From Brookline to Brooklyn: 'Science on Screen’ comes to BAM

A scene from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” to be shown at BAM as part of the “Science on Screen” series on March 31. Photo courtesy of BAMcinematek/photofest

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

For the second year in a row, BAMcinematek will take part in  “Science on Screen” on Monday, March 31, when it will show “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” featuring Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey as an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories – only to fall in love again.

The film will be followed by a discussion on emotion and memory by Joseph LeDoux, director of the Emotional Brain Institute at New York University.

A film accompanied by a talk by a scientist is what the program, which has been funded for the last four years by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, will be presenting in 17 cities. The films, explains Cheryl White of the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Mass., which started the program in 2005, aren’t all “strict science documentaries,” but all tie in to science in some way.

For example, she says, the Hollywood Theater in Portland, Oregon, will show the comedy “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” about “two totally excellent dudes” who travel back in time to learn from influential historical figures for a history report.

This is about as far from conventional science as you can get – but the film will be introduced by a talk by two physics professors on the subject of  “Einstein’s Excellent Adventure: The Physics of Time Travel.”

A spokeswoman from BAM recalls that last spring, the famed Brooklyn institution also took part in “Science on Screen” with several programs. In one, for example, BAM showed “Primer", a 2004 science-fiction film about several engineers who discover a means of time travel. This was followed by another talk on time travel by an astrophysicist.

BAM last year also showed “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,” about the supposed off-beat inventions of an 18th century nobleman known for his tall tales, followed by a talk about an author about the public’s changing perceptions of scientists.

“They [the Science on Screen] programs were very popular, and we’re happy to bring them back again,” said the spokeswoman.

White of the Coolidge Corner Theatre recalls that the series started with a longtime member, Richard Anders, who approached the theater with the idea of doing a science and film series.

“It’s extremely well-received,” she says, “and we show this in our largest theater, which seats ore than 400 people. In the last four years, we have received significant funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and they have given us funding to expand nationally.”

She added that both this year and last, BAM was chosen as part of a grant application process, as were the other venues across the country.

A look at the films being shown nationwide as art of the series shows that they range from a blockbuster movie such as “Earthquake” (to be shown in quake-prone Seattle) to the documentary “Grizzly Man,” about a naturalist who lived in the wild with grizzly bears – until he and his girlfriend were killed and eaten by one.

“Grizzly Man” will also be shown at BAM as part of the series on April 29, followed by a third film, the classic low-budget thriller, “Night of the Living Dead,” on May 19.

For more information about the BAM offerings, visit

March 19, 2014 - 9:30am



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