Facets Teach-Ins


Facets Schedules Film-Based Teach-Ins Looks at Totalitarianism, Propaganda, Demagoguery, Health Care

Facets, Chicago's pioneering film organization now in its 42ndt year of programming, inaugurates a continuing series of teach-ins starting Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. with a screening of the film version of George Orwell's novel, 1984. The screening will be followed by discussion led by Bill Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar Retired at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle and the author of numerous books. Ayers's most recent book is Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto. The screening and Teach-In will be held at Facets, 1517 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago.

Published in 1949 as a dystopian view of a totalitarian society, George Orwell's ground-breaking book was long seen as prophetic of communist regimes behind the so-called "Iron Curtain." In 2017, the book acquired a new meaning, and is currently the #1 best-selling book on Amazon. A number of film versions of 1984 have been produced over the years. The version screened will be the most recent, directed in 1984 by Michael Radford, and starring John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton and Cyril Cusack. It was Richard Burton's last screen appearance, and follows the life of a character named Winston Smith in the mythical country of Oceania, which is run by a totalitarian, all-seeing government.

Facets Teach-Ins, which will be presented twice each month, and are offered free-of-charge, although a donation will be requested.

The second Teach-In will be held on Sunday, April 2 at 1 p.m. with a screening of Leni Riefenstahl's masterpiece of propaganda, Triumph of the Will. Made in 1935 with the enormous resources of the Nazi regime, the film celebrates the 1934 Nuremberg Party Congress which attracted 700,000 Nazi supporters and features speeches by top Nazi officials including Adolf Hitler. Riefenstahl, a controversial figure, was investigated for Nazi crimes after the war for two years, but charges were never brought against her. She concluded her life at the age of 101 as a successful photographer of the Nuba people in Africa and of life underwater.

Judy Hoffman. Professor of Practice at the University of Chicago's Department of Cinema and Media Studies will lead the discussion after the screening. Like 1984, Triumph of the Will has gained new currency when Senior Presidential Adviser Stephen Bannon was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as being an admirer of Riefenstahl, saying that he wanted to be the Riefenstahl of the GOP.

The Facets Teach-Ins were developed by Facets as a concept that uses film to create awareness of significant contemporary issues and provoke dialogue and discussion.

"The Teach-Ins continue the core principles of Facets' programming for 41 years," said Facets Executive Director Mary Visconti in announcing the Teach-In series, "Facets uses film to expand audience horizons, connect people of diverse cultures, and promote discussion and learning."

Subsequent Facets Teach-Ins scheduled are:

Face in the Crowd on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. will feature Chicago writer and activist Hugh Iglarsh. Directed in 1957 by Elia Kazan with a script by Budd Schulberg, Face in the Crowd stars Andy Griffith in an amazing debut as Lonesome Rhodes, a country-and-western singer who becomes a star and, having political aspirations, manipulates his way to the top becoming a deranged megalomaniac. The film features notable performances by Lee Remick, Patricia Neal, and Walter Matthau.

The complex issues of affordable health care in the United States will be the topic of a Facets Teach-In on Monday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m., with a screening of Michael Moore's documentary Sicko, followed by a discussion led by Dr. David Edelberg, co-founder of Whole Health Chicago. Sicko examines compares approaches to health care in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Cuba, looking at the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry and the medical establishment. Dr. Edelberg, who practices integrative medicine, is the author of several books and writes the popular WholeHealth Chicago Health Tips weekly newsletter which often looks at issues of care and the medical and insurance systems.