Illuminating Cinema: Se7en
Directed by David Fincher. US. 1995. R. 2 hours 7 minutes. Warner. 35mm.
Fri., March 1, 2019
When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and sadistic murders. They soon realize they are dealing with a serial killer who is targeting people he thinks represent one of the seven deadly sins. Unsettling and influential, director David Fincher’s blend of police procedural and horror features a superb cast, a clever script, and one of the most jaw-dropping finales in film history.
“David Fincher’s intricate thriller is one of the best and most influential Hollywood films of the 1990s, not only for its serial-killer-as-genius conceit (which inspired countless knock-offs, including the Freeman-starring Alex Cross series) but also for its stunning visual aesthetic. Rendering the film’s unnamed metropolis as a stygian cesspool awash in grime, filth, and a constant rain that never cleanses, Fincher and D.P. Darius Khondji create a vision of intense, unrelenting ugliness that is paradoxically breathtaking in its artistry.” – TIFF
About the Talk & Conversation
In an 1827 satiric essay, Thomas De Quincey, author of The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822), argued that murder must be considered as one of the fine arts, and rather than be judged solely on its immoral nature, must also be measured for its purely aesthetic qualities. From such a perspective the murderer becomes an artist; their work, a creative endeavor replete with the criteria attributed to all great aesthetic work, namely its ability to instruct, to critique, and to provide a social commentary on the nature of human existence.
This is the aesthetics of ‘John Doe,’ who, utilizing the medieval concept of the seven deadly sins as inspirational framework, weaves a homicidal tapestry, portraying humanity as an apathetic, greedy creature, motivated by lust, inequity and injustice, and devoid of any semblance of care or feeling for those around them. It is an artistic work that denounces the state of human society, while simultaneously striving to inspire change in the very creatures it condemns.
This episode of Illuminating Cinema will examine the essence of Doe’s work, especially in relation to those texts that inspired his creativity. The conversation will also focus on the film’s relationship to the conventional detective story, as originally developed by Edgar Allan Poe. Lastly, we will engage in a comparative examination of the work of other cinematic murderers/artists, including, but not limited to, Thomas Harris’ ‘Hannibal Lector,’ and Hitchcock’s ‘Brandon’ and ‘Phillip,’ in, Rope (1948).
About the Speaker
Andrew Owen received an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Bangor University, Great Britain, and was a fulltime faculty member at Cabrini University. Andrew is also a house manager here at the Colonial.
Andrew’s main areas of interest relate to the social history of censorship within popular culture; analyzing areas related to propaganda, horror, and the societal and cultural dynamics of censorship discourse and practice. Andrew is also interested in the study of humor, especially as it pertains to its usage by subordinated social groups to attack, challenge, or draw attention to the oppressive ideologies and practices of the dominant social group.
8:30PM – Pre-Show Talk in the Garden Suite
9:00PM – Film Screening in the 1903 Theatre
11:15PM – Post-Show Conversation in the Garden Suite
Members, Seniors & Students: $20
Click HERE to purchase a ticket to the Se7en film screening only.
In addition to admission to the film screening and the pre- and post-film discussions, your Illuminating Cinema ticket includes a free small popcorn, a free small soda, a complimentary theatre cup. Plus $5 beer or wine (at this event only).
A limited number of tickets are available for each Illuminating Cinema presentation so we encourage advance purchases.
Member Passes are not accepted for this program.
About Illuminating Cinema
When the credits end that’s when the conversation begins!
Illuminating Cinema connects you with film fans of all ages for fun, refreshments and engaging conversation. Each presentation begins in our beautiful Garden Suite with a pre-show introduction from a guest speaker who offers insight and observation to help sharpen your focus on the respective film. After the lights go up in the historic 1903 auditorium, we’ll gather in the Garden Suite for a convivial post-film conversation with the speaker and each other.
In addition to admission to the film screening and the pre- and post-film discussions, your Illuminating Cinema ticket includes a free small popcorn, a free small soda, a complimentary theatre cup. Plus $5 beer or wine (at the Illuminating Cinema event only).
Focus your appreciation for film with Illuminating Cinema!