As part of its two-month, community-wide NEA Big Read program, organizers are presenting a discussion following a special pre-screening of the new feature film, The Magnificent Seven, on Thursday, September 22 at Classic Cinemas Lake Theatre. The discussion will be held after the 7 p.m. screening at the theater, 1022 Lake Street, Oak Park. The film officially opens in theaters across the country on Friday, September 23.
The National Endowment for the Arts-funded NEA Big Read program is focusing on Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North, a novel that focuses on a small town in Mexico whose men have immigrated to the United States to find work. After seeing the iconic 1960 film, The Magnificent Seven, a young woman decides to go north to find her father and recruit her own “siete magnificos” to defend her town from drug dealers.
This remake of The Magnificent Seven, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke, takes place in a small town in the U.S. rather than Mexico but incorporates the same themes as the 1960 film. Leading the discussion following the film will be Jim Madigan, deputy director of the Oak Park Public Library, one of the sponsors of the cooperative NEA Big Read program. He previously served as assistant director at Facets Multimedia, a nonprofit film and video organization specializing in foreign, independent and documentary cinema. He has presented several times at the annual Film and History Conference in Milwaukee.
Madigan will explore the rich American western movie tradition of heroes saving towns from criminals that is incorporated in this remake of the original Magnificent Seven as well as such films as the 1998 Pixar animated film, A Bug’s Life, High Noon, Rio Bravo, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and High Plains Drifter.
The cost of this program is free with tickets purchased for the film.
Throughout the months of September and October, several sponsoring organizations of the NEA Big Read, including public libraries in Oak Park, River Forest, Maywood, Forest Park and Berwyn, will explore immigration-related themes and issues resonant in Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North.