Movie screening to honor Mandela
Jack Rooney | Thursday, December 12, 2013
As part of the University’s remembrance of the late South African president Nelson Mandela, the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture will sponsor a screening of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, followed by a panel discussion of the film and its cultural and educational significance.
The film itself is based on Mandela’s autobiography of the same name. It stars Idris Elba as Mandela and Naomie Harris as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the South African politician and Mandela’s ex-wife.
The panel discussion will feature Fr. Emmanuel Katongole of the Notre Dame Kroc Institute, Thomas Hibbs of Baylor University and Thomas Allen of Allied Faith and Family, a division of the Allied Integrated Marketing company. Professor O. Carter Snead, the director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, will moderate the discussion.
The screening and discussion, already sold out, is the inaugural event of the Center for Ethics and Culture’s media and culture initiative.
According to a written description of the initiative put together by the Center for Ethics and Culture, “The question of how media arts (especially film and television) function and transform culture is a crucially important question that thus far has been underexplored in the social sciences. [Through the media and culture initiative] the Center for Ethics and Culture aims to engage this question in a comprehensive fashion ⎯ one that is simultaneously theoretical and practical.”
The event is a special advance screening of the film, which Snead said was made possible by the Weinstein Company, the film’s distributer.
“Notre Dame is a culturally significant institution,” Snead said. “Moreover, as a Catholic university, we stand for the values at the heart of this film ⎯ mercy, equality and reconciliation; [University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore] Hesburgh’s legacy for the American civil rights movement stands as further reaffirmation [of] Notre Dame’s commitment to these goods.”
Snead said the Center for Ethics and Culture planned the event well before Mandela’s recent death, but his passing provides an added significance to the film. He additionally said members of the Notre Dame community are now paying more attention to the event by people at the University.
“Of course the event now takes on a deeper importance,” Snead said. “This is a time when we are reflecting on Mandela’s legacy.”
Snead said Mandela’s legacy is important especially at a place like Notre Dame, which prides itself on not only being a research institution but also a promoter of values such as freedom, equality and reconciliation.
“[Mandela’s] commitment to non-violence and reconciliation is an important issue we want to explore and celebrate,” Snead said.
Snead said he is happy the event sold out, and he said the Center for Ethics and Culture is exploring adding more screenings of the film on campus.
“We’re very excited the film sold out in short order,” Snead said. “There’s a lot of interest in [another screening], and we’re certainly open to the possibility of additional screenings. We’ll just have to see what’s possible.”
Snead said the Africana Studies Department and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies have joined the Center for Ethics and Culture in sponsoring the event, and the University itself added the event as an official remembrance event following Mandela’s death.
Snead said the Center for Ethics and Culture chose this film in particular as the first event of the media and culture initiative because it is not only visually and audibly stimulating, but also intellectually and emotionally thought-provoking.
“Our feeling was that [the first film featured in the new initiative] had to be aesthetically beautiful and normatively rich,” Snead said. “We also thought [the film] would attract a large and diverse audience.”
Contact Jack Rooney at [email protected]