“The Sheik,” online discussion is Wednesday, March 3, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. hosted by Linda Levitt. This film features Paris-educated Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan, who is known for providing brides for wealthy Arabs. Currently celebrating its centennial, this Hollywood silent film solidified Rudolph Valentino’s stardom and earned him the nickname “the Great Lover.” In a classic example of Orientalism in Western art, Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan (Valentino) encounters Lady Diana Mayo (Agnes Ayres), a headstrong Western woman, in the African desert and kidnaps her. He intends to seduce her, and over time she develops affection toward her captor. Despite the presence of an independent female lead, the film reflects the social norms of the 1920s, offering a romantic drama particular to its time. This film has a total run time of 86 minutes.
Levitt teaches communication and media studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. Her primary research sits at the intersection of memory studies and media, considering media’s role in shaping understandings of the past. Levitt’s book, “Culture, Celebrity, and the Cemetery: Hollywood Forever,” was published by Routledge in 2018.
For links to the screenings and discussion and for a full series list and more information on the International Film Series, contact Wendy Adams at 352-873-5800, ext. 1546, or visit www.CF.edu/filmseries.