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Film Series Rocks an Introspective Look

Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson film
Film still from “The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson.”

Oklahoma City University’s annual international film series will continue at 2 p.m. Feb. 4 with “The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson.” The screening is free to the public in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in Meinders School of Business at N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Avenue.

In a nod to last year’s series theme “On Being Mortal,” the story of British rock guitarist Wilko Johnson of the 1970s-’80s band Dr. Feelgood focuses on his strategy for coming to terms with his impending death. Rather than the expected reaction to a cancer diagnosis, Johnson is transported into a state of ecstasy that encourages him to live every moment to the fullest.

Director Julien Temple cut his teeth filming rock musicians like the Sex Pistols, so he brings to this profile of Johnson not a clichéd “bucket list” approach, nor a straight biography, but an imaginative attempt to capture the dying man’s experience of ecstasy in what may amount to the ultimate music video. Peppered with homages to many classic films, lively experiments in symbolic visual collaging and Johnson’s own raucous farewell concerts, the documentary reminds the audience to wake up and seek their own life ecstasies sooner rather than later.

OCU series director Tracy Floreani said she and her advisory committee wanted this year’s film series to take on a positive theme in light of the many global crises and cultural divides occurring in recent times.

“All of these films deal with the idea of reconciliation in some way, whether people from warring factions trying to understand one another, or people treading the difficult terrain of forgiveness or acceptance,” Floreani said.

Films are also selected based on feedback and requests from regular audience members at the series.

A discussion session follows each film for those who wish to stay, and a list of theme-based recommended readings and podcasts will be available at each screening.

Other upcoming films in the series include:

· Feb. 18, “The Salesman” by Asghar Farhadi (Iran, 2016)

· March 4, “Boy” by Taika Waititi (New Zealand, 2010)

For more information, visit okcufilmlit.org, call 405-208-5707 or send an email to [email protected]. The Film Institute is supported by the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment Fund for the university’s Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature.

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