Letters to the Editor

RE: “GCC Film Edited Before Screened”

To the Editor, I’m writing in appreciation of the front page article by Tim Ghosh ’10 on the campus controversy surrounding the film “Live Green or Die Hard” directed by Michael Kontaxis ’11, and Cindy Efinger’s faculty-made response to refuse to screen his film in the Green Cup Challenge Film unless all gun-shooting scenes (“violent content”) were edited out. Does this mean bravo to the Andover community for paying attention?  My daughter Lucy Bidwell ’09 was the girl in who was bare from the shoulders up in what Ms. Efinger also referred to as the film’s “ inappropriate” shower scene. She showed me the film in its entirety awhile back. When I watched it, the same alarm-buttons that triggered Ms. Efinger’s protective STOP button to go off, also set off my own maternal and personal alarms. Yet I was amazed by not only how powerfully effective Kontaxis’s skill in film-making is, but how his subject matter went ahead in the film and healed itself. This spoof reminds me of today’s contemporary Bruce Willis character in Die Hard, and the timeless shot in the shower was as good as Alfred Hitchcock’s classic scene in Psycho! Yikes! (And that was my own daughter in the shower — and she was great!) So I showed the controversial film to my husband this morning. His response was this: “Good film.” He shrugged his shoulders and remarked that it would “definitely set off post-Columbine reactions among schools though,” and then he calmly went on reading his Saturday morning New York Times. The well-known television series ‘Law & Order’ produced by Andover alumnus Dick Wolf ’64 has captivated much of America for most of this decade, and there’s sure plenty of shooting in it. Another famous PA alumnus James Spader ’78 starred in a huge success called Sex, Lies & Videotape. Mimi Polk ’78 produced Thelma & Louise about two divorcees who ignore the rules about not only guns, sex and rock and roll, but also boys and booze in a Buick. Andover keeps making these great filmmakers! And Kontaxis is showing signs of early brilliance. “Genius is the light, which illuminates the darkness.” —Thoreau Though America may be hooked on action films as a perverse way to find escape and relaxation, for people like Ms. Efinger and myself this does not really help us relax. Though I haven’t spoken with her, I feel the all-too-real tragedies of school shootings in general have blasted apart our trust in academic innocence today. Therefore, we’re committed to pull the maddening ripcord on being Mother (instead of Moral-as in First Amendment) with our kids. I had to remind Lucy, this morning, how police sat in the lunchroom with her older brother Jack’s public middle-school cafeteria for weeks after an Oregon shooting had shaken the very core an innocent little town called Springfield. She was too little to even know what had gone on. And it’s not something we like to talk about. When I was a student who froze back there too, it was hard to remember I was under age 18, and what that meant. On one hand, I was encouraged to think outside the wide blue box and on the other hand I was slapped for doing that. It’s our duty, as adults, to look after you youngins…and to make sure we keep each of you, safe within our walls, from being fatally shot by some perplexed looney goofball who’s gone into stark evil mode and completely lost their way. Sorry, but that does happen. That being said, I am particularly proud of this bright shining young talent, Mr. Michael Kontaxis. Like Bobby Farrelly ’77 who made ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and Humphrey Bogart ’18 who read the famous line, “here’s looking at you kid.” Kontaxis is already causing the faculty to skate (Farrelly was one of the most brilliant varsity ice hockey goalies that the school has ever had ) and swim (Bogart was kicked out for throwing a professor into Pomp’s Pond) in circles around his youthful scope and abilities. Hopefully we’ll have a future where Kontaxis’ kind of art will take us all places that we dream of going together, and he’ll even put Ms. Efinger to sleep with a smile. Or maybe he’ll thank her when he gets his first Academy Award for Best Picture. I’m betting he gets that Oscar one day, if he keeps working at it; America is the land of Free Speech, and this little film was ten times better than just throwing a shoe at the President (Bush ’64). Kontaxis is like a rangy young colt. He needs to be reminded early of his own power, so he does not hurt himself. And I think that’s exactly what Ms. Efinger did for him. She kept him in the gate when the race might have hurt him badly like Barbaro. Take time, learn from this, and keep making films. Like ‘Something About Mary’, Something About Andover just keeps on churning these fabulous storytellers and film makers out…I keep running into them every time I turn on the TV or go to the movie theater. Teachers: Please keep encouraging students like Kontaxis to flex his art and to experiment well. I trust in his heart, his healthy sense of humor and I love his way with music. Yet, the tightrope between comedy and tragedy is a fine one. Keep the net out. Geri Pope Bidwell ’79