Saturday, February 10, 2018 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
Marc Lapadula / Yale University
Great film directors all have one thing in common — lofty artistic ambitions. They choose to take on the toughest issues and most provocative themes of their day hoping to eloquently bring them to life on screen. They regard the movie screen the same way great artists gaze upon their canvases. Every inch of the frame offers a crucial opportunity to leave audiences spellbound by their handiwork. The most challenging directors disguise their bold artistic intentions behind the mask of easily accessible genre forms, oftentimes burying something quite profound beneath a story’s glossy surface. This sort of “subtext” and the prospect of unraveling a hidden, encoded message in a film is what drives some movie lovers (and Yale film professors) to attempt to decipher what is really going on beneath the scenes playing out before our eyes. There is always something much more mesmerizing to be uncovered in a great film once it’s been brought out into the light. This presentation will illustrate some remarkable examples of cinematic mastery through technical innovation and complex thematic construction. The films selected for this presentation accomplish their missions by eliciting some of the most memorable (and timeless) moments and performances ever captured on celluloid.
Film Clips Include:
CASABLANCA (Michael Curtiz), CITIZEN KANE (Orson Welles), PSYCHO (Alfred Hitchcock), THE GODFATHER & THE GODFATHER: Part II (Francis Ford Coppola)
Marc Lapadula is a Senior Lecturer in the Film Studies Program at Yale University. He is a playwright, screenwriter and an award-winning film producer. In addition to Yale, Marc has taught at Columbia University’s Graduate Film School, created the screenwriting programs at both The University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins where he won Outstanding Teaching awards and has lectured on film, playwriting and conducted highly-acclaimed screenwriting seminars all across the country at notable venues like The National Press Club, The Smithsonian Institution, The Commonwealth Club and The New York Historical Society.
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong / Duke University
Computers answer my questions and give me directions as I drive. They decide who gets organs for transplantation and bail in criminal courts. They serve as companions for elderly and disabled, and they guide autonomous cars and weapons of war. Is it dangerous or immoral to leave all of these decisions to machines? Will computers make morally better decisions than humans do? Can artificial intelligence improve on human moral judgments? Will artificial intelligence systems or robots act in destructive ways?
We need to face all of these questions in the near future. The solution is to build morality into computers, but how can we do that? We will see.
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. He is core faculty in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, the Duke Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Duke Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Sciences. Professor Sinnott-Armstrong has received fellowships from the Harvard Program in Ethics and the Professions, the Princeton Center for Human Values, and the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. He is the author of “Morality Without God?” and “Moral Skepticisms.”
Kara Cooney / UCLA
The Egyptian kings, who created long lived, god-given dynasties, never imagined ancient Egypt would ever fall. How could a civilization which built the Great Pyramids, capable of 3000 years of the same religious, political, economic, and social systems ever fall? But fall it did, losing autonomous rule around when it was taken into the Roman Empire, and losing its cultural identity in the 4th century AD when Christianity became the only accepted religion in the Roman Empire. Could they have survived? Ancient Greece was never united politically. Regions warred with each other until Alexander the Great conquered the whole Mediterranean, defeating the Persians and entering India. But just ten years later, in 323 BC, that great empire was already dead and Alexander himself was fevered and gaunt, expiring of typhoid or some other infectious disease. His chosen successor and his son were killed by rivals. The great warrior was so busy taking over the world that he never put any systems in place to keep the empire he had taken.
Of course, Rome's fall has been debated endlessly, and historians can’t even agree on the date, as numerous theories abound. In 285 AD when Diocletian divided the vast expanse into two halves? In 378 AD when Rome lost to the Goths at the disastrous Battle of Adrianople? In 380 AD when Christianity became the only accepted religion of the Roman Empire? Or as late as 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks? The question becomes: when wasn't Rome falling, and how did it even function as long as it did? What were the instigators of such constant distress? Historians are obsessed with the rise and fall of great civilizations of the past. Those same historians like to instruct us to learn from the past lest we repeat past mistakes. So…can Americans learn anything from the fall of Greece, Egypt and Rome that we can apply to our own modern world?
Kara Cooney is an Egyptologist and Professor at UCLA. In 2002, she was Kress Fellow at the National Gallery of Art and worked on the Cairo Museum exhibition “Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt.” In 2005, she acted as fellow curator for Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the LA County Museum of Art. She also worked on two Discovery Channel documentary series: “Out of Egypt” and “Egypt’s Lost Queen.”