02/10/2012 04:01 PM
BATON ROUGE – LSU will screen a series of films based on the works of Charles Dickens
as part of the worldwide celebration of the author’s 200th birthday. The festival
began on Feb. 6 with David Lean’s classic take on “Oliver Twist” and will end on April
16 with George Cukor’s “David Copperfield,” the 1935 film that cemented Hollywood’s
fascination with Dickens adaptations.
Through the Dickens Bicentenary Film Festival, LSU is coordinating with a host of
Baton Rouge organizations celebrating the birth of Victorian England’s most famous
writer on Feb. 7, 1812. LSU’s Hill Memorial Library will showcase their collection
of rare material on Dickens throughout the spring. Earlier this month, the East Baton
Rouge Parish Public Library chose Dickens’s 1837 novel “Oliver Twist” as their One
Book, One Community selection. The festival is sponsored by LSU’s Department of English,
International Studies Program and Program in Film and Media Arts.
In addition to Lean’s “Oliver Twist” and “David Copperfield,” the festival will feature
other famous adaptations of Dickens’s work such as Lean’s “Great Expectations,” the
Oscar-nominated musical “Oliver!” and Roman Polanski’s 2005 adaptation of “Oliver
Twist” with Sir Ben Kingsley as the villainous Fagin. However, the screenings also
feature lesser-known and overlooked Dickens films, including Tim Greene’s tale of
South African AIDS orphans, “Boy Called Twist,” and the 1998 Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth
Paltrow adaptation of “Great Expectations” by “Children of Men” and “Harry Potter
and the Prisoner of Azkaban” director Alfonso Cuarón.
“We want audiences to discover or revisit the classic Dickens films on a big screen,”
said festival director Jerod Ra’Del Hollyfield. “But we also want to showcase how
international cinemas as far reaching as South Africa and Mexico adapt these same
Dickens stories to their own cultural contexts.”
The festival also hopes to show how Dickens’s world relates to the Baton Rouge community.
Advocate columnist and Clearly Delicious blogger Helana Brigman will discuss the similarities
between Gulf Coast and Victorian cuisine, while several LSU professors will talk about
facets of Victorian culture. Organizations such as the Baton Rouge AIDS Society will
also be on hand to highlight the local connection to many issues presented in the
“From AIDS in South Africa and child homelessness in Baton Rouge, to quaint customs
of Victorian courtship to the scandalous intrigue of Victorian undergarments, these
films and discussions not only show how entertaining Dickens is on screen but also
show how relevant he continues to be at 200,” said Sharon Aronofsky Weltman, professor
of 19th century British literature at LSU.
Events will begin at 6 p.m. in Coates 143 on LSU’s campus. Admission is free. The
schedule is as follows: Feb. 6 – David Lean’s “Oliver Twist”; Feb 13 – David Lean’s
“Great Expectations”; Feb. 27 – “Oliver!”; March 12 - Alfonso Cuarón’s “Great Expectations”;
March 19 – “Boy Called Twist”; April 2 – Roman Polanski’s “Oliver Twist”; and April
16 – “David Copperfield.”
For more information, contact Hollyfield at 225-767-4139, 865-567-9904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Friday, February 10, 2012