Preserving Liberty Film Festival

Places In The Heart Places In The Heart
Empire Of The Sun Empire Of The Sun

Ohio Liberty Film Festival Begins On Veteran’s Day

By J.T. Ryder

Empire Of The Sun

The dream of liberty is a rather delicately elusive concept with an imagery that carries a weighty faith and conviction within many people’s hearts. It is true that most people do not realize what liberties they have been afforded until they are taken away. It is equally true that, unless the definition of liberty is fully formed within one’s mind, these liberties can be taken away without little or no notice being paid to their loss. It is also true that each individual’s perception of liberty varies wildly from person to person.

“It is very hard to define liberty,” observed Jay Tieber, founder of the Ohio Liberty Film Festival. “One person’s liberty may be another person’s oppression.”

After speaking with Tieber about his project, it became evident that he saw through to the human aspect of personal liberty, not just the ideological idea of a constitutional form of liberty.

“In a way, all the movies I pick show demonstrations of courage, and I seem to respond to that.”

Tieber spoke at length about his picks, detailing the plotlines of each individual movie, while interspersing the conversation with comments about his favorite scenes. The first movie slated for the Ohio Liberty Film Festival is Rescue Dawn (starring Christian Bale), based on the true story of Dieter Dengler, a German-born pilot who was shot down and captured in the jungles of Laos during the Vietnam War. In real life, Dengler was captured twice with the movie depicting his second capture. The movie depicts the harrowing experiences of a group of POWs as well as illustrating the aforementioned quote by Tieber about the personal definition of liberty. Tieber recounted his favorite scene from Rescue Dawn, which shows Dengler as a young boy running his hand along an airplane and seeing a fighter

Places In The Heart

plane fly by closely. This scene is very reminiscent of what Bale’s character, Jim, had in the movie Empire Of The Sun, which is also slated for the festival.

Empire Of The Sun stars a much younger Christian Bale in the role of James Graham, who is separated from his well-to-do parents and placed in a Japanese internment camp during the invasion of Shanghai. This film depicts the duality of liberty in that, even though the boy is imprisoned, he never loses his sense of personal liberty as he reconstructs his vision of the world.

Dignity may be one of the cornerstones in one’s personal perception of liberty. The Best Years Of Our Lives shows several characters dealing with their everyday lives in the aftermath of WWII. Starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March and Dana Andrews among others, this film shows regular men coping with the mundane after having survived one of the most heroic eras in history. It’s not only the returning servicemen that show courage, but others around them as well.

Tieber also addressed the cinematic intricacies of Places in the Heart, which stars Sally Field, Ed Harris, Danny Glover and John Malkovich. It seemed a very incongruous entry into the festival, but Tieber had his reasons.

“I wanted to show a movie that was a little bit softer and something that came from more of a female perspective,” he said. “There are a couple of other interesting aspects to this movie. It deals with the Depression and how tough times were. It also deals with how blacks were treated in the South and how they were oppressed and diminished as human beings, as were women.”

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is another odd yet apt entry. It tells the story of Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a convict who thinks that he can play the system by taking “the easy way out” and feigning mental illness for a lighter sentence. This is another film with dualistic aspects of liberty. On one hand, there is the denial of personal freedoms through incarceration (whether through locks, drugs or lobotomies) and the incarceration within one’s own mind. The third aspect is that most of the inmates chose the liberation of responsibility through admitting themselves into a safe place.

Overall, the movies Tieber has selected offer a wide, panoramic vision of what liberty and freedom could mean.

Schedule of Events

Rescue Dawn: November 11, 2:30 p.m. at Neon Movies

The Best Years of Our Lives: November 11, 7:30 p.m. at Neon Movies

Rockin’ The Wall, November 12, 4 p.m., and November 13, 7:30 p.m. at the Engineers Club of Dayton

Places in the Heart: November 12, 7:30 p.m. at the Engineers Club of Dayton

Empire of the Sun: November 13, 2 p.m., at the Engineers Club of Dayton

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: November 14, 2:30 p.m. at the Neon Movies

The Neon Movies is located at 130 E. Fifth St. The Engineers Club of Dayton is located at 110 E. Monument Ave. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. For more information, call (937) 429-3703 or (937) 673-4362, e-mail or visit online at

Reach DCP freelance writer J.T. Ryder at

J.T. Ryder

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