Talk to tackle film and socialism

Winter has come and, dare we suggest, it’s now on its way out? With the weather finally returning to regular double-digit highs above the teens, it’s safe to once again venture out into the world without a vague fear of suffering frostbite. But, what is there to do in the Champaign-Urbana area to relieve that cabin fever, you might ask? You’ve come to the right place for the answer!

With Roger Ebert’s Film Festival and our own New Art Film Festival quickly approaching, as well as the Pens to Lens Screenwriting Competition gearing up, we have no shortage of cinema-related happenings in the C-U, but you should also consider attending the smaller, more esoteric offerings as well. For instance, the socialist film critic David Walsh is stopping at the University of Illinois to discuss The Sky Between the Leaves, published by Mehring Books in November. Sky is a collection of film reviews, essays, and interviews written by Walsh between 1992 and 2012, much of it for the World Socialist Web Site where he serves as arts editor.

One can glean Walsh’s taste in films and their messages by examining this 2013 overview co-written with Joanne Laurier for World Socialist. Number two in his personal “top ten” list is one of the Art Theater Co-op’s most successful films of last year, NEBRASKA, directed by Alexander Payne and starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte. Other choices include GREAT EXPECTATIONS directed by Mike Newell, MUSEUM HOURS directed by Jem Cohen, CAPITAL directed by Costa-Gavras, THE WE AND THE I directed by Michel Gondry, and Jia Zhangke’s A TOUCH OF SIN, which played the Art earlier this month. At first glance, they seem to align with the capitalist and working class issues central to Marxist thought.

Walsh will be speaking tonight, Monday, February 24, in Room 126 of the UIUC Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 501 E. Daniel St., Champaign, starting at 6 p.m. The event is being presented by International Youth and Students for Social Equality. To learn more about The Sky Between the Leaves and its author, you can visit his Web site or watch the video segment below.

~ Z, with Jason Pankoke

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