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Soul Stealing

Next Thursday night, you’re invited to The Toby at IMA for a crash course in soul-stealing…in the cinematic sense, that is. Dennis Bingham, director of film studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, will enlighten us on the history, politics and particular pleasures of a genre of film known as the biopic, or film biography.

Since the art of film was born, directors and screenwriters have snatched drama from the lives of real people and transmuted them into works of cinematic art. From Erin Brockovich and Larry Flynt to Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, there are a gazillion real lives that beg for big screen treatment. Jake LaMotta, anyone?

In his new book, Whose Lives Are They Anyway?, Bingham interrogates the oft-dismissed biopic genre for its power to mythologize, demonize, sanctify, and complicate.

Think of the innovative 2007 Bob Dylan biopic, I’m Not There. Or Oliver Stone’s takes on Nixon and JFK. Not to mention Gretchen Moll in The Notorious Bettie Page–a film that might have been naughty but was actually quite nice. Plus Denzel Washington‘s channeling of Malcom X back in ’92.

See you October 28 at The Toby for this free 7 pm talk (details here). Meanwhile, leave us a list of biopics you find most notable – whether schlocky, exploitative or aggrandizing…

Filed under: Film, Public Programs

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