When: Friday evenings, 7-10 p.m.

Where: Tannahill Auditorium, Schott Center, 310 W. Padre St., Santa Barbara

Cost: Free

The Lowdown: Sometimes going to the movies is all about disengaging from reality for a few hours, to hang out with James Bond, have a good laugh with Will Ferrell, or carry out a casino heist (vicariously, of course) with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and the rest of Danny Ocean’s pals.

There are other times, however, when going to the movies is about becoming more engaged with reality, to think about aspects of living that our daily routines don’t usually allow, and consider our own thoughts and actions in a broader context. “Turning Points in Thought from Film” is a class that offers that opportunity on a weekly basis.

Each term, Kerry Methner and Mark Whitehurst put together a selection of outstanding films that have thought-provoking potential. The class structure is simple: no tests, no outside reading of dense texts on film theory. Simply come to watch the film and join the discussion that follows.

The film for this coming Friday is the winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Picture, Crash, staring Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, and others. The film’s official website describes it as:

“Challenging and thought-provoking:a provocative, unflinching look at the complexities of racial tolerance in contemporary America. Diving headlong into the diverse melting pot of post-9/11 Los Angeles, this compelling urban drama tracks the volatile intersections of a multi-ethnic cast of characters’ struggles to overcome their fears as they careen in and out of one another’s lives in the gray area between black and white, victim and aggressor, there are no easy answers:Funny, powerful, and always unpredictable, Crash boldly reminds us of the importance of tolerance as it ventures beyond color lines:and uncovers the truth of our shared humanity.”

If you missed Crash when it came out, now is your chance. If you’ve already seen it, it’s one of those films worth seeing again, especially when you can stay to talk with others about the issues it raises. Films for the rest of the spring term include Magdalene Sisters (May 16), Vera Drake (May 30), Away from Her (June 6), and the 1962 classic To Kill a Mockinbird (June 13).


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