CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY KENYON
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 9, 2002
UI professor to discuss expense, violence in war movies Sept. 14
was the last time you saw a summer blockbuster that did not include at least
one lengthy scene of mass chaos, explosions, death and destruction? These
days it seems big-budget is synonymous with violence, and filmmakers are eager
to use all the technology at their disposal to lure audiences with something
bigger, better, bolder, bloodier.
David Wittenberg, assistant professor of English and of cinema and comparative
literature, will talk about war and violence in big-budget movies in his presentation,
"The Big, the Violent, and the Expensive: How We Make Pictures of War,"
at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, in room 40 Schaeffer Hall. The discussion is
part of the Saturday Scholars series, presented by the UI College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences.
"These days you're unlikely to see a really big-budget film without
at least one scene of mass destruction," he says. "Something big
and expensive, aside from the stars, has to be constructed and then taken
apart, usually violently."
Using excerpts from the recent film "Pearl Harbor" as well as
portions of the HBO miniseries, "Band of Brothers," Wittenberg will
answer some basic questions about how violence and war actually work on screen:
How are war scenes reconstructed within big-budget films? How is violence
used within certain genres or conventions of storytelling? How do filmmakers
involve the audience in the action on screen? Why are we fascinated by images
of violence and war?
Wittenberg has taught at the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since
1998. He is the author of "Philosophy, Revision, Critique: Rereading
Practices in Heidegger, Nietzsche, and Emerson," published in 2001 by
Stanford University Press. His most recent research includes a new book project
on time-travel narratives and their links to philosophy and literary theory,
and another book on the theory of very large or expensive cultural objects.
He received his doctorate in comparative literature from Johns Hopkins University
in 1995. He also has a bachelor's degree from Yale University and master's
degrees in philosophy from Northwestern University and in architectural design
from the University of California, Berkeley.
Upcoming lectures in the Saturday Scholars series include:
Sept. 28 "The Dead Speak: Lessons from Tyrannosaur," Chris
Brochu, assistant professor of geoscience
Oct. 12 "Jewish Women in India: Rethinking the Middle East,"
Jael Silliman, associate professor of women's studies
Oct. 26 "Just Beneath My Skin: Autobiography and Self-Discovery,"
Patricia Foster, associate professor of English
Nov. 9 "The Neanderthal Mystery: Who Were They and Why Did They
Disappear?" Robert Franciscus, assistant professor of anthropology
All presentations will begin at 10 a.m. in room 40 Schaeffer Hall, the southeast
building on the UI Pentacrest. Each session will last about an hour, including
a 20-30 minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Refreshments
will be served.
Additional information is available at: http://www.clas.uiowa.edu/alumni/saturday_scholars/2002.shtml
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of
Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires
an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact College
of Liberal Arts and Sciences in advance at 335-2610.