Monday, February 21, 2011

Books-into-Film Event at WC To Screen and Discuss Robert Altman's "Short Cuts"

CHESTERTOWN—Miller Library at Washington College will host three free screenings of Robert Altman’s 1992 film Short Cuts beginning Friday, Feb. 25, and then follow up March 2 with a discussion of the film and the Raymond Carver short stories that inspired it.

The film will be shown Friday, Sunday and Monday, Feb. 25, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Norman James Theatre on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.

The following Wednesday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m., Christopher Ames, Provost and Dean of the College and a professor in the English Department, will lead a discussion of the book and the film in the Sophie Kerr Room of the College’s Miller Library. He will guide the group in exploring literary and film devices (plot, characterization, setting, etc.) and examining how the subtleties of language in a novel can be reinterpreted through image, music and sound. The discussion will take place in the Sophie Kerr Room of Miller Library.

Altman based his Short Cuts on ten short stories written by Carver. In an unusual twist, those ten stories were later published as a collection and titled Short Cuts. The movie is a fascinating example of cinematic adaptation. Set in Los Angeles, it interweaves the characters from the ten stories into a remarkable performance that won a special Golden Globe award for Best Ensemble Cast and earned Altman an Oscar nomination for Best Director. The cast includes Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Robert Downey, Jr., Frances McDormand, Jack Lemmon, Andie MacDowell, Lily Tomlin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Peter Gallagher, Lyle Lovett, and Tom Waits.

The screening and discussion are part of a statewide Books-to-Film project sponsored by five college libraries and the Maryland Humanities Council through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Friends of Miller Library organization is offering a free copy of the Short Cuts book to the first 25 persons who sign up to participate in the screening and discussion. To sign up, please contact Ruth Shoge at or 410-778-7292. For more information go to:

Photos: Top, Madeleine Stowe and Tim Robbins in a scene from Robert Altman's film Short Cuts. Middle, Washington College dean of faculty Chris Ames, who will lead the literary/cinematic discussion March 2.

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