News & Events
Thursday, November 13: The Dreyfus Affair on Screen

poster for Dreyfus films
Time and Date: 5:00PM, Thursday, November 13, 2008

Place: Rosenwald Gallery, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, 3420 Walnut Street (photo ID required to enter the Library)

Film representation has, it seems, been central to the French "Dreyfus Affair" since the events of the Affair itself. Recently re-released short silent films on the Affair by director Georges Méliès, made in 1899, are odd and intriguing "stagings" of major moments that had captured public attention: for example, Dreyfus's imprisonment on Devil's Island, his retrial, the suicide of an army officer exposed for forging evidence, and the attempted assassination of one of Dreyfus's lawyers. These pieces raise questions about the role(s) cinema was playing--or directors like Méliès wanted it to play--in cultural and political life.

The evening will begin with a screening of the Méliès films, to be followed by a panel discussion with Penn faculty members Kristen Stromberg Childers and Timothy Corrigan, and a reception and display of items from the Lorraine Beitler Collection of the Dreyfus Affair, housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The evening concludes with the screening of a feature-length film, Ken Russell's "Prisoner of Honor" (1991), staring Richard Dreyfuss as Georges Picquart, the intelligence officer who uncovered evidence showing Dreyfus's innocence. Russell's film provides a perspective on the Affair and the military from the vantage point of America in the 1990s.

The Lorraine Beitler Collection of the Dreyfus Affair, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Penn Cinema Studies

More information about the event and the Beitler Collection

For more information:
John Pollack