Academic lives

For the next three weeks we have chosen three movies that capture, in a broad sense, different aspects of the academic life.  The distinct perspective found in each of the films could provide one with a glance on how generally human concerns fit the coordinates of a life dedicated to knowledge and research. The topics will go from a story about rivalry and academic success, to a humorous perspective on writing and literature, and, finally, to the intertwining of personal drama with the teaching activity.

Here are the films. All screenings will take place in Zrinyi 14, room 412, at 18:00.

November 16th: Hearat Shulayim (Footnote), 2011, Israel

Directed by Joseph Cedar. 103 min.


The story of a great rivalry between a father and son, both eccentric professors in the Talmud department of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The son has an addictive dependency on the embrace and accolades that the establishment provides, while his father is a stubborn purist with a fear and profound revulsion for what the establishment stands for, yet beneath his contempt lies a desperate thirst for some kind of recognition. The Israel Prize, Israel’s most prestigious national award, is the jewel that brings these two to a final, bitter confrontation. (imdb)

November 23: Wonder Boys (2000)

Directed by Curtis Hanson. 107 min


In this comedy, a middle-aged man juggles his problems with women, literature, and a career, while a younger man chases the artifact of his dreams. Pittsburgh college professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) is currently single following his divorce from his third wife; after publishing an acclaimed first novel, Grady has been working on a follow-up, but he’s been sidelined by a severe case of writer’s block. Grady has more than his writing career to think about; his affair with one of the (married) chancellors at the University of Pittsburgh (Frances McDormand), has resulted in her pregnancy, while Hannah (Katie Holmes), a student boarding at Grady’s house, has developed a crush on him. While Grady is obsessed with his book, one of his students (Tobey Maguire) has an obsession of his own: finding a jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe. (

November 30th: A single man (2009)

Directed by Tom Ford. 99 min.


George Falconer (Colin Firth) feels lost. Not only is he still grieving the death of his longtime companion, Jim (Matthew Goode), but he’s also a Brit teaching English at a California college. He’s so distraught with heartbreak that he’s decided to kill himself, and proceeds to get all his affairs in order while carrying on with what otherwise would be a normal day. (



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