This program is reserved for members of the Athenæum. Attendees are invited to participate in a guided discussion on selected films.
Board member Touba Ghadessi examines two short films:
Clebs [Mutts] (Halima Ouardiri, 2019) view the trailer here (a password-protected link to view Clebs will be sent to registered attendees). In a stray-dog refuge in Morocco, time seems to stand still for the 750 animals waiting to be adopted, their lives following a precise, monotonous routine. Halima Ouardiri is a Swiss-Canadian film director, producer and screenwriter.
Sincerely, Erik (Naz Riahi, 2020). A lonely New York City bookseller navigates isolation during the pandemic as best as he can. Naz Riahi is a writer and director. Much of her work explores the spaces, emotions and opportunities of otherness and isolation, informed by her experiences as an immigrant from Iran.
These two short films were not meant as a series or with each other in mind. However, their subject explorations come into focus even more sharply when the two shorts are placed in dialogue with each other. Together, let’s consider the following discussion points:
– Love and its many expressions
– Loneliness: how can it manifest itself? Is it about solitude? About misunderstandings? Powerlessness? Where and how do we see it examined in both Sincerely, Erik and Clebs?
– Separation: must physical separations lead to emotional ones? Should we always strive to know what is on the other side of our familiar walls?
– Hope: what fuels a routine? Is it the hope that one day it may be altered by an encounter for Erik? An adoption for one of the dogs?
– Time: how do we, as viewers, understand the concept of time in each of these shorts?
– Otherness: how do we define community? Belonging?
--Touba Ghadessi is Associate Provost for Academic Administration and Faculty Affairs and Professor of the History of Art at Wheaton College. She is also the co-founder the Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities, the immediate past chair of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, a member of the inaugural executive committee for the New England Humanities Consortium’s Faculty of Color board, a board member of the Providence Athenaeum, and the past joint president of the oldest Renaissance society in America, the New England Renaissance Conference.
A passionate advocate for the true and concrete value of the humanities, particularly in a professional, civic, and political context, Ghadessi believes that knowledge, in all its forms, is what constructs a just and innovative society.
Of Persian descent, Touba Ghadessi was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, where she grew up in an international environment that emphasized the importance of diplomacy, cultural curiosity, and dialogue. She obtained a Maturité fédérale scientifique before moving to the United States and receiving her PhD from Northwestern University.