Central Penn Humanities Film Series to Show Into the Wild on Friday, July 20
On: July 9, 2018 Filed Under: Member News
SUMMERDALE, Pa., July 6, 2018 – What makes a young man cut ties with his family, change his name, and drive across the United States before venturing into the Alaskan wilderness alone? Is Alexander Supertramp, the protagonist of Into the Wild, a hero or a fool?
“He might be both,” says Professor Brant Ellsworth, who sees the movie’s enigmatic character as a reiteration of the American Adam, an archetype in this country’s literature.
“Supertramp goes off into the wilderness to recreate himself, and that is a very American thing to do,” says Ellsworth, assistant professor of humanities at Central Penn College. “He follows in a long line of figures from fiction and history, including the Leatherstocking Tales’ Natty Bumppo, Huckleberry Finn, Henry David Thoreau and John Muir, the naturalist.”
“They all went into the wild to find themselves… or at least find something out about themselves,” says Ellsworth, who serves as editor for the Children’s Folklore Review.
More than just popcorn and a movie
Into the Wild screens on Friday, July 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the Capital BlueCross Theatre, as the third film in the quarterly Humanities Film Series. Ellsworth will kick off the evening at 6:30 p.m. with a talk titled, “Wanderlust: Alexander Supertramp, the Wild, and the Myth of the American Adam.” The event is free and open to the public.
The film poses some thought-provoking questions to viewers, says Ellsworth. “What is the draw of the wild? Why do so many people abandon the comforts of civilization and technology to seek out the wild? And what are the consequences, especially for Chris McCandless (a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp)?”
Released in 2007, Into the Wild is based on Jon Krakauer’s 1996 nonfiction book of the same title. The film, directed by Sean Penn, stars Emile Hirsh as the lead character and has an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Even more than a decade later, the film still resonates, says Ellsworth. “As we become more tethered to civilization and distracted by technology and social media, the call of the wild remains as enticing and potent as ever. I hope attendees consider answering the call.”
Into the Wild
Friday, July 20
Capital BlueCross Theatre
Central Penn College, 600 Valley Road, Summerdale PA 17093
6 p.m. – Doors open. Food and drinks available from the Knightly News Media Club.
6:30 p.m. – Introductory talk by Professor Brant Ellsworth
7–9 p.m. – Into the Wild
9–9:30 p.m. – Q&A