Free screenings will raise awareness for Banned Book Week | ParkRecord.com

Free screenings will raise awareness for Banned Book Week

Library and Film Series partner for films

Stanley Kubrick brought Anthony Burgess' ultra-violent book "A Clockwork Orange" to the big screen only to have it banned in England in 1973. (Courtesy of the Park City Film Series)

This year's Banned Books Week ran from Sept. 24 to Sept. 30, and due to scheduling conflicts with the Utah Humanities Book Festival, Park City Library and the Park City Film series decided to celebrate a week later with two free film screenings in the Jim Santy Auditorium.

The first will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, the two nonprofits will team for a free screening of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange."

The film, rated R, is based on Anthony Burgess' novel, set in a dystopian future, about a teen named Alex, portrayed in the film by Malcolm McDowell, who submits to behavior modifications after being arrested for his part in an ultra-violent killing.

The second screening, Francis Ford Coppola's "The Outsiders," will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7.

"The Outsiders," rated PG-13, is based on S.E. Hinton's 1967 novel that is seen through the eyes of Ponyboy, who is part of a lower-class group of boys known as Greasers, who have run-ins with an upper-class gang and the law.

The two films were selected because both were based banned books, but also because of their cinematic presentation, said Katharine Wang, executive director of the Park City Film Series.

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"We looked at a list of books that have been banned over the years, and we thought about the movies that have been based on those books," Wang said during an interview with The Park Record. "The idea is to highlight the power of freedom of speech. Some of these great stories have been challenged over the years."

Wang selected "A Clockwork Orange" because it is one of her favorite films.

"It's a pretty controversial book and film that pushes the envelope," she said. "I saw it in high school. That turned me on to independent cinema, because I had never seen anything like it."

Wang who liked the book, was blown away by director Stanley Kubrick's vision.

"What I like about this film is how well it translates the written word on to the screen," she said. "It's almost more disturbing to see his interpretation of these very violent scenes, rather than imagine them while you read the words that describe them.

"Much like in '1984,' this is a vision of a dystopian future, and it raises different questions and concepts," Wang said. "It's about a totalitarian government who decides that goodness isn't innate and something that the government can control."

"A Clockwork Orange" is rated R for violence and disturbing images, which got it banned in England in 1973.

Francis Ford Coppola's "The Outsiders" is based on the book by S.E. Hinton. The book, which is on the Banned Book list, is about the class divide between Greasers and Socs. (Courtesy of the Park City Film Series)

"People were afraid that it would incite all of this violence," Wang said. "But the response was people are going to do what they do, and watching this movie isn't necessarily going to change their mind.

"It pushes that concept to the extreme of what that could look like, but in the hyperbole, gives us the opportunity to look at it in a more measured stance," she said. "That's really what the power of film is. So we thought it would be a nice opportunity for people to see it."
Wang selected "The Outsiders" because she was introduced to the book, written by S.E. Hinton, and the film, when she was a teen.

"First of all, it's a book that I loved, and it's a film that I grew up watching," Wang said. "It's an amazing story, and we all grew up with the actors in the film."

S.E. Hinton published "The Outsiders" 50 years ago, and the themes are still relevant today.

"To think this was a banned book is shocking," Wang said. "I mean, really? It's easier to see why 'A Clockwork Orange' was a banned book, but 'The Outsiders?'

"I think this invites a conversation, because you ask why a book like this is banned. What did people find that was disturbing or challenging?"
While there will be no panel discussion after the screenings, Wang wants to challenge film goers to engage in their own dialogues.

"We invite the conversation that words have power, and as citizens, we should have access to those stories," she said. "Both the Park City Library and the Summit County Library will have a display of books that have been banned, and we would like to invite the conversation into the community."

The Park City Film Series will present a free screening of "A Clockwork Orange" at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and a free screening of "The Outsiders" at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7. Both screenings will be held at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave. For information, visit their website.