Redford to preview film at Doc

By Kate Shepherd

Actor and director Robert Redford will present his new film, Lions for Lambs, at a special screening tonight at 5 p.m., Doc Films announced last week. Following the film, author and journalist Rick Perlstein (AB ’92) will host a question and answer session with Redford and costars Andrew Garfield and Michael Peña.

The film follows two students who are inspired by a college professor, played by Redford, to join the conflict in Afghanistan as Army rangers. Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise star respectively as a television reporter and a powerful U.S. senator with presidential aspirations whose decisions intersect with the lives of the students.

The film’s high-profile cast, strong political tones, and awards-season release date make Lions for Lambs one of fall’s hotly anticipated movies. This will also be the first movie produced by Cruise’s United Artist production company, which he privately formed after his string of public relations gaffes.

Doc Films was approached by the film’s distributors with the hope of drumming up discussion of the film’s political themes on a major college campus.

“The opportunity to bring out a high-profile Hollywood director like Robert Redford is a wonderful opportunity to engage the wider campus community in a broad discussion about cinema, and in the case of Lions for Lambs, its political ramifications as well,” Doc Films chairman Tim Froh said.

“I hear a lot of people murmuring about it in my classes, sometimes giddy with excitement,” said Evan Chung, Doc Films special events chair. “I think the popularity of DVD features like commentary tracks just goes to show how appealing and informative it can be to have the director there to explain aspects of the film or the production process. Because Lions for Lambs is specifically about colleges and their students, I’m curious to see how a university crowd will react, and how Redford will react to that reaction.”

Redford, who is best known for his roles in the classics Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men, has recently spent more time in the director’s chair. Redford helmed the critically acclaimed films Quiz Show and Ordinary People, and has become a major player in the film industry following the success of his Sundance Film Festival, a mecca for American independent films looking for distribution and exposure.

Redford’s last visit to the U of C was in April of 1994. During that visit, Redford spent two days on campus meeting with film, theater, and environmental student groups. He also made a donation to a University Theater educational outreach program. In an interview with the MAROON conducted during that visit, Redford remarked, “The thing I sense here is that there’s a real academic edge at Chicago…. I think the country needs more education, and the more intellectually challenging a place can be, the more inspiring.”

Doc Films distributed a limited number of free passes for the event beginning October 4. Passes do not guarantee admission, which is on a first come, first served basis.