McDermott Week 2017: Krzysztof Zanussi

The University of Dallas is pleased to present Krzysztof Zanussi
as the 2017 Eugene McDermott Lecturer.  

As one writer put it, "Zanussi is one of the smartest people ever to make movies." He had already earned degrees in both physics and philosophy before turning to filmmaking in his mid-twenties and was counted, along with Louise Cowan, among the 50 smartest people of faith by "The Best Schools." During his weeklong stay at the University of Dallas, this renowned Polish writer-director, will give a public lecture, make remarks and answer questions after the screening of one of his films and lead two seminars for students and faculty. 

Learn more about Krzysztof Zanussi >>

Join us for these McDermott Week events:

Movie Night with Zanussi

Monday, March 27 | 7 - 9:15 p.m. | University of Dallas Art History Auditorium

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Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public are welcome to join Krzysztof Zanussi for a screening of his provocatively—and misleadingly—titled, but deeply penetrating film, "Life as a Fatal, Sexually Transmitted Disease."  

For Zanussi, life is the fatal disease we all contract by being born into the human family. This film looks at the life of a man faced, finally, with the inescapability of his own death and what it means for life and for love, especially for the love we bear to those who are closest to us and whom we may have hurt more deeply than any others.

The film won the Grand Prix at both the International Film Festival, Moscow and the Polish Feature Film Festival, Gdańsk in 2000.

Eventbrite - Movie Night with Krzysztof Zanussi

Associate Professor of Drama, Stefan Novinski, National Alumni Board member and Adjunct Professor of English Michael Terranova, and writer, director and cinematographer Deniz Demirer will lead a riveting discussion of the film alongside Mr. Zanussi.*

*Deniz Demirer has written and directed five feature films to date. His first feature Nocturnal Jake (2009) was chosen by acclaimed film director Rob Nilsson (Heat & Sunlight, Northern Lights) as one of the top 5 films shot in San Francisco.

Refreshments will be served.

University Seminar: "Art & Thought Under Censorship" 

Tuesday, March 28 | 2 - 3:30 p.m. | University of Dallas Constantin Boardroom, SB Hall

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What happens to art and artists in repressive, ideological regimes?

Explore this question and more alongside Krzysztof Zanussi, who has first-hand experience. Zanussi began making films in communist Poland in the 1960s, where he was faced with the same sort of ethical decisions which became features of the films he made. He will talk about the pressures of censorship and the effect they have on both the artist and his art, and about the artist’s struggle to maintain his ethical and artistic integrity in a context of ideological oppression and pervasive corruption. The measure of his own success is seen in that, when communism fell, he was asked by the new government to help them make the transition to the new, more open and freer political and cultural life they were hoping to establish in its place.

This seminar is for University of Dallas undergradutes in particular and will be facilitated by: 

    • Carla Pezzia, Ph.D., Human Sciences, University of Dallas
    • Cathy Caesar, Ph.D., Art, University of Dallas 
    • Ron Austin: Mr. Austin has worked in Hollywood for over 60 years as an actor, writer, producer, and author of books on film criticism and history. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild, and has won two life-time achievement awards from the Writers Guild of America for his service to writers and the Hollywood community. He witnessed both the blacklisting of film professionals as communists in the mid 20th century and what the ideological pressures of commercial Hollywood itself. He is the author of several books and articles including In a New Light, Spirituality and the Media Arts. He was inducted into the College of Fellows of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California where he now lectures periodically and conducts a workshop on the media arts.

Public Lecture: "Reading Signs of Time in Our Days"

Wednesday, March 29 | 8 - 9:30 p.m. | Las Colinas Country Club

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Without prophesying the end times, renowned filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi taps into the need for moral and spiritual guidance almost all feel in times of crisis and explores them in his award-winning films, lectures and presentations. Having grown up in communist Poland, Zanussi exposes the perennial problems of human existence as ethical dilemmas which raise the questions: How are we to be effective, achieve something, while coming to terms with the unavoidable compromises we have to make when so many things are beyond our reach? How can we foster a fighting spirit amidst the insurmountable?  

Las Colinas Country Club Directions >>

Doors Open: 7:30 p.m.
Lecture: 8-9 p.m.
Refreshments to follow. 

Reserve your ticket >>

  • $15 General Admission
  • $5 Faculty & Staff
  • Free for students

Braniff Graduate Seminar

Friday, March 31 | 4 p.m. | University of Dallas Constantin Boardroom, SB Hall

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University of Dallas faculty and graduate students are invited to attend an exclusive seminar with Mr. Zanussi. Questions regarding the Wednesday evening public lecture will be entertained, in addition to reflections on the week's visit.

Remarks will be given by graduate student James DeMasi.

Refreshments provided. 

Questions about McDermott Week? Please contact Marie Azcona at 972-721-5106 or


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