nominations for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing. The film is a comedy and set during the Holocaust. It tells the story of a Jewish librarian who uses fantasy and humor to shield his son from the grim reality of the death camps. This excellent and funny film, however, raises significant questions about the nature of comedy. Some critics argued that the film sanitized the Holocaust, misrepresenting the horror of the events, what the Nazis’ victims endured, and the heroic actions of actual survivors. Other defended the film and believed it told a powerful story with humane values. In the post-film discussion, we will revisit this controversy and explore whether there are some limits comedy should not and cannot cross. 

Son of Man –Dr. Teresa J. Hornsby April 1

Son of Man (2006) is a powerful retelling of the story of Jesus. South African director Mark Dornford-May stays true to the Gospel stories but transposes first century Judea’s extreme poverty, perpetual cycle of violence, and its depravity of corrupt politicians to a contemporary, Soweto-esque township in South Africa.  This film is an innovative and visually stunning presentation of that well-known story. More than any other “Jesus” film, it transcends historical context by portraying the destitution of the time, while conveying the sliver of hope that began within a small circle of revolutionaries and spread to millions. The personal is political. 

The Sea Inside – Dr. Chris Panza April 22

Winner of the 2004 Academy Award (and 2004 Golden Globe Award) for Best Foreign Film, Alejandro Amenabar’s Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside) is beautifully filmed, deeply emotional, thoughtful, and provocative. It tells the (true life) story of Ramon Sampedro, a Spanish man who as a result of being paralyzed in a tragic diving accident, pursues a nearly thirty year battle to win the right to voluntarily end his life and die with dignity. A tour de force that captures us from beginning to end, the film raises powerful questions about the value of life, the morality of euthanasia, the nature and depth of our ethical obligations to others, and the role of the family. It is simply impossible to leave this film unmoved on a fundamental level.  

For more information on the series, please contact Dr. Kevin Henderson at khenders@drury.edu