Film Review: Red

Three Colours Red Films MoviesIn 1994, auteur director Krzyszstof Kieslowski completed his final film Red, the last entry in a trilogy of films based on the colors and values of the French flag: Blue for liberty, White for equality, and Red for fraternity. In Red, Kieslowski attempts to show us fraternity in all its variations: the relationships we share with friends and family members, the undiscovered bonds between ourselves and others, and even connections that don’t yet exist, but might be fated to occur.

Red is set in the city of Geneva, in Switzerland: cosmopolitan, charming, old-world, eerily austere.  On a drizzly night, a fashion model, Valentine Dusseau, is commuting home from a runway show. Tired and lonely, her boyfriend off somewhere in Poland for unknown reasons, her eyes not on the road, she hits a dog. This unfortunate run-in leads to the central fraternal pairing in the film: when Valentine returns the dog to her owner, she meets her foil, a bitter old Prospero, the retired judge Joseph Kern, who spies on his neighbors with high-tech radio equipment.

As Valentine and the judge are drawn together, we meet some of the people he spies on. One of them, a young man named Auguste Bruner, appears as a metaphysical shadow of the aged judge. Auguste too is studying to become a judge, and bears more than a passing resemblance to Joseph. In another parallel, Auguste is also betrayed by his girlfriend, just as Joseph had been forty years prior. Most importantly, Auguste is Valentine’s neighbor.  Somehow, strangely, they’ve never met, but we sense it is only a matter of time before they do. Like so many other things in Red, their meeting is left to fate. There is something portentous in the air–the characters sense it, catch a whiff, and aren’t quite able to describe what is going on, or what is drawing them together.

After completing Red, and vowing that it would be his last film, fate stepped in and disallowed Kiewslowski from changing his mind. He passed away in 1996 from complications following a sudden heart attack. It was a swift and cutting blow for all who had seen his films. Kieslowski’s death deprived the film world of one of its most insightful observers of the complexity of persons, and the bonds between them.

Kieslowski’s Red, White and Blue,  live on the main floor of the library, address PN1997 .T669 2001 DVD.

Books and Crannies: The Media Room

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One of my favorite spaces in the library is the media room, nestled in the southwestern corner of the lower level. The room is dominated by a 46” flat-screen monitor, a DVD/VHS combo-player, and hookups and cables allowing you to connect most any computer or audiovisual device to the screen. Four comfy chairs surround a rolling table, whose surface is just the right height to take notes or rest mugs of tea. Reserve this room online and have your own private screening room for anywhere from half an hour to three hours. Contact the Tech Desk if you need help setting anything up. Fully equipped and private, it’s a perfect spot for you and some friends to screen class projects, view assigned media, or watch that Polish art-film loaned from Summit you’ve been dying to see. Happy viewing!

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Lent in The Library

babette's feastAre you observing Lent this year? Lent is a forty-day period of reflection and preparation for Christians, as they wait for the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection on Good Friday and Easter. Many traditions are observed during Lent; in the next few weeks, you can learn about and participate in some of these traditions at the library.

On our monthly book display table, you will find items that can “cast a mood” for contemplation. Consider watching a film that has such a Lenten cast, such as Babette’s Feast, or Chocolat.  Or immerse yourself in our collection of sacred music. We’ve even dug selected vinyl LP’s out of our closed stacks, so take this opportunity to hear works of Tallis, Vivaldi, Pärt, Vaughan Williams and others.

The avenues of individual meditation during Lent are diverse, as some of the books on the table reveal. Jane Mossendew devotes each day in Lent to describing various garden plants and methods for cultivating them, in her “Thorn, Fire and Lily”. Paul Wesley Chilcote pays close attention to the songs of the church in his “The Song Forever New: Lent and Easter Meditations on Charles Wesley’s Hymns.” And Evelyn Underhill plumbs the depths of the heart, as always, in her meditations for Lent, edited by G.P. Bellshaw.

Finally, in our reading room, we have constructed a “prayer labyrinth” to allow you a few moments to center down, and reflect on the approach of Easter. Used by people of many faiths since ancient days, a labyrinth is a maze-like walking path used to aid one in contemplation and quiescence. Ours is constructed from green and white books laid out like dominoes, spiraling around in a looping switchback pattern. As you rush around squaring things at the beginning of term, take a turn in the labyrinth and recollect yourself.

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Spring Break is Upon Us

4210_75837667799_5477350_nThis is it! Today marks the end of finals and the beginning of glorious Spring Break. Congratulations on being done with another quarter.

Let it be known that the Library will be open during the break. Our Spring Break hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you need a little light reading, check out our popular fiction collection or the Library of Congress classifications of PR (English Literature) or PS (American Literature) on the third floor for novels or poetry, as well as criticism of specific works and biographies of authors. The tech desk will also be open should you need anything from laptops to headphones.

Have a wonderful break, come back fresh, and we’ll be ready to help you with your research next quarter!

Creative Conversations: Winter Quarter Recap

Creative Conversations is the library’s new speaker series that highlights scholarly and creative work begin done by members of the SPU community. We continue to focus the program on the creative processes that go into their work with the aim of stimulating conversations about these processes among students, scholars, and others at SPU.

This quarter Rob Wall and David Nienhuis started us off by presenting their work on their new book A Bite-Sized Introduction to the Whole Bible, a collaborative work that will ultimately include most of the Theology faculty. Each chapter in the book will focus on a different book or collection of books of the bible and will be written by a different faculty member. Slated for becoming a new textbook in the core curriculum, the aim is to provide a book for students (and edited by students) that provides a foundational big picture look at the whole biblical story.

Executive editor of Image Journal, teacher, and author Suzanne Wolfe presented the following week, sharing from her latest novel in progress, The Iron Ring: The Confessions of St. Augustine’s Concubine. She talked about her research process – including her adventures abroad, the process of seeing characters come to life, and the ups and downs of being a writer. Suzanne read the finished epilogue which was rich and beautifully written and is very promising of things to come.

We welcomed Myrna Capp as our third speaker, a gifted pianist who also teaches piano at SPU. Myrna and her husband spent a significant amount of time in Namibia, during which she conducted a great amount of research on Namibian music and musicians. Her book, Namibian Soundscapes: Music of the People and the Land, gives us a glimpse into a fascinating culture so different from our own, and an introduction to a musical people committed to keeping that culture alive.

Don Yanik rounded out this quarter’s Creative Conversations with a talk on scene design. Don has designed sets for a prolific amount of plays in his time, at SPU and outside of it. He shared a little about the process of design as a process that includes collaboration between the director, designers, and actors. It is a process that creates a world for the play to live in and not detract from it. It accomplishes a purpose. To show his work, Don brought along to-scale models of the stage at SPU.

After a successful Winter quarter, we’re excited to welcome Dr. Kimberly Segall, Dr. Jennifer Maier, Dr. Kevin Watson, and the alumni behind SHEP Films in the Spring. Times and dates to come!