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Bioethics film series looks at illness and death

January 28, 2010

Each semester, the Center for Biology and Society offers a film series that is both a class and open to the public.

This semester’s series is titled “Death and Dying,” and it begins with “Marvin’s Room” on Feb. 11.

The series will explore the social, clinical, legal, ethical and personal/interpersonal aspects of the illness experience, the process of dying, and the event of death through the medium of film.

These four films will allow viewers to compare and contrast the ways death affects different individuals, including the patient, family members, nurses, doctors, colleagues and friends.

All films begin at 5:40 p.m. in Life Sciences Center E-106 on ASU’s Tempe campus.

The schedule is:

Thursday, Feb. 11: “Marvin’s Room.” Bessie has been taking care of her father for about the past 20 years while her sister, Lee, has lived a separate life elsewhere with her two sons, Hank and Charlie. When Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia she discovers that her only hope of survival is to receive a bone marrow transplant. Bessie and Lee strive to reconnect and rebuild their lost relationship during this difficult time. MPAA Rating: PG-13.

Thursday, Feb. 25: “Wit.” Vivian Bearing, a renowned English professor, is diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. She reflects on her fight with cancer while receiving experimental, aggressive chemotherapy in hopes of defeating the disease. Her doctors focus on keeping her alive while she longs for a friend to support her through her fight. MPAA Rating: PG-13.

Thursday, March 11: “Ososhiki” (The Funeral). Upon the death of Chizuko’s father, the wealthy family sets out to adhere to Japanese traditions and funeral rituals with his burial. While attempting to follow traditional Japanese customs, the family struggles to follow these traditions in a technologically advanced society. MPAA Rating: NR.

Thursday, April 1: “The Sea Inside.” Based on the true story of Ramon Sampedro’s fight to allow him the right to end his life by euthanasia. Throughout his battle, Ramon develops relationships with two women who play a vital role in his life, Julia (a lawyer who supports and defends his fight) and Rosa (a woman who wants him to see the value of life). MPAA Rating: PG-13.

For more information about the films and class, contact Nicole Lopez at (480) 965-8927 or Or, go to