Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

Art and discourse shine at modern day salons

Watch, discuss and learn.

Those three words (along with some warm buttered popcorn) sum up the idea behind an upcoming event by DU’s Humanities Institute dubbed “Crimes & Misdemeanors: Woody Allen on Faith, Love, and Human Frailty.” The event — part of the institute’s “salon” series — is on March 7 and March 14, 7–9 p.m. The cost is $55 total for both sessions with no discounts for students. 

Salons go back 400 years, when intellectuals met to discuss the latest thinking and artistic developments. Salons often attracted political activists promoting social movements and revolutions.

Today’s DU salons are a little more subdued and are held in private homes, the addresses of which are only given to those who register, according to Meg Steitz, salons coordinator.

For this one — based on Allen’s Crimes & Misdemeanors (1989) — attendees will view the film on the first Wednesday. The second Wednesday will feature a discussion of the film in the light of philosophical works from Soren Kierkegaard, Martin Buber and others.

Crimes features Judah Rosenthal, an ophthalmologist who has had an affair with a woman for several years, and now she threatens to ruin his life if he doesn’t marry her.

When his brother suggests having the woman murdered, Judah is faced with a moral dilemma: destruction of his life or murder. 

Meanwhile, documentary filmmaker Clifford Stern is commissioned to make a portrait of successful TV producer and brother-in-law Lester, who represents everything that Clifford despises. 

“This film, as is the case for most of Allen’s better films, is also about love and death and overtly engages viewers in questions about morality, religion, family and truth,” says Sarah Pessin, an assistant professor in both DU’s Department of Philosophy and the Center for Judaic Studies. 

“It’s a film about the contours of human reality, and one worth being watched more than once,” she says.

Pessin, who will facilitate the discussion, says she hopes viewers find the film and the discussions “to be a generous springboard from which to pursue pressing philosophical questions about who we are and who we hope to be.”

Other upcoming salons include: “God and Darwin in American Life” on April 26 and May 3 and “The Great Gatsby: Can We Live a Dream?” on May 1 and 8.

Visit the salon site or call 303-871-2466 to register.

Comments are closed.