Ross features 'Maudie,' 'Letters from Baghdad'
Films exploring the lives of folk artist Maud Lewis and British political officer Gertrude Bell open July 28 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center.
Staring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, “Maudie” is based on Lewis’ life, including her unlikely romance with Everett Lewis, a hardened and reclusive bachelor.
Maud, a bright-eyed, intelligent woman, hampered with crippled hands from arthritis, years to be independent and live away from her overly-protective family. Through art, she escapes a solitary existence in her aunt’s home until, in her early 30s, she answers a want ad for a housekeeper.
Abandoned by his parents at a very young age, Everett grows to be a 40-year-old bachelor who owes nothing to anyone. Proud and self-sufficient, Everett owns and lives in a small house that has neither running water or electricity. He has everything he needs — except maybe a woman to clean the house and cook meals.
When Maud answers Everett’s ad, he is initially hesitant to hire the strange-looking, short and hunched over woman with gnarled up hands. He can’t imagine Maud can handle the work, but, after she refuses to leave, Everett relents and agrees to hire her.
Maud proves to be a terrible housekeeper and a great artist. Everett takes over the housework and supports Maud’s artistic career, allowing their relationship to deepen in ways the duo never imagined.
“Maudie,” which is rated PG 13, shows at the Ross through Aug. 10.
Voiced by Tilda Swinton, “Letters from Baghdad” is a documentary that tells the extraordinary and dramatic story of Bell, who was once the most powerful woman in the British Empire.
More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, Bell helped shape the modern Middle East after World War I. She helped draw the borders of Iraq and establish the Iraq Museum. Her work in the region continues to reverberate today.
Using never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles Bell’s extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British male colonial power. With unique access to documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive and Bell’s letters, the story is told entirely in the words of the players of the day, excerpted verbatim from intimate letters, private diaries and secret communiqués.
“Letters from Baghdad” is not rated and shows through Aug. 3.
Go to TheRoss.org for or more information on films showing at the Ross, including show times, or call 402-472-5353.