CSUN’s Spring Cinematheque Series Celebrates ‘Scribes on the Silver Screen’

Scribes final poster 8x11

California State University, Northridge’s Spring 2024 Cinematheque series celebrates the contributions of authors, playwrights and poets — from Shakespeare and Homer to Upton Sinclair and J. K. Rowling — to the world of cinema.

The free series, “Scribes on the Silver Screen,” takes place every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in CSUN’s Elaine and Alan Armer Screening Room, room 100, in Manzanita Hall. Manzanita Hall is located near the southwest corner of the campus near Nordhoff Street and Darby Avenue.

This week, the series is paying tribute to the late film legend Sidney Poitier with a rare screening of “A Raisin in the Sun,” adapted from Lorraine Hansberry’s award-winning stage play, directed by Daniel Petrie.

“This year, half of the films nominated for “best picture” in the Oscars race are adaptations,” noted CSUN film professor Dianah Wynter, the Cinematheque’s curator. “In 2022, 60 percent of the films nominated for best picture were adaptations. But the influence goes beyond award season. The impact of literature and post-literature on the box office cannot be overstated. In 2023, a whopping 88 percent of the international releases of American movies were adaptations or sequels. It’s a cultural behemoth.”

Wynter said the next crucial factor in the series is the filmmakers themselves: Akira Kurosawa, Alfonso Cuarón, Francis Ford Coppola, and the Coen Brothers, among others.

“Francois Truffaut coined the term ‘auteur’ in the early 1950s, during the advent of French New Wave,” she said. “According to Truffaut, the auteur filmmaker did not simply take a book, put it on its feet and roll camera. The auteur is a visionary who re-codes a literary work, who takes full ownership, authorship and responsibility for creating a wholly integrated cinematic experience.”

The series will mark Women’s History Month in March with international adaptations by Mira Nair and Lucia Martel. Alexander Payne’s “Sideways,” winner of the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay, will screen the first week in April with a Q&A with the film’s production executive, Christina Sibul, a member of the faculty in CSUN’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts. Alfonso Cuaron’s aesthetically controversial adaptation of a Harry Potter novel, cross-cultural adaptations by Hayao Miyazaki and Chan Park Wook and Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood” (from Macbeth) will follow. The series will close with Paul Thomas Anderson’s riveting drama “There Will be Blood,” based on Upton Sinclair’s “Oil!”

“What’s exciting about film adaptation is that the audience is a key participant in the experience, going in with preconceived notions perhaps and engaging viscerally in a dialogue with both the author and the filmmaker — a conversation that continues long after the final fade to black,” Wynter said. “I think it’s tremendously empowering.”

For more information about the Cinematheque series, visit https://www.csun.edu/mike-curb-arts-media-communication/cinema-television-arts/cinematheque-schedule. The series is offered by the Department of Cinema and Television Arts in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication.

, , , ,