(Kansas City, Missouri) - Actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman once said, are responsible to the people they portray.
"I don't label or judge," he said. "I just play them as honestly and expressively and creatively as I can in the hope that people who ordinarily turn their heads in disgust instead think, 'What I thought I'd feel about that guy, I don't totally feel right now.' "
Over 23 years — ending with his untimely death last February — the four-time Oscar nominee and best-actor winner in 2006 for Capote inhabited an impressive array of complex, often thought-provoking, and invariably interesting movie characters. The Library spotlights four of them as it resumes its film series, Searching the Psyche Through Cinema, in January and February 2015.
Sunday afternoon screenings of Hoffman's movies are followed by discussions led by experts in cinema and psychoanalysis. Each event at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main, concludes with a reception.
The lineup (all screenings at 1:30 p.m.):
• Sunday, January 11, 2015: Capote (2005, rated R). Hoffman earned his Oscar for a brilliantly layered portrayal of author and social gadfly Truman Capote. The post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst David Donovan and Tom Poe, associate professor of film and media arts in the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Department of Communications Studies.
• Sunday, January 25, 2015: The Savages (2007, rated R). Hoffman and Laura Linney portray siblings who've drifted apart but must unite to care for their elderly, estranged father, who is slipping into dementia. The post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst Pam Seator and Caitlin Horsmon, associate professor of film and media arts at UMKC.
• Sunday, February 8, 2015: Doubt (2008, rated PG-13). Meryl Streep is an old-school nun and parochial academy principal who believes that Hoffman's parish priest has entered into an improper relationship with a student. The post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst Alice Brand Bartlett and Melissa Lenos, assistant professor of English at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas.
• Sunday, February 22, 2015: A Most Wanted Man (2014, rated R). In his last starring role before his death, Hoffman portrays a worn German espionage agent who works with an array of murky characters to develop intelligence from the Muslim community in Hamburg. The post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst Joanne Hindman and Tom Poe, associate professor of film and media arts in UMKC's Department of Communications Studies.
The film series is presented in partnership with the Greater Kansas City and Topeka Psychoanalytic Center, and is co-sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.