March 16, 2010 7:00 pm
Special appearance by director Susan Stern
The Self-Made Man (2004. USA. 58 min. Directed by Susan Stern.)
Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award
The right-to-die debate goes West in this riveting portrait of a man and his family grappling with a darker side of rugged individualism. At 77, self-made man Bob Stern finds out that he is seriously ill and possibly terminal. In keeping with his independent spirit, Bob decides to cheat fate and take his own life. His family tries to stop him, but first they set up a video camera. Beautifully photographed and edited, this extraordinary drama unfolds in unexpected ways. The film offers an intimate exploration of nuclear family dynamics and a complex portrait of what is arguably a specifically American brand of hubris. While the right to life is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there is no parallel right to die.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring director Susan Stern.
This screening is cosponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
This new film series features documentaries about human rights themes that were award winners at the annual FullFrame Documentary Film Festival. Exploring issues as diverse as voting rights, the right to die, the death penalty and access to education, these exceptional works of art move us even as they pose tough questions about whose rights are protected and why. The films are archived at the Duke Library and are part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials. The film series is sponsored by the Archives for Human Rights, the Duke Human Rights Center, the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Program in Arts of the Moving Image (AMI).