Art History, Theory, and Criticism: Uncertain Times Have Chicagoans Turning to History

CHICAGO–Following a year where many Americans harbored growing doubts about global stability and international relations, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is offering a rare introspective of the Vietnam War through a film series at its Gene Siskel Film Center for students and members of the public. Marking the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Then: The Vietnam War on Film features a new film about the Vietnam and Cambodian Wars each week, followed by a discussion. 

“The Vietnam War still haunts the American psyche decades after it ended,” said Nora Annesley Taylor, Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art at SAIC. “Echoes of the social upheaval that divided America still resonate today, and with the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive in January, these films, along with those made by Vietnamese and Cambodian filmmakers, deserve to be revisited.”

Through May 8, two screenings of each film in the series will be shown, accompanied by weekly discussions led by Professor Taylor. The series kicked off with “Indochine” on January 27, Oscar® winner for Best Foreign Language Film, starring Catherine Deneuve. The class presents a reconstructed view from an aesthetic and cinematic perspective on the wars, with a focus on American and Vietnamese history. 

For nearly 40 years, the Gene Siskel Film Center, part of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, provides a unique experience for Chicago filmgoers. Each fall and spring, a themed screening/lecture series is offered as a course to SAIC students, and a weekly series of screenings is open to the public. A complete schedule of the Apocalypse Then films can be found here.  

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons and LeRoy Neiman.

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