Benito Rakower, Ed.D., was educated at Queens College and Harvard University, where he received a doctorate in English. Before getting his degree at Harvard, Dr. Rakower was trained professionally at the piano in German Baroque and French repertoire.
The American Century A Study in Three Aspects of the American character — Daring, Exuberance and Invention
These films range from the glory of Ancient Rome to the faded grandeur of the Deep South. Their unrivaled scope is an important element of America’s cultural vitality and renewal.
After each film, students are invited to join Dr. Rakower for a group discussion. These sessions are always informative, lively and provocative.
“Gaslight” (1944) — Ingrid Bergman won her first Academy Award for her performance in this riveting thriller. A penetrating depiction of the way male dominance over women operates through fear, intimidation and deception.
“Sister Carrie ” (1952) — A film derived from Theodore Dreiser’s great novel about the American Dream — from a woman’s perspective. A young woman, Jennifer Jones, arrives in Chicago penniless. Through misfortune and chance she meets a man, Laurence Olivier, who facilitates her rise to the top as he sinks to the bottom.
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ” (1958) — One of the most referred to and influential American movies. Set in the Deep South, it portrays a defeated Paul Newman struggling with his past as a vivacious Elizabeth Taylor tries to lure him back into a sensuous present.
“Gladiator ” (2000) — American financing and production made this lavish film. It recreates the stunning luxury and epic scale of ancient Rome. The emphasis is on intrigue and valor — two defining Roman traits.
“The French Connection ” (1971) — Perhaps the most energetic and complex New York City noir film, with some added French sophistication. The cynicism of the film is over-shadowed by dynamism, acting virtuosity and authentic depiction of a multifaceted NYC.
“The Sting” (1973) — Ostensibly a film about con artists wreaking revenge on a despicable gambling boss. The joyance and camaraderie that invests this film makes it both thrilling and amusing at the same time. Paul Newman and Robert Redford rivaling an earlier film triumph.
“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1952) — An adaptation of a famous Hemingway story. A writer on safari in Africa, has allowed a minor wound to go untreated. In his fever and delirium he recalls his entire life with its squandered opportunities and lost loves. A film whose beauty and fidelity to the Hemingway creed make it unique. Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward.
“The Aviator ” (2004) — A gripping, carefully-crafted film about an American who made his mark in many areas and achieved a legendary status. His pioneering instincts and wealth did not save him in the end. A revealing portrait of something hollow at the core of the American myth.
Course # W8F4 — Eight Weeks
Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
Fridays — January 16, 23, 30; February 6, 13, 20, 27; March 6