“LEARNING – JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT!”
The LLI Winter/Spring class schedule has been extended to include a “Documentary Plus Lunch” series through the summer and new film titles will be added here as they are confirmed!
You can register online with your credit card by clicking on the appropriate “Add to Cart” button (FRIENDS member or non-member) or you can call the LLI office at 941-637-3533. Refunds must be requested either by email or in writing through the U.S. mail and will be granted only prior to the first class session.
Now make your choices and learn — just for the fun of it!
“Documentaries with Lunch”
Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to noon – Classroom D105
Choose one, two, three or all five of the sessions listed below. Each session will begin at 10:00 a.m. in classroom D105 with an online documentary chosen by the LLI Curriculum Committee for its cultural diversity and includes a special lunch served by the campus cafeteria staff. New titles will be added on this page as they are confirmed.
June 22 “Buena Vista Social Club”
“The Buena Vista Social Club,” guitarist Ry Cooder’s celebrated album featuring the recently re-discovered talents of Cuba’s foremost folk musicians, sold millions of copies and earned a Grammy Award. In 1999 Cooder teamed up with acclaimed director Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas) to reveal the astonishing life stores, vibrant personalities and unforgettable music of the brilliantly talented but long-overlooked performers who collaborated on this now-legendary recording. From the crumbling barrios of their native Havana, to their triumphant, sold-out concerts in Amsterdam and New York’s Carnegie Hall, it’s an unforgettable, deeply emotional journey into the passion, pride and humanity of the artists whose music sparked a worldwide musical phenomenon!
$15 Non Members
June 29 – “Persia, Legacy of the Flames”
Dominating a territory spanning from northern Africa to central Asia, Persia once reigned as the world’s first universal empire. Its archaeological treasures are rich and continue to expose secrets of a history obscured since the overtaking of Persia by Alexander the Great in 33 BC. The documentary “Persian Legacy of the Flames” attempts to unravel some of those secrets through its thoughtful portrayals of two legendary archaeologists who operated many decades ago, and whose work continues to inspire the modern day efforts of a research team from the University of Sydney in Australia.
German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld and his assistant Friedrich Krefter were determined to unearth these buried secretes when they traveled to southern Persia in 1929. The climate in which they arrived was a delicate one, however. The French maintained a monopoly on all excavation activities in Iran and foreigners were not looked kindly upon in the region, particularly if they were of German descent. The film details his attempts to woo members of the Iranian government, and the political intrigue which followed. With great persuasion, the pair were granted permission to assist in the excavation of one of the most mysterious and ill-understood areas of archaeological study in the region – Persepolis, the mythical capital of the Persian Empire.
Drawing upon careful examination of the diaries kept by Herzfeld at the time, and dramatized through a series of lavishly produced re-enactments, “Persian Legacy of the Flames” succeeds in humanizing both of these important figures, and lending a sense of urgency and tragedy to their struggles and exploits. The filmmakers balance this portrait with the efforts of current archeologic researchers who continue their work under similarly strained circumstances. To these dedicated diggers, the mission to unlock the mysteries of the past far exceeds the physical dangers and political unrest that continue to grip the region.
$15 Non Members
July 6 – “World War I: American Legacy”
Narrated by David Carradine, this poignant film reveals the true cost of World War I. The forgotten soldiers whose graves were never marked, the expense of human life and the immense suffering of those who did survive (for every man who was killed, three men were maimed, injured or driven mad). World War I sucked up millions of dollars and swamped many governments in debt. Estimates of cost amount to a staggering $190 billion dollars. But how did this diabolical destruction commence? How did the ‘Great War’ come to the front doorstep of the United States?
It began with two pivotal murders. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife Sophie were murdered publicly by activists in the city of Sarajevo. The Austro-Hungarians declared war when the Serbians refused to allow their officials to investigate the murders. The situation escalated when the surrounding allied countries became involved. Russia came to the aid of the Serbians and the Germans supported the Austro-Hungarians. On Aug 1 1914, the Germans declared war on Russia. As the British would not tolerate a mobilized German army so close to them across the English Channel, the Great British Empire declared war after the German army invaded Belgium on Aug 4 1914. Thus starts the ‘war to end all wars’.
The Americans stayed out of the war, but provided ammunition and finance. At sea, Germany declared that any ship carrying war supplies to Britain or France would be targeted and destroyed. German submarines subsequently attacked and sunk many American cargo ships. When British code breakers intercepted a German message to the Mexican government, it was given directly to the Americans. This message contained the potential threat of a secret alliance between the Germans and Mexicans. The United States of America is then compelled to declare war against Germany on 6 April 1917.
14 million people lost their lives during the ‘The Great War’ and a generation of young men had been wiped out. This ‘war to end all wars’ was so awful; that it was believed it could never again be repeated. Although World War I hasn’t had as much attention as other wars, (such as World War II or the Vietnam War), it has still left a profound impact on the lives of Americans to this day.
$15 Non Members
July 13 – “Hidden Killers of the Edwardian Home”
This installation of the BBC’s Hidden Killers series catalogs the innovations and discoveries of the Edwardian period (1901-1914) and the resultant dangers that were inadvertently introduced into the homes of that time. Host Suzannah Lipscomb meets with several historical experts to learn more about this experimental phase of history and its impact on modernity.
Described as “an age of firsts,” the Edwardian period saw many significant technological advances including the first mass-produced car, the first successful airplane flight, and widespread use of electricity. Unfortunately, Edwardian society had much to learn about the risks of overloading a socket and the poisonous nature of many gases and powders in use at the time. Citing a lack of understanding as the primary factor in many otherwise avoidable injuries and deaths, Lipscomb educates viewers on the past household roles of toxins including asbestos, ammonia, and ether to name a few.
Also noted as an age of “female advance,” more women were joining the workforce and therefore utilizing electrical appliances to ease the burden of housework. Items such as early refrigerators, however, suffered a serious design flaw that allowed lethal and flammable gases to leak into the air and the lungs of the average family. Not only did appliances pose certain risks, both male and female laborers exposed their families to poisons by wearing them home on their clothes. Asbestos was being used industrially for the first time, and dust from the factories would stick to uniforms and infect those doing the household laundry.
Aesthetic trends also posed a threat to the public. Make-up found popularity after the “au naturel” trend of the Victorian era, but many cosmetic products contained ingredients with undesirable side effects such as hair loss and corneal damage. Female baldness was common due to either burning it off with curling tools, or killing it with hazardous chemicals meant to dye it. Radium was a popular novelty due to its glow. Items such as irradiated socks, underwear, chocolate, toothpaste and even water were available for public consumption.
“Hidden Killers of the Edwardian Home” reveals the beginnings of many products still in use today, leaving viewers to question what modern technologies we may presently be misusing to our potential detriment.
$15 Non Members
July 20 – “Guarding the Queen”
For the very first time cameras have been allowed behind the scenes at the royal palaces to see the historic and hidden world of the Grenadier Guards.
The Grenadier Guards are the most senior infantry regiment in the British Army. They are probably best recognized as one of the five regiments of Foot Guards who stand watch outside Buckingham Palace come rain or shine.
It is easy to forget – as you see them changing the guard to the sound of a military band – that this regiment has also been involved in almost every major British campaign since its formation through to the present day. “Guarding the Queen” takes viewers behind the scenes to see what life is really like for these celebrated soldiers.
Major Thorold Youngman Sullivan and right hand man Sgt. Major Steve Munro have their work cut out to maintain the impeccable Grenadier standards. The Guards on ceremonial duty are in London practicing for Trooping the Colour alongside their regimental rivals, the Coldstream Guards.
$15 Non Members
July 27 – “Art Sleuth”
We will be looking at works by Van Gogh, Manet, Boticelli, Le Brun, and Rembrandt. Why did paintings by these artists become recognized as Masterpieces? Each painting will be examined for the unique qualities that make it stand out.
Maybe it will help you to become an Art Sleuth the next time you visit a gallery.
$15 Non Members
August 3 – “Ice Age Hunters”
A testament to the enduring legacy of archaeological researchers throughout the generations, Ice age Hunters identifies profound connections between the monumental discoveries of yesteryear and the research efforts which continue to this day.
The film opens in Hamburg, Germany during the 1930s where Alfred Rust, a young and eager electrician in training, had his sights set upon an entirely different field of study. A novice archaeologist, he excavated a set of stone weapons and tools hidden deep within the brush of a German valley. These artifacts clearly bore markings which were man-made, leading him to conclude that they might prove the existence of human life during the throes of the Ice Age. Common wisdom among professional anthropologists of the time brushed Rust’s theory aside as an impossibility; in their view, Hamburg was too far north to sustain a nomadic existence.
Thirsty for knowledge and determined to etch his place in the annals of anthropological discovery, Rust traveled on bicycle to the Middle East and eventually unearthed a crucial site associated with the Stone Age. Empowered by his new-found respectability and notoriety, he returned to his studies in Germany and recorded a series of observations that validated his initial theory. The region was indeed inhabited by nomadic tribes who survived in the aftermath of the last glacial age. Migrating herds of reindeer provided these nomads with sustenance, and they devised the earliest version of a bow and arrow in order to incapacitate and capture their prey.
Modern researchers continue to build upon Rust’s groundbreaking efforts. Helicopters capture high resolution imagery which clearly indicate the existence of ancient packets of ice among an otherwise vibrant green valley; the same regions where Rust made his initial observations eight decades earlier. The groundwork set by Rust informs the discoveries of today, and works to build a much clearer portrait of what life must have been like many centuries ago.
Yet another chapter in the incredibly entertaining and informative Secrets of the Dust series, Ice Age Hunters offers a feast for any viewer with an interest in the enigmatic mysteries unraveled by history’s most innovative discoverers.
$15 Non Members
August 10 – “Neanderthal Man”
42,000 Years ago, the only humans in Europe made clothes, educated their young, made tools. But they weren’t the same as us.
Now the very latest technology can reveal exactly how they lived, the dangers they faced and the communities they made in the Neander valley in Germany.
We all know the word Neanderthal to be an unflattering qualifier for some of our more uncultured and dim-witted fellow humans. But was the real Neanderthal man truly such an intellectual dunce? The real “Neanderthal Man” looks at modern scientific findings that reveal quite the opposite.
$15 Non Members
August 17 – “Bedlam, the History of Bethlem Hospital”
The Bethlem Royal Hospital in London became infamous in the 1600’s in regards to the inhumane and cruel treatment of its patients as revealed by psychiatric historians. “Bedlam: The History of Bethlem Hospital” reveals why Bedlam came to stand for the very idea of madness itself.
It was satirized for centuries as both a “human zoo” and a “university of madness” and for 100 years was one of London’s leading tourist attractions, as Madame Tussauds is today.
Britain’s leading psychiatric historians discuss Bedlam and its inhabitants as we reveal the incredible history of one of U.K’s most notorious institutions.
$15 Non Members
August 24 – “Superhuman: The World’s Smallest People”
For each of the captivating subjects in the breezily entertaining documentary “Superhuman: World’s Smallest People”, the true measurement of a person is more than just inches and pounds. It’s a formula built from equal parts determination, perseverance and the lessons learned from overcoming profound adversities.
Living life as a midget is no small feat. Even the most mundane of daily tasks pose a challenge – from pumping gas to placing an over-the-counter order at a restaurant to using public restroom facilities. Michael Hembury, the smallest man in Britain at 2 feet 11 inches, knows these obstacles all too well. Upon his birth, the doctors urged Michael’s own mother to give up on him. But from an early age, he refused to let his dwarfism hinder his spirit or his opportunities. Today, he thrives at his job in a customs office and enjoys camaraderie and recreation with a close-knit family of friends. He accepts the realities and limitations imposed by his size, but possesses the strength of character to view his condition with amused detachment.
The film features additional inspiring portraits of other height-challenged figures who are determined to find the blessings in their disadvantages. Constantly bullied as an adolescent, 38-year old Tanyalee Davis transformed her pain into comedy, and her highly successful stand-up act has garnered her acclaim in clubs all over the world and the strongly devoted love of a normal-sized man.
Then there’s Ping Ping, a young boy living in Mongolia with his family under extremely modest conditions. As the film opens, a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records is travelling across the world to determine if he is indeed the world’s smallest person at 2 feet and 6 inches. If Ping Ping succeeds in claiming the title, it will assuredly bring him worldwide recognition and change the quality of life for both him and his entire family.
“Superhuman: World’s Smallest People” provides inspiring glimpses into the lives of those who thrive in the face of tremendous challenges. In the process, the film pays affectionate tribute to all that is extraordinary in even the smallest among us.
$15 Non Members