NEWPORT, R.I. – Humans and our perception of “others” will be examined during a film screening and related lecture on Nov. 1 and 3 at Salve Regina University. Both events are free and open to the public.
A screening of the science fiction film “District 9,” which was inspired by the events of apartheid, will be presented on Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 7-9 p.m. in the DiStefano Auditorium, located in the Antone Academic Center on Lawrence Avenue.
The film won the 2010 Saturn Award for Best International Film presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, and was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects and Best Editing.
The story pivots on the themes of xenophobia and social segregation. The title and premise of “District 9” were inspired by events that took place in District Six, Cape Town, during the apartheid era.
As a follow-up to the film, Dr. Katherine Kirby, associate professor of philosophy at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, will present a public lecture on “Aliens and Others: Violence, Vulnerability, and Vigilance.”
Free and open to the public, Kirby’s lecture will be presented on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. in the McKillop Library, Ochre Point Avenue.
Kirby will discuss Emmanuel Levinas’ notion of “Otherness” as it contrasts with the way we normally think about, and respond to, otherness. Typically, those who are deemed “other” are met with hostility, violence, exclusion, or sometimes worse, total neglect. Many film representations of the alien “other” shape or reinforce these attitudes and responses.
Kirby will address a few such films, and then consider the power of film to call into question our stereotypes and typical response to otherness. Drawing on films such as “District 9” and “Men in Black,” her argument will be grounded in Levinas’ idea of Otherness as the uniqueness and transcendence of the singular other person, which commands us ethically to reject violence, embrace vulnerability, and be ever vigilant.
The lecture and film are being co-sponsored by Salve Regina’s philosophy department, philosophy club, and film studies.