Rory Kennedy Film Series

Three films by award-winning documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, best known for 2007’s Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, were shown at Hartwick ahead of Kennedy’s visit to the College next month.

The films preceded Kennedy’s visit to the Hartwick campus on October 3, when she presented “The Camera Doesn’t Lie: Social Change Via Documentary Filmmaking” in Binder Gymnasium as part of the weekend’s activities ahead of Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich’s Inauguration as Hartwick’s 10th President.

A Boy’s Life. The film paints a dramatic portrait of the troubling forces that have shaped the life of a 7-year-old boy from Mississippi. According to the boy’s grandmother, his hyperactive behavior and volatile tirades are symptoms of a serious personality disorder, barely controllable through medication and vigilance. The boy’s mother, therapist, and school administrators, however, say he is not to blame for his problems.

American Hollow. To capture the poverty of the rural South, Kennedy traveled to Kentucky and lived with the Bowling family, which has made an isolated hollow its home for seven generations. The documentary explores the effects of welfare on rural life, illuminating the work begun by Kennedy’s father, Robert F. Kennedy, after he visited poor Southern families in the 1960s.

Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. As Kennedy’s best-known documentary, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib captures the psychological and political context in which torture occurred at the Iraqi prison. The film addresses several questions: How did torture become an accepted practice at Abu Ghraib? Did United States government policies make it possible? How much damage has the aftermath of Abu Ghraib had on America's credibility as a defender of freedom and human rights around the world?