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Media Advisory/Press Release

The First Annual Hollywood Scriptures Film Series: The Psychology of War, April 14-17, 2011 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Collaboration between the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

March 29, 2011–Boston (West Roxbury), MA–The First Annual Hollywood Scriptures Film Series proposes that the art of film is an unprecedented pathway to understanding the psychology of human nature, through the choices, efficacy, and elegance of what is accomplished by the context and the cinematic techniques of a particular work. This inaugural series will focus on portrayals of war and its effects on soldiers and civilians in four distinct and highly acclaimed contemporary feature films. Rebecca Richman Cohen will be presented with the First Annual Hugo Munsterberg Award for psychology of human nature in cinema at the screening of her film War Don Don.

Following each film, a conversation is welcome between the audience and discussants chosen for their expertise in the area.

Thursday, April 14, 7:30 pm

Waltz with Bashir by Ari Folman (Israel, 2008, 90 min, video). One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari Folman about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. The two men conclude that there’s a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early 1980s. Ari is surprised that he can’t remember anything about that period in his life. Intrigued by this riddle, and the desire to discover the truth, he interviews old friends and comrades around the world. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory is invaded by surreal images. “A memoir, a history lesson, a combat picture, a piece of investigative journalism, and an altogether amazing film” (A. O. Scott, The New York Times). In Hebrew with English subtitles.

Discussants: Steven Nisenbaum, Ph.D., J.D., MGH/Harvard Medical School, co-coordinator of film series; Rina Folman, Ph.D., Psychologist, UMass Memorial Health Alliance, private practice, Brookline

Friday, April 15, 6:00 pm

Lebanon by Samuel Maoz (Israel/Lebanon/France/Germany, 2009, 93 min, video). Set during the 1982 Lebanon war, this film takes place almost entirely inside an Israeli tank. The four members of a tank crew find themselves in a violent situation that they cannot contain. Motivated by fear and the basic instinct of survival, they desperately try not to lose themselves in the chaos of war. “Even more impressive than the screenplay is Maoz’s technique as a filmmaker…the sound design is superb, and the complicity of viewpoint through the swiveling gun is a brilliant coup de cinema” (Anthony Quinn, The Independent). In Hebrew, Arabic, French, and English with English subtitles.

Discussants: Jill Bloom, PhD, Facutly, MSPP, co-coordinator of film series; Greg Matos, Janice Furtado, Eu Choo, Trey Tippens, Student Veterans and MSPP Doctoral Students in Clinical Psychology

Saturday, April 16, 1:00 pm

Armadillo by Janus Metz Pedersen (Netherlands, 2010, 100 min, video). Mads and Daniel are on their first mission in Helmand, Afghanistan. Their platoon is stationed in Camp Armadillo, right on the Helmand frontline, fighting tough battles against the Taliban. The soldiers are there to help the Afghan people, but as fighting gets tougher and operations increasingly dangerous, Mads, Daniel, and their friends become increasingly cynical, widening the gap between themselves and the Afghan civilization. Armadillo is a journey into the soldier’s mind and a unique film on the mythological story of man and war, staged in its contemporary version in Afghanistan. A critic’s week selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. In Dutch with English subtitles.

Discussants: Coleman Nee, Director of Veterans Affairs for the Commonwealth; Sandy Dixon, Psy.D., Faculty, MSPP; Michael Dodd, Ph.D., VA Boston Health Care Systems

Sunday, April 17, 1:00 pm

War Don Don by Rebecca Richman Cohen (2010, 83 min, video). In the heart of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, United Nations soldiers guard a heavily fortified building known as the “special court.” Inside, Issa Sesay awaits his trial. Prosecutors say Sesay is a war criminal, guilty of heinous crimes against humanity. His defenders say he is a reluctant fighter who protected civilians and played a crucial role in bringing peace to Sierra Leone. With unprecedented access to prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims, and, from behind bars, Sesay himself, War Don Don puts international justice on trial for the world to see— finding that in some cases the past is not just painful, it is also opaque. “One of the most viscerally compelling documentaries of the year, it will leave you haunted” (Mary Anderson Casavant, Filmmaker Magazine).

Discussant: Rebecca Richman Cohen, J.D., Director and Producer, War Don Don; Nicholas Covino, Psy.D., President, MSPP Representatives from the Boston Society of Film Critics will also participate in the dialogue.

The Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Film Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is funded by the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation. The media sponsor is The Boston Phoenix.

About MSPP—Founded in 1974 and located in Boston, Massachusetts, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology strives to be a preeminent school of psychology that integrates rigorous academic instruction with extensive field education and close attention to professional development. We assume an ongoing social responsibility to create programs to educate specialists of many disciplines to meet the evolving mental health needs of society. MSPP is committed to bringing psychologists into nearly every facet of modern life through our graduate programs in Clinical, School, Counseling, Forensic, Organizational, Higher Education Student Development and Executive Coaching Psychology.

Updated 4/3/11

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