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Film Series Flows With ‘The River’

The 30th annual Oklahoma City University Film Institute’s film series will continue at 2 p.m. Jan. 22 with Jean Renoir’s “The River” in the Kerr McGee Auditorium of the Meinders School of Business. The school is located at N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Avenue. The series is supported by the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment Fund, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and donations from the public.

Renoir described his film with the quote, “a film about India without elephants and tiger hunts.” Guided by Rumer Godden’s autobiographical novel, he rejected the India of exotic action and spectacle to make a meditative film set beside a tributary of the Ganges. Renoir’s entrancing color feature film contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the river, around which their daily lives unfold. A wounded American war veteran joins their community of expat schoolgirls and widows, and his presence awakens a host of desires.

The River’s” success launched a new era of portraying India on screen. Legendary film director Martin Scorsese called it one of “the two most beautiful color films ever made. I watch that film three times a year. Sometimes four.”

It was one of the two most requested films on the evaluation forms from last year’s OCU film series.

The theme of this year’s series is “Compassion: The Radical Challenge.” It is based on Karin Armstrong’s book, “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.” The book will be available at the film showings.

Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Film Institute and a coordinator of the series, said the theme is intended “to bring to our attention the most recent book of the most acclaimed scholar of comparative religion in the West. Armstrong exhorts us to understand that even though faith has been exploited to justify horrific atrocities in the world, the fundamental idea in religion challenges us to understand that compassion is inseparable from humanity.”

Admission to all films in the series is free.

For more information contact Winn at hwinn@okcu.edu or (405) 208-5472.

Other films and dates in the series include:

* Majid Majidi’s “Children of Heaven,” Feb. 5

* Claudia Llosa’s “The Milk of Sorrow,” Feb. 19

* Kenji Mizoguchi's “Sansho the Bailiff,” March 4