Reel World Cinema

Reel World Cinema

Many of us are plagued by fears: fear of the unknown, fear of new knowledge, fear of death, etc. We are especially susceptible to a kind of paranoia, a suspicion or mistrust, without reason or justification, of those different from us—a pervasive fear of “the other.” While we tend to “gate” ourselves against exposure to others, the Gospel presents a different way, a fearless love of the other that casts out fear (1 John 4:18) or “a non-possessive delight in the particularity of the other” (James Loder). This film series, Paranoia Runs Deep: Fear, Love, and the Other, will help us ask: How will we live out our own lives in relations to “the other”?


Paranoia Runs Deep: Fear, Love, and the Other

September 26th to December 5th, 2014
6 to 10 pm


September 26th
The Great Dictator  (more info)
(Charles Chaplain, 1940)

The Land of Tomania has been taken over by Adenoide Hynkel and his fascist pal Benzino Napoloni (think Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini). Together they have conspired to create a world in their own image, free from all species they consider subhuman. Charles Chaplain made this spoof of fascism in 1940, his first talking picture (though it was silenced in Europe for five long years!). This remarkable film achievement also stars Jack Okie and Paulette Goddard.

October 17
Panic in the Streets  (more info)
(Elia Kazan, 1950)

This film noir classic tells the story of a public health doctor in New Orleans, played by Richard Widmark, who seeks to find out the truth about a dead body in the morgue that may be carrying a deadly and potentially disastrous plague. We are invited to identify the fears that loom over all of us when natural catastrophes meet human fra-gility and threaten to take no prisoners. With Jack Palance, Paul Douglas, and Barbara Bel Geddes.

November 7
Fahrenheit 451  (more info)
(Francois Truffaut, 1966)

Ray Bradbury wrote this prescient and dystopian tale of firefighters burning books to help preserve a citizenry “drugged” into complacency by a constant stream of televised banality (sound familiar?). But when firefighter Guy Montag is smitten by a learned young woman named Clarisse, he must choose whether to bear the consequences of literacy or continue living in a world bent on amusing itself to death. Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, and Cyril Cusack star.

November 14
The Conversation  (more info)
(Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

Between Godfather I and II director Coppola made this searing portrait of a surveillance expert’s crisis of conscience. Harry Call (Gene Hackman), a devout Catholic and intensely private man, has been asked by “the Director” to spy on a young couple for the government. But soon he suspects they are really being targeted for murder. Featuring John Cazale, Teri Garr, Frederic Forrest, Cindy Williams, and Harrison Ford.

November 21
Land of Plenty  (more info)
(Wim Wenders, 2004)

This film is a repeat showing from our first series “Worldy Saints” (summer 2008). Land of Plenty is a parable-like portrayal of two very different versions of America that emerged after 9/11—a paranoid America fearful of others and an open-hearted America embracing the other. And it calls us to consider which version of America will history confirm wins out. Stars Michelle Williams and John Diehl.

December 5
Crash  (more info)
(Paul Haggis, 2004)

This Academy Award winning film (including Best Picture) is difficult to watch for its portrayal of the prejudices that inhabit and condition all of us. The film, inspired by a real incident in 1991, involves a complex and interwoven chain of events that link together various people alienated across racial, class, and economic lines in an unfolding tragedy that clouds the distinction between victim and offender. The amazing ensemble cast includes Sandra Bullock, Terrance Howard, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Michael Pena, Brendan Fraser, Thandy Newton, Jennifer Esposito, Ryan Phillippe, and “Ludacris” (Chris Bridges).


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