Intrigued by Google art commemorating the April 16, 1889 birthday of Charlie Chaplin, I decided to learn a bit more about the man I know only as a comedic talent from black and white film days. I was still in my teens when Chaplin died on Christmas Day of 1977, and I’ve seen very little of his work.
One of the first articles I found had a scholarly bent, exploring in greater detail than most the mental illness that plagued Chaplin’s mother for most of her life — and the likely impact of her illness, supposedly related somehow to the ravages of syphillis, on his life and career.
I was particularly struck by references to the “Cane Hill Lunatic Asylum” and the “Lambert Hospital Register of Lunatics.” No one wishes to be on such “lists” or to see their mother battle the dual inhumanity of illness and inhumane treatment.
Chaplin worked as a performer and film producer, but also wrote several books and scripts. Chaplin, who played violin and cello, was a composer as well.
You can learn more about Charlie Chaplin, his family and his career by visiting www.charliechaplin.com.
I first learned of the Film Bar from Denise Kronsteiner with Scottsdale Community College, my contact for all things wonderful at SCC — including “The Many Faces of Hate” film series they present with the Anti-Defamation League.
Kronsteiner alerted me to a screening for the film “Afghanistan: Between Light and Darkness,” directed by Penelope Price, founding director of the film school at SCC — which led me to an organization called PARSA and their program titled “Children of Afghanistan.”
I’ve learned some pretty fascinating things just following these films. Check out current and upcoming fare at the Film Bar — including “Idiots and Angels,” “Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story” and “Eat the Sun” — and you just might feel the same way.
Note: Click here for details about the April 27 film being presented in “The Many Faces of Hate” series from SCC and the ADL.
Coming up: Parents meet prose, If you build it…