The Ohio University LGBT Center and Hillel at OU will collaborate Sunday to examine the intersection of Jewish and queer identities with a special screening of the award-winning film Call Me By Your Name.
The special event will take place at The Athena Cinema at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a panel discussion. The first 100 attendees will get free tickets courtesy of the LGBT Center and Hillel’s sponsorship.
Call Me By Your Name has attracted significant attention from the film community since its release in November 2017 and its nominations for three Golden Globe awards. Set in the Italian countryside in 1983, it tells the story of a 17-year-old boy who falls in love with his father’s summer research assistant.
Alexandra Kamody, director of the Athena, said she was happy to collaborate with Hillel and the LGBT Center on an event for a blockbuster film. The movie will begin showing Friday at the Athena and will continue to play in the following weeks.
While she was aware of the obvious importance of LGBT identities in the film, Kamody said she is interested to learn more about the importance of Judaism in the plot as well.
“I think it comes into play when you’re talking about identity and that topic of coming of age because you’re really exploring your identity,” she said. “I kind of conjecture that the young man’s identity is very tied to the Jewish culture he’s part of, and it factors into the story as his identity is being explored.”
Bree Becker, director of Hillel, reached out to Kamody about organizing the event after hearing the Call Me By Your Name buzz among both LGBT and Jewish peoples. Becker said she found it interesting that while most films featuring Jewish characters make their faith the crux of the plot, Call Me By Your Name is not one of those movies.
“It’s sort of an interesting representation because … while (the main character) is very obviously Jewish, the movie is not about being Jewish,” she said. “It is … actually sometimes unusual to find a film where a character is very clearly Jewish, but the movie isn’t about being Jewish or Israel or the Holocaust.”
Becker and delfin bautista, director of the LGBT Center, will also lead a panel discussion following the screening. Becker said the two of them will be available as sources of expertise to answer any questions attendees may have, but they will primarily act as moderators to stimulate conversation about attendee’s thoughts on the film.
Becker said above all, she hopes those who attend the screening go away with something new to consider, whether it be about LGBT and Jewish identities or something else entirely.
“We’re all part of an intellectual community here,” she said. “I think anything we can do that creates new opportunities to learn is positive, and sparks different kinds of conversation.”