On Wednesday, Feb. 15, L&L Media’s second evening of Learn Through Film will continue at the Ridgefield Library. The continuing series features a screening of Joachim Trier’s film Oslo, August 31st  (90 min., NR 2012) and discussion on how recovering addicts are released from rehabilitation facilities. The post conversation includes moderators First Selectman Rudy Marconi, Western Connecticut State University Professors George Kain, Marilyn Kain, LCSW and Donna and Matt DeLuca of C.A.R.E.S. (Community Addiction & Recovery Education & Support). Warning against relapse is a grave concern now as street drugs like heroin are now “cut” with lethal combinations of other chemicals, including fentanyl. Recovering addicts who relapse after abstinence are at a significant risk of dying. This discussion will focus on how community programs can assist recovering addicts in “getting back into life and making different choices.” Warning signals for mental illness, which is often seen as the harbinger of drug addiction, will be addressed. Lastly, the role of parental engagement (and enabling) in assisting recovering addicts will also be covered.

LTF, in the third year at the library, approaches the political, legal and moral issues of our time by using great films to incite audience discussion and engagement. On February 15, the audience will watch newly recovered Anders (played by Anders Danielson Lie) struggle with clinical depression as he re-visits the city of his childhood in a 24-hour period. Afterwards, they will be given an opportunity to ask questions about the character’s decisions throughout the day.

In January, twenty members of the community showed up for the first evening in the series. The post movie conversation, facilitated by Samuel Williams, an adolescent rehabilitation counselor at Arms Acres, in Carmel, New York, brought many concerns and questions to light that need urgent addressing and answering. After watching Jesus’ Son (Directed by Alison Maclean. 1999. Lions Gate Films (107 min., rated R)), Williams spoke about his work helping young people suffering from heroin and opioid addiction. “It is an epidemic out there,” he said. “Over the last five years, the increasing numbers and severity of cases cannot be fully described.”

Hands raised throughout the question and answer session which lasted well beyond the library’s closing. Williams cautioned that catching any drug use early is essential in the prevention or onset of addiction. He stressed the importance of noticing immediately any departures from a child’s normal behavior, routine or an abrupt change in moods. Importantly, Williams indicated that privacy does not necessarily have a place in today’s school and social environment. The cause of addiction interested many film goers even though the film, Jesus’ Son, based on the National Book Award winner, Denis Johnson’s book of short stories by the same name, did not explore this aspect of the disease. Instead, the last third of the movie focused on the solution and process of a young man recovering. “Watch for the miracle moment when the main character, played by Billy Cudrop, is transformed and becomes human again, capable of service and compassion,” advised Alexandra Lehmann, LTF Director and Producer, when she introduced the evening. “His recovery and freedom is illustrated here so well as a story which ends -or perhaps begins - in the 11th and 12th step.”

Lehmann chose the three films of this season to be watched and discussed in a series.

The films are free and open to the public at the Ridgefield Library.

March 16, 7 p.m. The Anonymous People. Directed by Gregory Williams. 2013. Moderated by G. Williams and Jeffrey Earls of Family Re-Entry based in Bridgeport. “How can we dispel the stigma of addiction, and thereby assist addicts in recovery to better assimilate into life after rehabilitation?”

For more information about Learn Through Film and the 2017 season and its mission to raise awareness about this public health crisis through compelling films, visit https://www.learnthroughfilm.org.

L&L Media has been partnering with the Ridgefield Library’s adult programmer coordinator, Lesley Lambton for past seasons that includes watching popular and independent films on law and technology, presidential election issues, and civil and criminal legal procedures. These series have been moderated and supported by local Ridgefield resident, Richard Land, Esq. of the Danbury law firm, Chipman & Mazzucco and Western Connecticut State University.