Veterans, the Middle East, and Reflections on Lawrence of Arabia
Thursday Nov 8th, 2012 - Thursday Nov 8th, 2012
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Veterans, the Middle East, and Reflections on 'Lawrence of Arabia'
A gallery exhibition of student research and panel of War on Terror veterans
Jerome Richfield 319
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Thursday, November 8
At 7:00 PM, doors will open for the research exhibits
At 7:30 PM, attendees will be seated for the panel of speakers and subsequent discussion
This event is free and open to the public.
Refreshments and food will be provided.
(People whose schedules necessitate that they arrive late or leave early are welcome! We hope you can experience this event.)
The significance of this film:
This year is the 50th anniversary of Lawrence of Arabia, an epic film that has been considered by many critics one of the greatest ever made. It was the highest grossing motion picture of 1962 and received seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture (Sam Spiegel), Best Director (David Lean), and Best Cinematography (Frederick Young). Earning over $37 million, it grossed twice as much as the next top film.
Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif became cinematic superstars after the release of the film, both earning nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively.
More importantly, however, Lawrence of Arabia, based on the life of British officer T.E. Lawrence, forged some of the most powerful mid-century myths of the Middle East. Set during and after World War I, it depicts in sweeping vistas the wartime trauma and identity crisis of not only whites sent to fight in the Middle East, but also Arabs and Muslims forced into European geopolitics removed from their own history.
The homoerotic relationship between Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif's characters marked a milestone for queer representations in cinema as well as a harbinger for postcolonial criticism in the decade following.
As we near the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and the eleventh anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by US and allied forces, the film offers us an opportunity to reflect on the evolving relationship of US viewers to the "theater" of war in the Middle East. We will have the opportunity to rekindle our understanding of World War I's role in today's War on Terror.
The commemoration of this film:
Most importantly, for the 50th anniversary of this film, four veterans of the War on Terror will share their reactions to viewing the film in 2012. They will talk about the ways in which Lawrence of Arabia might be relevant or outdated--and generally, what it feels like to watch it, having served in wars tied to the same region.
Below are our panelists:
VAL REYES is a retired colonel of the US Army, who served in Afghanistan as part of Operation of Enduring Freedom. He was formerly in the social work department at the University of Southern California and now operates a combat trauma center. He has published research on war trauma and remains interested in studying the reintegration process of veterans as they return from war overseas.
JOSEPH LONERGAN is a military police officer of the US Army, who served a tour of active duty at GuantÃ¡namo prison, where he had to respond to conflicts surrounding detainees. Now he is stationed at Fort Leavenworth. A graduate of California Lutheran University with a BS in criminal justice, he is currently pursuing an MA in English and planning a career in academia.
JASON FREUDENRICH holds an MA in Rhetoric and Composition from California State Northridge. He is a retired corporal from the US Marine Corps, who served a tour of active duty in Iraq as a Motor T specialist. Presently he teaches writing at Pierce College.
PIERRE MARCOS holds an MA in English from California State Northridge. He is a retired sergeant from the US Marine Corps who did multiple tours in the War on Terror (Iraq) as an infantryman. Presently he teaches English at Chaminade High School and coaches football.
Student Research Gallery:
Students in English 473 (American Literature), English 312 (Film and Literature), and Greco-Roman Mythology (Classics 315) are doing research projects that seek to draw insight from Lawrence of Arabia by relating the cinematic narrative to other war myths rooted in American literary traditions, cinema conventions, as well as ancient narratives.
The mission of this event:
This is the second of six fiftieth-anniversary celebrations as part of "Myth Goes to the Movies." The first event was "The Music Man" on September 24, which is summarized here:
The third event will be the 50th anniversary of "Dr. No" on December 4 at 4:30 PM in Sierra Hall -- details forthcoming.
Sara Dean, a graduate of CSUN's English MA program, is coordinating the film series with me. Our mission is to open new kinds of transdisciplinary and transcultural discussion by bridging film and mythology. All events involve guest speakers, student research galleries, and discussion of landmark films from 1962-1963. My hope is also to build on this work to develop a World Literature minor at CSUN, analogous to comparative literature. If you have any questions about the film series or the World Literature program, feel free to contact me at the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org or at this phone number: 818-677-3415.
"Myth Goes to the Movies" would not be possible without generous assistance from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation in Santa Barbara, California.