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Idaho State University Detective/Spy Festival runs March 17-21 in Pocatello

Posted March 8, 2013

The Idaho Detective/Spy Festival, exploring the detective and spy genre in literature and film, will be held March 17-21 at Idaho State University and the Portneuf Brewery in Pocatello.

The festival, organized by the ISU Departments of English and Philosophy and Languages and Literature, will present films, lectures, and a panel discussion offering the Pocatello and ISU communities an enriching opportunity to reflect on the nature of this category of literature and film, especially the representations of violence and crime proper to it.

The festival schedule is as follows:

• Sunday, March 17, at 3, 5 and 7 p.m.  – Showing of film "Arbitrage," ISU Pond Student Union Theater, cost is $2 or $1 with a valid Bengal card.

• Monday, March 18, 7 p.m. – Showing of film "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold," Rendezvous Complex, Room 118.

• Tuesday, March 19, 7 p.m. – Keynote presentation "Reading Crime and Restoring Order: The International Importance of Crime Fiction" by John Scaggs, professor of English at Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas, Rendezvous Complex Suites A, B and C.

• Wednesday, March 20, 7 p.m. – Showing of film "Headhunters," with an introduction by Thomas Sobchack, professor emeritus, Department of Film and Media Arts, University of Utah, Room 118 Rendezvous Complex, free admission. Sobchack will also lead a discussion of the film following its showing.

• Thursday, March 21, 6 p.m. – ISU Humanities Cafe panel discussion "Ambiguities of Crime and Violence in the Detective/Spy Genre," featuring ISU faculty Dan Hunt and Alan Johnson, and Sobchack.

The selections of films emphasize the international scope of the genre.  The American work "Arbitrage," was directed by Nicholas Jarecki, fall 2012; Martin Ritt’s English film "The Spy Who Came In From the Cold," was filmed in1963; and the Norwegian "Headhunters," 2011, directed by Morton Tyldum, was based on the novel by popular Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo.

 "Arbitrage" and "Headhunters" offer very recent and acclaimed films in the detective and crime genre.  Audiences will also have the chance to see the film version of John Le Carré’s classic spy novel, "The Spy Who Came In From the Cold," which exposes the moral cost of spying for one's country, the human price paid by the spies and the people they use.

Keynote speaker John Scaggs, professor of English at Southwestern College, Winfield, Kan., an expert on crime fiction, will lecture on  "Reading Crime and Restoring Order: The International Importance of Crime Fiction."  His talk, followed by a discussion, will address the ability of the genre to reinvent itself in response to changing social and cultural issues. Scaggs is the author of the acclaimed introduction to the genre, “Crime Fiction” (2005) and a regular contributor to the Mystery Caucus at the Popular Culture Association of America.

The three scholars making up the panel for the Humanities Cafe, include Sobchack, along with Dan Hunt, ISU associate professor in the Department of Languages and Literature, and Alan Johnson, professor in the Department of English and Philosophy, will take up violence, censorship, terrorism and secrecy in the spy/detective genre.

For the panel, Sobchack will look at the violent acts carried out by both sexes in classic film noir. Hunt will analyze the new role of the lone-wolf detective in Latin American fiction by Taibo. Johnson will interpret the spy's secrecy and loneliness as reflections of human behavior—about what we like and don’t like, about what drives some people to the edge.

The following sponsors have generously made these events possible: The Idaho Humanities Council, The Cultural Events Committee of ISU, the ISU Committee on the Study of Violence in Society, and the ISU Cinema Circle.

For more information, contact Pamela Park, Languages and Literature program director/professor, 208-282-3717 or parkpame@isu.edu.

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