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‘Fight Club’ concludes three-film series April 19

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – To get the word out about the final movie of this semester’s Public Philosophy and Film Series at Monmouth College, a rule had to be broken – faculty member Zach Erwin talked about Fight Club.

A member of the College’s modern languages, literature and cultures faculty, Erwin will introduce the film at 6 p.m. April 19 in the Barnes Electronic Classroom on the lower level of the College’s Hewes Library. He will pose questions for the audience to consider while watching the film and also lead a post-film discussion.

Erwin is using the film for his Integrated Studies class, “Self-Made Man?”

The 1999 film, which stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, features the famous line, “The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club” (to stress the importance, it’s also the second rule).

“In class, we talk about the standards of masculinity – social, economic and scientific standards – for what a real man is,” said Erwin. “Fight Club is an excellent movie to watch to think about those issues.”

In the film, the character played by Norton “is outwardly successful,” said Erwin, “but has something missing. He seeks out Fight Club to fill that hole.”

Erwin said the club “is a male-dominated environment with lots of male bonding.”

“That bonding is based on violence, which is an interesting way to focus on masculinity,” he said. “Violence is a way to show emotion, which Norton’s character has been unable to do. ... The film raises questions about our definitions of masculinity, success and family, and what it means to be a man.”

Fight Club was directed by David Fincher, who also directed Pitt in Seven.

“On its own terms, this is a very entertaining movie,” said Erwin. “There are great performances by well-respected actors. It’s profound and affecting, but it’s a lot more fun than Seven.”

Free and open to the public, the College’s new film series was organized by Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Ermine Algaier.