Showroom Cinema: April, mini-season of films
This April, the Showroom Cinema, in partnership with Amnesty International and the School of English at the University of Sheffield, are presenting a thought provoking new season of films exploring one of the most troubling human rights issues facing the world today.
Taking Lives: Art, Activism & the Death Penalty on Screen is a mini-season of films exploring representations of capital punishment on screen.
Every day, people are executed by the state as punishment for a variety of crimes. Some countries execute people for committing acts that should not be criminalised. In others, the punishment is reserved for terrorism-related acts and murder.
Building on research undertaken by Dr Katherine Ebury from the University of Sheffield’s School of English, the season examines how the death penalty affects us as individuals, activists and cinema audiences around the world.
The four films in the season are thought provoking, unsettling and profoundly moving stories which prompt us to question the psychology of killing, whether that be murder by individuals or state sanctioned executions.
The 1967 adaptation of Truman Capote’s famous non-fiction novel In Cold Blood (11th April) traces the crime committed by two men in rural Kansas, and their eventual punishment. Lars Von Trier’s heartrending Dancer in the Dark (16th April) stars Bjork as a daydreaming factory worker who commits a violent crime. While The Widow of Saint-Pierre (23rd April) is a striking period drama starring Juliette Binoche in which a murderer awaits the guillotine on a remote island. And finally Krzysztof Kie?lowski critically acclaimed A Short Film About Killing (30th April) deals with a cold-blooded murder, followed by a calculated state execution.
Dr Katherine Ebury said: “Films can provide us with powerful stories but they can also help us to examine complex political and social issues from a range of viewpoints.”
“The films featured in this new series are designed to cover a wide time period and an international geography, offering access to different cultural conventions around the death penalty, while their narratives still offer intense emotional and intellectual dilemmas for contemporary audiences.”
Following a similar model to the popular ‘Philosophy at the Showroom’ series, each film in the season will be introduced by a researcher who is studying the death penalty, and followed by a post-screening discussion exploring the issues around human rights and the death penalty raised by the film. Taking Lives is at the Showroom Cinema, from Thursday 11th April to Tuesday 30th April. For more details, and to book tickets, please visit: https://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/taking-lives-film-season