Starring Anthony Sher, the film is a recording of the Royal National Theatre Production of the play Primo, based on If This is A Man by Primo Levi.The play brings to life Primo Levi’s great testament to his year in Auschwitz. Anthony Sher’s towering performance is as controlled as Primo Levi’s own lucid prose. Primo Michele Levi was an Italian chemist and writer. He was the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. He was born in 1919 on the fourth floor of an “undistinguished” apartment block in Turin and aside from “involuntary interruptions” continued to live there in the company of his mother until in 1987 he threw himself down the stairwell to his death. The longest interruption was from September 1943 to October 1945 and would provide Levi with the core material for his writing career: it involved three months on the fringe of the partisan resistance to the German occupation, two months in a Fascist internment camp, eleven months in Auschwitz, and a further nine in various Russian refugee camps.
Discussion will be facilitated by Prof. Nancy Harrowitz. Prof. Harrowitz teaches modern Italian literature and Holocaust studies at Boston University. She has published widely on antisemitism and gender in the modern period, including Antisemitism, Misogyny and the Logic of Cultural Difference: Matilde Serao and Cesare Lombroso, an edited collection, Tainted Greatness: Antisemitism and Cultural Heroes, and has co- edited Jews and Gender: Responses to Otto Weininger. Her most recent work includes articles on Primo Levi, Giorgio Bassani, and Carlo Levi, and she is currently finishing a book entitled Primo Levi and the Identity of a Survivor.
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