Mira Nair ’79, internationally acclaimed director of “Monsoon Wedding” and other feature films and documentaries, will receive the ninth annual Harvard Arts Medal.
On Saturday (May 3), Nair will take part in a discussion of her work in Sanders Theatre. The talk will be accompanied by film clips and moderated by actor and Harvard alum John Lithgow ’67. Sponsored by the Learning from Performers program of the Office for the Arts at Harvard, this event will take place at 7 p.m. Tickets are free but seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve tickets, call (617) 496-2222 or visit the Harvard Box Office in the Holyoke Arcade. The box office is open seven days a week from noon until 6 p.m.
On May 2, and May 4, the public is invited to screenings of a selection of Nair’s work at the Harvard Film Archive, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy St. in Cambridge. Tickets are $7 general and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the Harvard Film Archive 45 minutes before show time.
On May 2 and 4, the Harvard Film Archive will screen a selection of Nair’s work. Tickets are $7 ($5 for students) and will be available at the Harvard Film Archive 45 minutes before the 7 p.m. show time.
Nair will also take part in a discussion of her work at Sanders Theatre on May 3 at 7 p.m. The talk will be accompanied by film clips and moderated by actor John Lithgow ’67. Tickets are free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Call (617) 496-2222 or visit the Harvard Box Office to reserve tickets. The box office is open seven days a week from noon until 6 p.m.
Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers will present the Arts Medal to Nair as part of Arts First 2003, the 11th annual celebration of the arts at Harvard, May 1-4, 2003. The Harvard Arts Medal was created to honor a distinguished Harvard or Radcliffe alumnus/a or faculty member who has achieved excellence in the arts and who has made a special contribution through the arts to education or the public good.
Nair’s films are marked by their close, loving illumination of humanity, from her early documentary work to her current production, an adaptation of William Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair.” Stylistically, she adopts both standard “Bollywood” narrative conventions and the strategies of American independent filmmaking. She casts family members and Indian pop singers, as well as established U.S. and Indian stage and film actors.
“Now more than ever, we need cinema to reveal our tiny local worlds in all their glorious particularities. It’s when I’ve made a film that’s done full-blown justice to the truths and idiosyncrasies of the specifically local, that it crosses over to become surprisingly universal,” Nair has said.
“The individuals who populate Mira Nair’s films point the way towards a dynamic and optimistic multicultural worldview …,” says Steffen Pierce, assistant curator at the Harvard Film Archive. “Like the character of Jay in ‘Mississippi Masala,’ who comes to realize that his life is part of a tapestry constantly rewoven by history, Mira Nair’s films lead us to the idea that in the increasingly complex world of the 21st century there is no permanence, but there is the possibility of hope and acceptance.”
Nair joins previous Harvard Arts Medal recipients including conductor William Christie ’66, director Peter Sellars ’80, composer John Harbison ’60, National Theatre of the Deaf founder David Hays ’52, author John Updike ’54, musicians Bonnie Raitt ’72 and Pete Seeger ’40, and the late actor Jack Lemmon ’47.