Film Festival Focuses on Fears, Fantasies and Realities of Nursing

UR School of Nursing Hosts Film Festival-Celebrates 75th Anniversary

October 22, 1999

From the deranged, abusive nurse in "Misery," to the erotic, fun-loving "Hot Lips" Houlihan in "MASH," film-goers will enjoy Nurses on Film: Fears, Fantasies, Realities, a film festival opening November 6 to celebrate 75 years of nursing practice and education at the University of Rochester School of Nursing.

Films in this series reflect a rich sampling of the range of nursing images. A brief commentary preceding each film focuses on both the cinematic features of each film and significant themes for nurses.

Nurses have been important subjects in film making since the days of silent movies. Most images of nurses in films draw on the complex dynamics of a traditionally female and intimately caring profession: nurses as bad mothers or "angels of death," good mothers or "angels of mercy," and eroticized objects of doctors' and patients' fantasies.

"These images draw on people's fundamental desires to care and be cared for, as well as exploit the fears of vulnerability and dependency during times of illness and injury," says Madeline Schmitt, professor of Nursing at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, and co-curator of the film festival.

The festival's opening night will feature a book signing by Elizabeth Norman, professor of Nursing at New York University. Norman is the author of "We Band of Angels" (1999, Random House), a complete historical account of 99 Army and Navy nurses trapped on Bataan and Corregidor during the Japanese occupation in WWII, including the experiences of 77 nurses who were prisoners of war for nearly three years. The first film in the series, "So Proudly We Hail," is on this subject. Norman will offer a brief commentary on the film, which will be shown at 8 p.m.

The festival's schedule includes the following movies, all shown at 8 p.m. at the Dryden Theater: "So Proudly We Hail," November 6; "Pinky," November 10; "Persona," November 17; "MASH," December 1; "Misery," December 8; and "Sister Kenny," December 15.

Nurses on Film is sponsored by the University of Rochester School of Nursing in conjunction with George Eastman House. Co-sponsors include: Strong Memorial Hospital Nursing Practice; Highland Nursing; Sigma Theta Tau International, Episilon Xi chapter; Visiting Nurse Service of Rochester and Monroe County, Inc.; the University of Rochester Health and Human Values Faculty Cluster; and the Genesee Valley Nurses Association. Co-curators of the film festival are Madeline Schmitt, University of Rochester School of Nursing, and Peter Dowd, George Eastman House.

Movie tickets are $5 at the door, or a pass for 10 admissions can be purchased for $30 at the Dryden Theatre box office.

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