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Elizabethtown College hosts eye-opening winter films

Open Film series inspired by 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'

Open Film

Last fall Elizabethtown College shared in the reading of Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," about a poor black woman whose cancer cells -- taken without her knowledge at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951 -- became one of the most important medical tools, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization. Henrietta's cells -- known in research circles as HeLa cells -- have been bought and sold by the billions, yet their donor remains virtually unknown, and her family remains poor.

Open FIlmWith this shared read as inspiration, Elizabethtown is hosting a film series that, in its own way, acknowledges Henrietta's life and legacy. The three films -- "Something the Lord Made," "The Way of All Flesh" and "The Constant Gardener" -- explore medical dilemmas reminiscent of the controversy surrounding the immortal HeLa cells.

"Something the Lord Made," starring Alan Rickman, Mos Def and Kyra Sedgwick, will be shown at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30. The 2004 film is based on a true story of two men who defied the rules of 1940s Jim Crow south to launch a medical revolution.

At 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, the College presents "The Way of All Flesh," a 1997 BBC documentary about the Henrietta Lack's family and the impact of her HeLa cells.

Film Series at E-town College

"The Constant Gardener," which explores the pharmaceutical industry and developing countries, will be shown at 7 p.m. Monday, March 19. Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz star in this 2005 film about a diplomat and his activist wife in Kenya. A panel discussion addressing the issues brought forth in the film will follow.

All three films are free and will be shown in the College's Gibble Auditorium.

Read more about the events and the shared read.

Contact: Elizabeth Young at 717-361-1456 or

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