Jonathan Demme: Cinema with a Rock 'N' Roll Heart

Wednesdays, January 30 - February 27
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Wednesdays at 10am

January 30 — February 27 (5 classes)

Cost: $120 members / $150 general admission


Jonathan Demme’s work, like the title of one of his early films, is something wild.

Few other filmmakers achieved such range, working on everything from documentaries and art house favorites to, as Filmmaker Magazine put it, “Hollywood spectacles” and “other unclassifiable delights.” While Demme’s films may at first seem starkly disparate, key undercurrents run through his work. Demme’s legacy is one that continually reveals the social, cultural, and political powers of filmmaking. As a director deeply interested in social justice issues, Demme directed big-budget films that confronted viewers with the AIDS crisis while also focusing on documentary projects that exposed human rights violations and resistance to dictatorship in Haiti. At the same time, he loved music and directed numerous rockumentaries (including Stop Making Sense, which will screen during the first class session) and music videos. Truly an eclectic filmmaker, Demme was an Academy Award-winning director whose Hollywood features found mainstream success while also supporting political activists, emerging musicians, and outsider artists.

More than most other directors, Demme was at home in a wide variety of genres and forms. Join Simmons University professor Audrey Golden for a five-week exploration of the aesthetics, politics, music, and social justice in Demme’s extensive body of work.

About the Instructor

Audrey J. Golden is Assistant Professor of English at Simmons University, where she teaches courses in global literature and postcolonial cinema. Her love of film dates to her time as head projectionist of the Wesleyan University cinema, where she also earned a B.A. in film studies. She earned a J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. As a lawyer and literature scholar, her research focuses on the connections between international human rights law and postcolonial fiction. She regularly teaches and writes on literature and film from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.