The Havre de Grace will present a monthly film series called TOUGH CHOICES, in which audiences will be presented with moral dilemmas with no easy answers.  All three films will begin at 7:00 pm to be followed by a conversation facilitated by Jack Hirschfeld. The film lineup is Taking Sides on Monday, September 20, Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing on Wednesday, October 13, and Oliver Stone’s Platoon on Thursday, November 10. Tickets are available at www.HdgArtsCollective.org.

Based on true events, Taking Sides tells the story of Wilhelm Furtwaengler, one of the finest orchestral conductors of his generation.  In Nazi Germany, after 1933, many Jewish artists were forced to leave; many others ended up in concentration camps.  Wilhelm Furtwaengler (Stellan Skarsgard) chose to stay on, becoming one of the Nazis’ most prominent cultural assets. The film depicts the effort of Major Steve Arnold (Harvey Keitel) to prove that Furtwaengler’s cooperation with the Nazis contributed to the Nazi propaganda machine and their murderous ideology.  For his part, the conductor claimed that he owed his art to the German people, and also that he used his position to save many Jewish musicians from the Nazi death machine. TAKING SIDES is that rare film that demands that the audience take a position on an issue.  Did Furtwaengler’s behavior warrant punishment as an accomplice to Nazi terror, or forgiveness because of its positive value?

Do The Right Thing, a 1989 American comedy-drama film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee, explores the racial tension in a Brooklyn neighborhood between its African-American residents and the Italian-American owners of a local pizzeria, culminating in tragedy and violence on a hot summer day. The cast includes Spike Lee, Danny AielloOssie DavisRuby DeeGiancarlo EspositoJohn Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson. The film was a critical and commercial success and received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Danny Aiello’s portrayal of Sal the pizzeria owner. In 1999, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress, and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. When the differences heat up and the prejudices emerge, is there any way to avert violence?

Oliver Stone’s 1986 film Platoon is the story of a young man who leaves his university studies to enlist in combat duty in Vietnam in 1967. Once he’s in the middle of battle, his idealism fades. Infighting in his unit between Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), who believes nearby villagers are harboring Viet Cong soldiers, and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), who has a more sympathetic view of the locals, ends up pitting the soldiers against each other as well as against the enemy. Can the killing of one’s own commanding officer ever be justified?

The Havre de Grace Arts Collective is a 501(c)(3) organization created to address the cultural and economic needs of Havre de Grace and the surrounding region, including oversight of the Cultural Center at the Opera House, Arts and Entertainment District, Arts by the Bay Gallery and the Havre de Grace Public Art Committee.  The Arts Collective, Inc. is funded in part through grants from the City of Havre de Grace, Maryland State Arts Council, Harford County Dept. of Community and Economic Development and the Maryland State Arts Council through the Harford County Cultural Arts Board. For more information, visit www.HdGArtsCollective.org.   

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