FAU Lifelong Learning Society, Jupiter
Benito Rakower, Ed.D.

Film Appreciation

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.

We Know What We Are
Eight Films About Shakespeare’s Famous Maxim

The second part of Shakespeare’s maxim is “but know not what we may be.” These eight films demonstrate the limits and possibilities of selfknowledge.

Six Lectures
  1. Coco Before Chanel (2009) — An elegant, poetic film about the gradual transformation of a provincial girl into one of the world’s greatest fashion icons.
  2. The Reader (2008) — An exquisitely made film that demonstrates the almost inevitable drive to historical “revisionism.” How this is done reveals both the power and insidiousness of cinema. Much to discuss after the film showing.
  3. In the Loop (2009) — This Anglo/American film is a comic version of how government actually works in the modern world, where media shapes reality and policy. Outstanding political satire enlivened by British wit and fluency.
  4. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) — Outstanding performance by Hugh Grant as a charming cad. The film surpasses American wedding movies because the story is set against English traditions that enshrine pageantry, Gothic architecture, and scurrilous wit.
  5. Tell No One (2009) — In French. Kristin Scott Thomas, a British actress, almost steals the film with her bravura performance of a spirited woman. A thriller, so twisted, startling, droll, and intelligent, it makes one believe France remains the most cultured country in the world.
  6. The L-Shaped Room (1964) — A young woman, living in a London boarding house, finds herself pregnant. Her struggle to deal with the situation is presented with delicacy and understatement. A Brahms Piano Concerto is beyond perfect as the background music. Leslie Caron was widely commended and honored for her heart-breaking performance. Film-making at its best.
Course # S6F4 — Six Weeks
  Place:Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
  Dates:Fridays — March 14, 21, 28; April 11, 18, 25; No Class April 4
  Time:1:30– 4:00 p.m.
  Fee:$56/member; $81/non-member
From Ultra-Chic to Radical Will
Forthright and Daring Perspectives in Film

These six films are noteworthy for the zeal — pushed to extreme limits — of the directors who made them:

Six Lectures
  1. This Sporting Life (1963) — A British film starring Richard Harris and Rachel Roberts about a coal miner who aspires to wealth and happiness in the brutal reaches of professional rugby. A stunning example of the “angry young man” era in British films.
  2. Death of a Cyclist (1955) — Spanish. This film was made during the Franco period. Notwithstanding its reputation as a subtle portrayal of hypocrisy under dictatorship, the film reaches almost comic intensity as it depicts three people caught in a web of misunderstanding. Highly acclaimed.
  3. The Story of Adele H. (1975) — French. A beautiful film antidote or corrective to the notion of romantic love. Ostensibly about the daughter of the famous French novelist Victor Hugo, the movie stays with you because of its depiction of will used badly.
  4. Charade (1963) — Unquestionably one of the great romantic/comedy/thrillers. The film features stylish cynicism, deft directing, and outstanding performances from Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau.
  5. Revanche (2008) — German. Nominated for best foreign film Academy Award in 2009. A tightly plotted depiction of contemporary Austrian society at the edge where it collides with the problems of Central Europe. The intricacies of fate and desperation are best left to the film to unfold. Neo-noir.
  6. Subway (1985) — French. An ultra-chic — almost surreal — fantasy about a self-contained culture subsisting in the French subways. This underground world, complete unto itself, defies urban Paris. Subway was immensely popular in France and later became a cult film in the United Kingdom. The hero and heroine are stunning, daring, and ravishingly icy.
Course # SUR6 — Six Weeks
  Place:Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
  Dates:Thursdays — May 15, 22, 29; June 5, 12, 19
  Time:1:00– 4:00 p.m.
  Fee:$56/member; $81/non-member